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January 4, 2021 | Volume xxvii, #1



  • THE YEAR IN REVIEW: our top stories of 2020 that will shape the year ahead
  • Hardlines Conference reboots for 2021—and what a speaker lineup!
  • IKEA CEO: online plus in-person shopping equals a combo with staying power
  • On strong Q3 sales, Home Depot putting focus now on supply chain

PLUS: TIMBER MART’s newest member, Federated Co-operatives reports annual revenues, Canadian Tire’s Greg Hicks, Quebec dealers open third RONA store, Amazon depot in Iqaluit, IKEA stops print catalogue, BSIA Product Expo, building permits, U.S. housing starts and more!

THE YEAR IN REVIEW: our top stories of 2020 that will shape the year ahead

SPECIAL REPORT — The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic dominated the news in 2020, as they did life in general. Within the industry, one of the most high-profile impacts was on trade shows.

The International Hardware Show in Cologne, Germany was scheduled to happen in March but ended up being postponed in February due to the pandemic. Then, in mid-March, Home Hardware announced the cancellation of its Spring Market. The following month it held a virtual event instead, and its Fall Market was virtual as well.

Also in May, Hardlines announced the 25th anniversary edition of its own Hardlines Conference would not take place as scheduled in the fall of 2020. (We are happy to announce the event is back on for 2021! —Editor)

After postponing its annual event from May to September, the National Hardware Show’s organizers announced in July that it would be replaced with an all-virtual event in 2020. Orgill likewise cancelled its Spring and Fall Dealer Markets, replacing them with two “e-Volution” online buying events. And by the end of the year, the Western Regional Lumber Association and the Atlantic Building Supply Dealers Association had both announced they would not hold in-person events in winter 2021.

Another major theme in the news during 2020 was the evolution of the Ace banner in Canada. The Canadian licence for the Ace brand was acquired by Peavey Industries in March from Lowe’s Canada.

The deal marked a step toward streamlining Lowe’s multi-banner strategy while cementing Alberta-based Peavey’s position as a national player. Peavey had begun 2020 by completing the amalgamation of its TSC stores in Ontario, which it acquired in 2016. The integration of those stores to the Peavey Mart brand began late in 2020 and continues this year.

Initially, Peavey took on hardware sourcing for Ace dealers, while previous licensee Lowe’s Canada continued to meet their lumber needs under a transitional agreement. In November, however, Peavey and Sexton Group announced a partnership that would see the buying group step in as Ace Canada’s LBM wholesaler.

Personnel changes are always hot stories for Hardlines readers, and the past year was no exception. Canadian Tire Corp. named Greg Hicks as CEO in mid-March, just in time to hit the ground running managing the company’s pandemic response. He was succeeded in the spring as president of Canadian Tire Retail by TJ Flood, previously president of the FGL Sports division.

At Lowe’s Canada, the highly anticipated appointment of former CEO and President Sylvain Prud’homme’s successor was announced in January. The company brought in Tony Hurst from U.S. parent Lowe’s Cos. Tony Cioffi had headed Lowe’s Canada on an interim basis following Prud’homme’s departure.

Home Hardware saw a major shakeup in its merchandising team, which was consolidated under Marianne Thompson as senior VP after the departure of merchandise hardlines VP Joel Marks in early summer. Thompson brought in a new team of directors, all of them recruited from outside the company, in a break with Home Hardware’s usual practice.

All these changes will position the major retail groups for further growth in 2021. Hardlines will be there to report on them as their stories unfold.

Hardlines Conference reboots for 2021—and what a speaker lineup!

WORLD HEADQUARTERS, Toronto — The 25th anniversary Hardlines Conference is a go. After this landmark conference was delayed by COVID-19 in 2020, we are excited to announce confirmed dates for this year. The conference will be held on Oct. 19 and 20 at Queen’s Landing in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont.

With the date so far out, the organizers (wait, that’s us! —Editor) are confident that enough normalcy will have been restored, with widespread vaccinations expected for all Canadians by September. And some of the industry’s top leaders agree with us.

The Hardlines Conference will play host to an incredible lineup of retail leaders:

  • Kevin Macnab, President and CEO, Home Hardware Stores
  • Doug Anderson, President and CEO, Peavey Industries;
  • Jamal Hamad, Sr. Director Contractor Services Sales and Operations Pro-Rental-MRO-Home Services at Home Depot Canada;
  • Drew Green, CEO of clothing chain Indochino;
  • Sascha Jamal, Director, SAJ Consulting; and
  • Peter Norman, economist and VP at Altus Group.

With the inclusion of Home Hardware’s Macnab, Anderson from Peavey, and Hamad from Home Depot Canada, attendees are guaranteed to get insights first-hand from some of the industry’s leading home improvement retailers. Macnab has been leading a huge transition at Home Hardware that aims to position the company for growth well into the 21st century. Anderson has made Peavey a household name in this industry, first with the acquisition of TSC Stores and then with the takeover of Ace in Canada.

Home Depot has been aggressively pursuing the contractor customer with new initiatives, programs, and financing that help them stay connected and keep supplies efficiently. Jamal Hamad has headed up that growth, putting independents on alert as Home Depot continues to gain acceptance—and market share—among pros.

