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vol. viii, #8 February 25, 2002  
* Rona on hiring spree in Ontario, Réno-Dépôt lets 69 go * TruServ announces new executive team * High end and high tech get spotlight in Atlanta * V&S developed for smaller stores * Retail sales strong in 2001 * Wal-Mart accused of union-busting

While in Cologne, be sure and join us for the Canada Night Reception on Sunday, March 3, 2002. It's sponsored by Hardlines and Cologne International Trade Shows!

If you haven't already booked your trip to the Cologne International Hardware Fair/DIY'TEC, March 3-6, 2002, contact Carol-Ann Itel at Trade Show Travel by phone: 1-877-873-7469; fax: 403-247-2448; or tradeshowtravel.ca to arrange your trip. Packages include return airfare and accommodations, as well as admission to the Exhibition. - Michael
Rona Inc. went on a hiring spree last Thursday with an "open house day" in search of 400 people to work at five Rona Home & Garden and eight Rona Lansing stores in the Greater Toronto Area. Jobs being recruited included clerks, cashiers, delivery and sales people. Throughout the Montréal area on the same day, another 500-plus people were being recruited for stores in Anjou, Brossard, Laval, Mascouche, St. Bruno and St. Laurent. Rona's hiring is part of a search for some 1,200 people chain-wide. Retired or older experienced people were courted, as were students. Scholarships are being offered of up to $400 annually for certain students hired by Rona. Meanwhile, Réno-Dépôt has let go 69 managers - 41 in Ontario and 28 in Québec. "We're looking at our store structure over all." says Sylvain Toutant, president and CEO of Réno-Dépôt. "We had too many people being bosses and we want more people serving the customers." Under the old structure, each store manager had up to four assistant managers, who in turn had two or three coordinators. The coordinators have been eliminated, leaving department managers to report directly to the assistant managers. "As the new CEO, I'm just questioning everything that we've done in the past. We're now more efficient as far as spending time on the floor and training our associates," Toutant concludes.
TruServ Canada continues to fine-tune its variety store program with a new banner. V&S Options features a broader, more "urban" assortment designed to keep local customers close to home, rather than making a destination of a large-surface retailer in a larger centre. With its tighter merchandise mix and broader assortment, the format is ideal for smaller stores than a typical V&S Variety store. The ideal size is around 4,000 sq.ft. Within that store, 80% will be a scaled back traditional assortment; the other 20% will be devoted to specialty niches, such as wine making or TruServ's pet supplies program. The expanded assortment includes crafts, cards, picture frames, giftware and housewares, in addition to the soft goods typical of the variety, or junior mass merchant, assortment of V&S Variety. Two stores have signed on for the the format so far - a ground up store in Picture Butte, AB and a V&S reno in Almont, ON that will be completed by the end of March. Besides the altered assortments, the advertising will be different for the V&S Options stores, says Terry Derraugh, vice-president, merchandising and distribution for TruServ Canada. About 110-120 existing V&S stores have been identified as candidates for the Options program, which was originally to be called C&S Choices, "but that name didn't fly," says Derraugh. The emphasis on V&S Options also marks a departure from the Crafts 'n More banner. The five-year experiment will no longer be promoted or recruited, says Derraugh. The 17 existing Crafts 'n More stores continue to do well, he adds, but TruServ will not recruit further members for this banner.
Non-traditional building techniques for houses, combined with high-end luxury amenities to put inside those houses, exemplify some of the trends at this year's International Builders Show. More expensive, but more permanent systems are gaining favour. The Builders Show, held in Atlanta, GA February 8-11, also put the spotlight on appliances and amenities that go inside a house. High-tech and high end were all the rage. Finishes on taps included aged bronze and polished chrome. Stainless steel sinks have moved into the bathroom, sometimes set in granite countertops. Other advances in home building that were featured included whole-house wiring, private elevators, engineered plywood and foam-insulated panels that eliminate the need for studwalls and a big push on steel framing and poured concrete (the Benchmark System shown here). New systems are being regarded as so cost effective, in fact, that Habitat for Humanity has begun using insulated panels and poured concrete in its affordable homes. Steel framing was touted for its environmental advantages - being completely recyclable, creating less waste on the job, along with its resistance to termites, warping and splitting. Other environmental products featured at the show included a tankless water heating unit - a 15-inch box that heats water as needed, replacing a 50-gallon hot water tank. Domestic solar panels that tie in with a home's utility grid can reduce heating bills.
