"There is sufficiency in the world for man's need but not for man's greed." - Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948)
vol. viii, #6 February 11, 2002  
* Smaller Hardware Show still valuable * Buyers look for hidden gems at CHS * Canadian Tire shows strong results for 2001 * Home Hardware expands credit card perks * Stephen Lewis moves audience at Show

The latest Hardlines Breakfast was a great success, with almost 200 people crammed into that little room (we'll have to get a bigger room next year!). Besides everybody being really good sports, your generosity in helping us launch our charitable support of The Inuit Art Foundation netted us more than $300. Thanks again to everyone! - Michael

The most striking thing about this year's Canadian Hardware and Building Materials Show was its size: it was distinctly smaller - by almost a fifth. A lot of U.S. companies are still facing no-fly mandates, especially internationally, cutting their presence on the show floor exactly in half. The result: some 500 companies were represented in just over 1,000 booths at Toronto's National Trade Centre last week, compared with more than 600 exhibiting firms last year. But the good news was that pre-registration showed retailer attendance up by almost 10%. As Bob Elliott, executive director of the Canadian Retail Hardware Association, which co-hosts the show, says, "These are the best numbers in the last four shows." (Actual attendance numbers won't be available for a couple of more days - MM) Pre-registration by building materials dealers was up 45%, reflecting the partnership of the Lumber and Building Materials Association of Ontario, which held its annual convention in conjunction with CHS. Paint and décor dealers were up 43% and window coverings dealers increased their numbers 90%, showing increased support for two new sections of the show that cater to these specialty retailers. However, this show suffers from a malaise faced by any company today: how to evolve with the changing marketplace. The barometer of the show's success or failure is writ large for the entire industry to see: how big is it? How many people showed up? Since it's smaller this year, many consider it to be dying. Estimates of its viability range from as many as five years to as little as one year. But exhibitors who are committed to the show are looking for ways to make it better, to help it evolve. And that's a good thing. The industry needs strong focal points, centres of attention, and for that alone the show is worthwhile. Is it a buying show? Of course not. Does it have to be? Not the way the retail business is consolidated these days. Can it evolve into something else? People like Jim McEntee at Porter Cable/Delta think so. One thing he envisions is increased staff training and product knowledge opportunites, if only more front-line staff can be encouraged to attend. "It would be a damned shame if this industry couldn't support its own trade show in Canada," he says. For other exhibitors, that evolution is already underway - and paying off. One kitchen and bath exhibitor was delighted that his competitor was pulling out of the show. It meant his programs got more attention from buyers. Does the show need all the extra events, such as awards and seminars? Yes and no. From the standpoint of attendance, these made little impact on independent dealer attendance. For a few sharp independents, seminars and panels were sources of much needed information on running the business. But even without making a big difference in attendance, these events are necessary. For the show to maintain its credibility as a truly national event, it has to maintain these aspects. Recognizing Canada's outstanding retailers and best buyers is one of the roles of a national event. Even something as irreverent as the Hardlines Breakfast plays a small role in making the show a true meeting place for the industry. The Hardware Show in Chicago faces the same challenge. It has seen big vendors, such as Black & Decker and Bosch, pull out. They and other majors are committing to the Cologne International Hardware Fair one year and Chicago the next. As more smaller companies follow suit, both shows may have no choice but to alternate years. The Toronto show's role as a strong regional showcase can be enhanced. With proper promotion to the U.S., it can draw equally from the Great Lakes states as from Canada. And CHS could make a more affordable alternative to Cologne, if it, too, was on alternate years from Chicago. In the meantime, the Canadian show remains a good venue for new products, whether it's a small startup with one good idea or a major with the latest out of R&D. But every exhibitor will appeal more to independents by offering better show specials. Besides, where else can this editor find so many people from so many sectors, regions and ranks to interview for news?
