December 16, 2013, Volume
“Christmas is doing a little something extra for someone.” —Charles Schulz (American cartoonist and creator of the “Peanuts” comic strip, 1922-2000)
MESSAGE FROM THE HARDLINES TEAM: This is our last issue of the year. We all want to wish you a safe and happy holiday and a merry Christmas. We hope you all had a fruitful and prosperous 2013, and look forward to joining you again in the New Year. Our next issue will come out January 6. The World Headquarters remains open until December 20. —Michael, Beverly, Brady, Katherine, Margaret, Geoffrey and Caela
Chalifour prepares to launch electronic catalogue
LONDON, Ont. — In the new year, dealers will be able to order online with the launch of Chalifour Canada’s new electronic catalogue (ECAT).
Customers of the hardware and LBM distributor, which is part of the TIM-BR MART Group, will have access to the new system when it launches on January 13, 2014. The new ECAT will be an industry-leading tool, claims the company, with improved navigation and searchability, and a complete redesign to improve customer experience. It was first introduced at the Chalifour Buying Expo in early October.
The site’s new features include:
In addition, the new ECAT will be completely mobile enabled, allowing customers to order from their smart phones and tablets.
“Customer feedback has really helped us shape the development of the new ECAT,” says Bret Walters, general manager of Chalifour Canada. “We’re excited to deliver this new tool that will ultimately help our customers run their own businesses more efficiently by improving and streamlining their ordering process.”
“As a company, TIM-BR MART Group is committed to meeting our customers’ needs and to being easy to do business with,” says TIM-BR MART Group’s new president, Bernie Owens. “The new ECAT reflects this commitment.”
- The ability to review pending orders, with the option to view details of each order.
- A tool to allow customers to calculate the total value of their order and confirm the purchase.
- New printer-friendly invoices and orders.
- Advanced order management that enables customers to download order details to automatically populate an Excel spreadsheet.
- A new feedback option throughout the site that allows customers to report a problem quickly.
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A World-Class Opportunity
Orgill is looking for Canadian Manufacturers to add to their offering.
Click here for more information.
Report from China International Hardware Show
SHANGHAI — With five halls representing over one million square feet, the China International Hardware Show drew 38,000 visitors and 2,500 exhibiting companies from November 26-28, and HARDLINES was there to check it out.
The stands by Chinese manufacturers were enormous and elaborate. Jimmy, a sales person for Juba Weld, explained his company’s strategy: it sells welding equipment to developing countries trying to build their manufacturing facilities. Brazil and Southeast Asia are among its best markets, although he says the company is also selling well in Europe.
North American suppliers were rare here, but one familiar brand was Werner Ladder. Kelvin, a Werner sales associate from Hong Kong, pointed out that smaller, thinner ladders are more prevalent in Asia due to the difference in the size of people here. He said Werner was exhibiting among the Chinese companies to reflect the Chinese production of the ladders they displayed, rather than the ladders produced in North America.
European retailers were represented, often by several buyers from each company. BricoAlliance, OBI, Globus, and Kingfisher were all there, while Home Depot and Lowe’s buyers were rumoured to be on the show floor. One of the show organizers noted that Canadian Tire’s Asian team usually comes, as well.
The next edition of CIHS will take place from Sep 18-20, 2014.
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Ply Gem offering expanded lines at Prairie Showcase
Cary, N.C. — Building products supplier Ply Gem will showcase an expanded product portfolio at the Western Retail Lumber Association’s Prairie Showcase , January 22-24 in Saskatoon (booths 346/440).
The move reflects the integration earlier this year of Mitten, which in turn expanded both Ply Gem’s product range and its network of distribution centres. Ply Gem manufactures windows, doors, vinyl siding, and accessories for the new construction, home repair, retail, and remodeling markets in Canada.
Now with more than 35 Ply Gem and Mitten by Ply Gem DCs in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland and Labrador, customers have access to a wide variety of exterior building products, including windows, doors, vinyl siding, replica stone, fencing, railing, and architectural accents.
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Softwood production still short of pre-recession levels
OTTAWA — Canadian softwood production rose in 2012, while hardwood lumber production declined 13.2% to 1.3 million cubic metres.
According to a new report by Stats Canada, spruce, pine, and fir accounted for 90% of the nation’s softwood production. British Columbia accounted for more than half of that production (53.5%), while Quebec had just over 20% of the national total, followed by Alberta with 15%.
Even as lumber production rose in 2012, production has yet to return to pre-recession levels. Lumber production hit a record high of 84.8 million cubic metres in 2004, which is 34.1% higher than 2012 levels. Since 2004, lumber production has fallen by 43.1% in Quebec and by 27% in British Columbia. Alberta, up 4%, was the only province of the top three producers to post an increase from 2004 to 2012.
The United States remains the largest importer of Canadian lumber, accounting for 64.6% of lumber exports in 2012. That demand is being fueled by a strong housing market, which is rebounding after tanking during the worldwide recession of 2008-2009.
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U.S. dealers resume investment in growth strategies
While consumer confidence still wavers in Canada, many American retailers are reporting a more positive outlook, which has them focused on growing their business. New research from the Farnsworth Group shows that most of its retail clients this year seem to be re-energized with a fresh attitude of “I’m taking charge” and “I’m going to invest in my future growth.”
The Farnsworth Group specializes in providing market research and strategy consulting to the building supply, home improvement, and hardware products industry.
Just how to accelerate growth seems to be a growing priority for many dealers, as they develop various traditional channels and explore ways to capture a greater share of their existing customers’ wallets. These include opening new locations, acquiring existing businesses, undertaking major remodels, category resets and new product categories, and adding new or unrelated products.
Looking for unique ways to grow, companies are expanding from one type of store strategy to operating different formats in different channels. A good example of this in the U.S. is Lowe’s acquisition of Orchard Supply Hardware stores in California.
Numerous independents are also embarking on multiple format strategies. Building supply dealers are expanding into (or back into) retail. Hardware stores are opening single category specialty stores such as paint and decorating, home organization and more, adds the report. (Closer to home, we can see more and more Home Hardware dealers expanding their businesses with an adjacent Home Furniture outlet.)
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