Canadian Tire 28.20 18.50 24.05
Canfor 12.60 8.08 9.59
Emco 790 3.35 8.10
Goodfellow 10.00 8.00 10.00
Home Depot 53.73 30.30 51.00
Hudson's Bay 20.10 12.50 13.93
Lowe's Cos. 48.88 24.99 46.05
Sears Canada 26.50 12.50 18.71
Sodisco-Howden 2.63 0.75 1.61
Taiga Forest 11.05 6.80 10.27
West Fraser 42.50 28.75 43.00
Léo Charrière has been named president of TruServ Canada Co-operative Inc. A veteran of the company going back to the Macleod-Stedman days, he was most recently COO, in charge of the company since the retirement of president and CEO David Grubbe just over a year ago … Joining Charrière to form the new executive team are: Terry Derraugh, vice-president, merchandising/distribution. He was formerly director, merchandising/distribution … Ray Falkenberg, who has been promoted from director of business development/marketing to vice-president, business development/marketing … and Lorna McLeod, who has been promoted from director of finance to vice-president, finance ... The TruServ Canada executive team is rounded out by Gerry Mauthe, who was appointed director, information technology in December 2001 and Catherine Gamby, director, human resources. (204-453-9511) Bill Waters has been appointed director of marketing for the Sexton Group, effective today. He comes over from Weyerhaeuser Building Materials Division in Winnipeg, where he worked in a management position. Prior to that he was with the former Macmillan Bloedel Building Materials in various sales and senior management positions in Western Canada. (204-694-0296)
Sodisco-Howden Group Inc. has completed its previously announced acquisition of the hardware and building materials assets of Marchands Unis Inc. The 150 Marchands Unis dealers affected by the purchase will continue to operate under their own banners - Bâtitout, Ferplus Quincaillerie and Jardirêve. In conjunction with the deal, Sodisco-Howden has secured new financing with Congress Financial Corp. (Canada) for a $55 million credit facility. Castle Building Centres Group has added the following new members: Rosthern Valley Lumber & Building Products, Rosthern, SK; Morrisburg Building Centre, Morrisburg, ON; Greenfield General Store, Queens County, NS; Mike's Home Centre, Southey, SK; Shoal Lake Building Supply, Shoal Lake, MB; Vaughan Building Supplies, Wolfe Island, ON; Mannings Building Supplies, Blyth, ON. TruServ Canada begins a series of member meetings today to identify opportunities for new programs and introduce "Store Works Re (6)" for True Value stores. The program includes a detailed business review and market analysis potential aimed at helping retailers refocus their businesses. The workshops will be held in 17 locations across the country and will involve more than 100 True Value stores. Ainsworth Lumber Co. had a net loss of $30.0 million for the year ended December 31, on sales of $312.9 million. This compares with net earnings of $10.5 million on sales of $331.6 million in 2000. The company ended the fourth quarter with a net loss of $19.3 million on sales of $67.4 million. After only 15 months, Sears Canada will close the Eaton's experiment, converting those stores to Sears. There are seven Eaton's across Canada employing 600 people, and two of the stores, Yorkdale in Toronto and Polo Park in Winnipeg, share mall locations with existing Sears. Wrapping up a fourth quarter with record earnings, Wal-Mart ended the year with sales of US$217.8 billion, up 13.8% over the prior fiscal year. Net income for the fiscal year increased 6.0% to a record US$6.7 billion, up from $6.3 billion a year earlier. Total same-store sales for the quarter were up 6.9%, including a 7.2% increase for Wal-Mart stores and a 5.7% increase for SAM'S. Total same-store sales for the year were up 5.8%, including a 5.9% increase for Wal-Mart and a 5.7% increase for SAM'S. Workers at an Iowa Wal-Mart Supercenter auto centre have failed in their attempt to get the union in. The United Food and Commercial Workers have accused Wal-Mart of a "massive anti-worker program" that included threatening to take away staff bonuses, harassment of union supporters, illegal surveillance of workers and failing to replace broken tools for workers. Better to pay a border tax to Canada than a duty to the U.S., says Rick Doman of Doman Industries. Keep the money in Canada, he urges, but other lumber producers have not said whether they'll throw in with him. Right now, the penalty is in the form of a duty at the U.S. border. Under Doman's proposal, Ottawa would place a 15% border tax on low-value lumber products heading to the U.S., if Washington agrees to suspend the existing 32% duties on Canadian timber.