A number of key buyers made clear what they were looking for at last week's Canadian Hardware and Building Materials Show: innovative new products. While they're definitely there to reaffirm existing relationships with major suppliers, they're also on the hunt for something unique that will put them ahead of their competition. The absence of some of those majors from this year's show made that hunt all the easier. "There are some hidden gems out there," says Ken Friedmann, tool buyer at Home Hardware Stores. "The upside of some of the big guys being absent from the show means they don't suck up all our time in their booth, so we do have time to focus on some of the smaller companies with some innovative products." Jim Jordan of Kent Building Materials in Saint John, NB agrees that the importance of the show lays in great part with the smaller exhibitors. "You have to search the whole beach so you don't miss that one important pebble," he says.
John MacDougall, 66, passed away Saturday, February 2, 2002. Born April 4, 1935 in Sydney, Cape Breton, he spent the early part of his career opening stores in northern Manitoba for the Hudson's Bay Co. He then held managerial positions in merchandising in Kingston, ON and worked for J.W. Bird in Fredericton, NB and Bedford, NS. In 1980 he started AWARD Wholesale and Retail Distributors to serve independent dealers in Atlantic Canada. John was one of the giants of the industry, a true visionary responsible for many innovations that benefitted not just his own dealers, but independents across the country. He is survived by his wife of 40 years, Vivian; daughter, Karen; son, Jamie; granddaughter, Aylssa; brothers, Sinclair, Melvin (Audrey) and Harry (Rhea); sister-in-law, Gloria; several nieces and nephews. Memorial donations may be made to United Church Building Fund.
Canadian Tire 28.20 18.50 24.75
Canfor 12.60 8.08 9.62
Emco 7.50 3.35 7.10
Goodfellow 9.50 8.00 9.25
Home Depot 53.73 30.30 49.70
Hudson's Bay 20.10 12.50 14.63
Lowe's Cos. 48.88 24.78 45.20
Sears Canada 26.95 12.50 19.45
Sodisco-Howden 2.75 0.75 1.40
Taiga Forest 11.05 6.80 10.90
West Fraser 42.25 27.00 41.75
Home Hardware Stores Ltd. is enhancing its customer loyalty program. Beginning March 1, Homecard credit card holders will be automatically enrolled in the Home's Advantage program. With every $25 in purchases on the card, customers get entered automatically in a bi-monthly draw to win vacations, merchandise, gift certificates and special offers. TruServ Canada's Pet Junction specialty retail program now numbers 20 full bannered stores and a number of independents. TruServ added 2,200 SKUs to its distribution centre to service the growing sector. Do-it Best Corp. recorded record levels for its online sales during the holiday season. Despite a softening U.S. economy, holiday sales were up almost 100% over 2000. The increase was attributed to intensive advertising for the web service, a greater assortment of products available online and increased customer ease with this type of purchase. The Canadian Institute of Plumbing and Heating reports that its 2002/2003 campaign for Habitat for Humanity has raised $458,463. Since 1994, CIPH has raised a total of $1.59 million.
Stats Canada has released preliminary numbers on building permits: building intentions in 2001 were up 8.1% as the value of building permits reached $39.9 billion. Non-residential intentions were up 7.1% to $17.8 billion. Residential building permits were up 8.9%, reaching a total of $22.2 billion. More than 70% of residential intentions are made up of single-family starts, which were up 8.2% to $16.0 billion.
Randy Aikens has joined Rona Ontario Inc. as new director of operations for Rona Home and Garden in Ontario. Formerly manager of Revy's Edmonton West store, he replaces Keith Hustler, who left the company to return to Vancouver. (416-241-8844) Bernie Owens has been appointed Atlantic Canada sales manager for Westroc. He adds this responsibility to his current role of manager of architectural products for Canada. In his new role, he will report to Germain Voyer, Eastern Canada sales manager, and continue to report to Don Moses for the architectural products business. Owens and his family will relocate to Halifax. He replaces Keith Prew, who left Westroc to join another company. (905-823-9881) Al Holton has been named regional development manager Ontario for Rona Inc. He was formerly manager LBM development for Ontario (519-4733686) … His purchasing duties have been taken over by Bob Hill and Susan Ryan, LBM buyers at Rona Lansing's Toronto (Martin Grove) offices. (416-241-8844)
Last week's report on wholesalers' sales should have specified PHCP wholesalers.
"Take care of the employees and they'll take care of the business." - Mark Healy, owner of the Oakville Canadian Tire and winner of Hardware Merchandising's Outstanding Retailer Award for stores over 50,000 sq.ft. He offered this during his acceptance speech at last week's CHS. "Take some chances, try different things and have fun with your customer." - Ibid.
Canadian Tire Corp.'s total retail sales for 2001 were $5.3 billion, a 6.9% increase over 2000. Same-store sales increased 2.2%. Consolidated net earnings were up 19.3% to $176.7 million, from $148.0 million. Those earnings benefitted from some extraordinary events, namely $15.4 million from the sale of credit charge receivables, $8.0 million from the sale of Hamilton Discount and $11.8 million from the sale of real estate to a U.S. investor. Negative impacts on earnings included $10.5 million spent last year on CTC's website, which is not expected to break even until 2002 and a 4Q hit for the purchase of Mark's Work Wearhouse. CTC also incurred $10.9 million in product clearance costs for Christmas lights and $4.0 million in restructuring costs. CTC closed 2001 with gross operating revenue of $4.2 billion, compared with $4.0 billion in 2000, due mainly to a 4.0% increase in shipments to dealers. Retail sales for the fourth quarter were up 5.7% from the same quarter a year earlier, with same-store sales up 1.7%. Gross operating revenue was $1.15 billion, up 8.9%. Earnings before taxes for the quarter were $47.3 million, compared with $34.6 million a year earlier.
The few dozen attendees who braved inclement weather last Monday morning to listen to Stephen Lewis at the Canadian Hardware and Building Materials Show probably weren't surprised by the rhetorical skills of the former federal NDP leader - they're legendary. What they may not have expected was that Lewis vigorously questioned the ability of multinational corporations and the captains of globalization to cope with the complex socio-political issues that will affect North American society and business in the new century. Lewis, who is currently special envoy to Africa for the United Nations, also spoke movingly about his efforts to fight the epidemic of HIV/AIDS in that country. Audience reaction was mixed. Several attendees were left shaking their heads; others blanched when Lewis suggested that if the current epidemic continues unabated, Africa will be home to 40 million orphans by 2010. And while he commended the hardware industry for its involvement in such programs as Habitat for Humanity, he urged its members to continue to look for ways to contribute to growth and stability in the developing world.
****HARDLINES MARKETPLACE**** Check out Hardlines Classifieds on the web: https://hardlines.ca/html/classifieds_new.asp NATIONAL ACCOUNTS MANAGER Are you an up and comer with major account management experience? If so, this premiere opportunity will be of interest to you. Our Client, a well known and well positioned category leader (Rona's Vendor Of The Year for 2001 in their category) just finished another year of stellar performance and due to an internal promotion, needs to add a high performer to their accomplished team. You'll hold responsibility for defending your brand position and supervising a merchandising sales team for Rona and Home Depot while being the "corporate face" of the company to these high-level Retailers. Challenges include growing the current business while adding to your market share with new products and innovative programs. Looking for an employer who continually demonstrates a commitment to improving Customer satisfaction and employee development? To explore this Toronto-based opportunity in complete confidence, please contact Wolf Gugler, quoting file #C-02. Wolf Gugler & Associates Limited, 300-1370 Don Mills Road, North York, Ontario M3B 3N7 Telephone: 416-386-1719 Email: admin@wolfgugler.com
Lumber and Building supply dealers are excited over CanWel’s recent announcement that February 1, 2002 is the official date they will be servicing the Ottawa Valley from their distribution facility in Brampton Ontario. The Brampton facility is eager to serve the needs of our Ottawa Valley customers comments Jack Charlebois, CanWel’s Account Manager who will service this region. Initially the new run schedule will include weekly deliveries to the Gananoque and Deep River areas and twice a week delivery to the Ottawa Valley area. The delivery schedule will be reviewed as customers demands warrant changes. For more information contact Mike Piggot at 1-800-772-4118 ext # 263 or e-mail: mike_piggot@canwel.com