Retail sales in Canada gained by 4.5% in 2001, from $277.0 billion in 2000 to $289.5 billion, says Statistics Canada. Greatest gains were in furniture (+7.9%), due to cocooning, and drug (+7.2%) due to higher medicine prices. December sales reached $25.0 billion, up 1.6% from November. This follows sales increases of 1.3% in November and 2.1% in October. Hardware, metal and plumbing wholesale sales were down 3.5% in 2001, while wholesale lumber and building materials sales rose 1.2%, says Stats Canada. Overall wholesale sales last year were up 2.3%, following an increase of 6.4% from 1999 to 2000. New housing construction in the U.S. was up 6.3% in January to 1.68 million units, the highest it's been in almost two years, says the U.S. Commerce Department. This follows a 2.0% decline in December. Despite a recession in the U.S., low mortgage interest rates have fuelled the housing market. First-time home buyers, especially under US$200,000, have been particularly strong. Building permits rose 3.1% in January to a rate of 1.71 million units.
****HARDLINES MARKETPLACE**** Check out Hardlines Classifieds on the web: https://hardlines.ca/html/classifieds_new.asp EASTERN REGIONAL MANAGER: Canadian In-Store Merchandising has an opening for the position of Eastern Regional Manager. The successful candidate, based out of our Mississauga Head Office, will be responsible for execution of daily activities such as merchandising, training, remodels, resets, and scheduling for the Ontario, Quebec and the Maritimes regions. A strong background in sales would be beneficial. Reporting to the National Operations Manager, this fast paced, challenging position will require a highly organized individual, who is exceptional at prioritizing in an ever changing environment. Computer skills, with a focus on excel spreadsheets, is a must. A rewarding compensation package including benefits and a car allowance will be based on experience. Please direct all resumés to the attention of Tim Surbey, 21789 Donovan Avenue, Maple Ridge, BC, V2X 3A6 or by email to tsurbey@shaw.ca *********************************************************************************** DISTRIBUTORSHIP AVAILABLE: Established exclusive distributorship in South Western Ontario. Exchange-A-Blade Ltd. is expanding. If you are interested in being your own boss and earning above average income, we have over 25 years of successful, proven distributorships across Canada and the U.S.A. Calling on retail box stores, lumber yards and hardware stores, you will use your selling and service skills to supply our unique products. You should have a minimum of $50,000 unencumbered to invest. Please contact Gerry Lees at 705-526-2160. Visit our Website at www.exchangeablade.com. (110302) *********************************************************************************** ACCOUNT MANAGER AND SALES MANAGER/SALES EXECUTIVE: Maxtech Manufacturing is one of the fastest growing designers, manufacturers and distributors of hand & power tool accessories. We are looking for an Account Manager and a Sales Manager/Sales Executive to grow our expanding Canadian & U.S. customer base and market share. Maxtech is an innovation leader that owns 28 U.S. utility patents with many more pending. We offer a dynamic work environment, a solid customer base and innovative product lines to sell that are unique to any other products available in the market today. The ideal candidate will have experience in the hardware/home improvement market, ability to travel, highly motivated and proven sales abilities. If you are interested, please forward your cover letter and resumé to Greg Schlosser: gregs@maxtech-mfg.com or fax: 519-885-6066. (040302) *********************************************************************************** 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   *************************************************************************** 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. 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