*********************************************************************************** NATIONAL ACCOUNT MANAGER: Due to increased growth, The MIBRO Group, a leading North American supplier of Power Tool Accessories, Chain, Chain Accessories, Hand Tools & Lawn and Garden products, is adding to its growing sales team. The National Account Manager will be responsible for the sales and overall customer service of selected major accounts in both Canada and the United States. The ideal candidate will have a proven track record of sales, a personable approach to selling, high self-motivation, a competitive nature, and the ability to work in a team environment. Computer skills including the use of Excel, ability to travel, strong business writing capabilities, and knowledge of hardware products and the marketplace are essential. We offer a competitive compensation and benefits package. If you are interested in exploring this opportunity, and working in a high energy fast growing company, forward your resumé to esmith@mibro.com or via confidential fax to (416) 285-9623. * * * * * *************************************************************************** NORAL INSTORE: Don't leave your products' display management to chance! Let Noral Instore take care of your instore merchandising. Visit http://www.noralmarketing.com or call 519-439-6800 ext. 201 *************************************************************************** THE HARDLINES MARKETPLACE: just $16 per line. A classified ad with Hardlines is the most direct way to industry eyes. Over 3,000 executives in the industry come in contact with our email and fax publications and have you seen our Marketplace in our new website? https://hardlines.ca/html/classifieds_new.asp Publish your ad where it matters. Get industry exposure today. Contact us at 416-489-3396 or email: buzz@hardlines.ca ********************************************************************************** NEW: POWERPOINT PRESENTATION ON THE CANADIAN MARKET A point-by-point illustration of the Canadian market and the growth of its key players. Dazzle your bosses and impress your friends with this one! ($179 + taxes for subscribers, $449 + taxes for non-subscribers.) Call Nancy Wright at 416.489.3396, email her at: nancy@hardlines.ca, or go online: https://hardlines.ca/html/order.html to order any of the above publications. ********************************************************************************** Boy, have I been getting a lot of queries about Cologne! If you're thinking of going, this is definitely the year to go. All the big guys will be exhibiting. For information about the Cologne International Hardware Fair/DIY'TEC, March 3-6, 2002, contact: Edel Wichmann, 416-598-3343; colognet@idirect.com. To book your flight and hotel, contact Carol-Ann Itel at Trade Show Travel by phone: 1-877-873-7469; fax: 403-247-2448; or tradeshowtravel@shaw.ca to arrange your trip. Packages include return airfare and accommodations, as well as admission to the Exhibition. BOOK EARLY! Packages also include an invitation to the internationally famous Canada Night Reception on Sunday, March 3, 2002, sponsored by Hardlines and Cologne International Trade Shows. We'll see you in Cologne! - Michael
Hardlines is published weekly (except monthly in December and August) by McLARNEYCOM 542 Mount Pleasant Rd., Suite 302, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M4S 2M7 © 2002 by Michael McLarney. HARDLINES™ the electronic newsletter hardlines.ca Phone: 416.489.3396; Fax: 416.489.6154 Michael McLarney, Editor & Publisher: mike@hardlines.ca Beverly Allen, Marketing Manager: bev@hardlines.ca Nancy Wright, Circulation Manager: nancy@hardlines.ca ______________________________________________ THE HARDLINES "FAIR PLAY" POLICY: Reproduction in whole or in part is very uncool and strictly forbidden and really and truly against the law. So please, play fair! Call for information on multiple subscriptions or a site license for your company. We do want as many people as possible to read Hardlines each week – but let us handle your internal routing from this end! ______________________________________________ Subscription: $199+$13.93 GST = $212.93 per year (GST #13987 0398 RT). Secondary subscriptions at the same office are only $28 + $1.96 GST = $29.98. Ask about our reduced rate for branch offices. You can pay online by VISA at our secure website or send us money. Please make cheque payable to McLarneyCom.