The addition of Drew Green to this year’s lineup ensures that the conference will once again look outward for guidance on best practices and trends in retail. Indochino is a burgeoning retailer of custom, made-to-measure suits. Green has been involved in multiple start-ups and in just the past seven years, he’s grown two businesses to over $200 million in market cap. Not to be missed!

Rounding out the Hardlines Conference, we’ll hear from our leading housing and economic advisor, Peter Norman of Altus Group. And in this time of supply chain disruption, global supply chain expert Sascha Jamal will outline how overseas supply has been disrupted by rising prices, new markets, and, of course, the pandemic.

The 25th annual Hardlines Conference in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont., guarantees a world-class destination to maximize networking among the retail home improvement industry’s leading dealers, retail chains, buying groups and suppliers. (Click here for more info on the conference and our amazing venue!)


IKEA CEO: online plus in-person shopping equals a combo with staying power

SPECIAL REPORT — Online shopping will continue to grow, without dampening customers’ eagerness to return to in-person shopping. That was the consensus of a virtual talk last month between the Retail Council of Canada’s Diane Brisebois and Michael Ward, CEO and chief sustainability officer of IKEA Canada.

“Click and collect is a winner,” said Ward. “People love it.”

At the same time, “consumers want to go back to stores,” said Brisebois. “How do you change your store environment and your merchandising so that customers want to go back in? What makes sense in a bricks-and-mortar environment? … As we look to the future, we’re quite hopeful for bricks and mortar. But there’s no question we’ll see a lot of new tech.” That pivot, she added, has already begun.

“I don’t think it’s one or the other,” Ward agreed. “We’ve always been clear this is an omnichannel strategy.” An on-the-spot poll of the Zoom audience echoed that view. Eighty-four percent of respondents indicated that they planned a mix of online and in-person shopping for the holidays. Ward noted that IKEA has “an advantage because our buildings are big” and can be used for fulfillment.

Large retailers, however, aren’t alone in benefiting from this new mixed-economy reality. Last spring, as governments ordered businesses in many areas to limit themselves to curbside pickup of remote orders, it was their small size that allowed many independents to adapt more nimbly to the change.

Also, at banners that have smaller formats, such as Ace and Home Hardware, online ordering allows stores with limited retail space to offer a wider selection of big-ticket items like appliances.

On strong Q3 sales, Home Depot putting focus now on supply chain

ATLANTA — As the impact of the COVID-19 crisis continued to grow across North America through the fall of 2020, The Home Depot faced “unprecedented demand,” according to Craig Menear, the company’s chairman and CEO. That demand was met by fine-tuning every aspect of the business.

“Actions we have taken across our supply chain, in our stores, and in partnership with our suppliers have helped us to improve in-stock levels, reduce lead times, better manage in-store replenishment, and improve fulfillment options and delivery times,” he said in a call to analysts.

President and COO Ted Decker expanded on Menear’s comments. He noted that the crisis required a close look at what products were being sold—and how. “The actions we took include adjusting our assortments and planograms, introducing alternative products and, in some cases, reducing the numbers of SKUs in certain categories to focus on the highest-demand products.”

Home Depot continues to strengthen its distribution network to get product into stores and to the growing ranks of pro dealers in its customer base. That has included the mechanization of its rapid deployment centre network. “We’ve now implemented mechanized floor loading in two-thirds of our facilities, meaningfully improving our productivity in those buildings.”

These improvements have resulted in reduced product lead times and continued improvement in Home Depot’s in-stock positions, Decker said.

During the call, the execs admitted the company may have lost sales due to stock outages during the period, though Decker said Home Depot faced that more in its second quarter. (Home Depot’s third quarter ended Oct. 31, unlike many other retailers that ended their quarter at the end of September.)

Though stock levels were not perfect by the third quarter, Decker said the period saw “incredible improvement” overall, with inventory up more than $400 million over the same time a year earlier.

People on the Move

The transition of the new leadership at TORBSA has been finalized. Former General Manager Bob Holmes retired officially at the end of 2020, making way for Paul Williams, previously Ontario regional manager for CGC Inc., who took the reins as president of the Bolton, Ont.-based buying group this past summer. Holmes sent a note to members and suppliers expressing “what a sincere pleasure it has been to have partnered with you over these many years and to thank you for helping me achieve many of my personal and corporate goals.” You can contact him at Williams can be reached at


... that the 25th anniversary Hardlines Conference will be held Oct. 19 and 20 at Queen’s Landing in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont.? Add this to your calendar now! Click here for more info.


VAUGHAN, Ont. — TIMBER MART has announced the addition of Quincaillerie J.D. Lafontaine as the fifth Quebec dealer to join the buying group in 2020. The business has served the Gaspésie community of Sainte-Anne-des-Monts for more than 40 years. It covers a 40,000-square-foot store and warehouse.

SASKATOON — Federated Co-operatives Ltd. reported revenues of $7.9 billion for the financial year ending October 31, 2020, with earnings of $177 million. From these earnings, FCL returned $117.5 million to local Co-ops across Western Canada. The company enjoyed strong results in the food, home, and building and agriculture business lines, but these were not enough to offset declines in the energy sector.

BOUCHERVILLE, Que. — The new RONA Des Ormeaux store in Montreal is now open. Contractors and dealer-owners Pascal Ferland, François Tremblay, and Simon St-Laurent are also co-owners of the RONA Oka and RONA Villeray stores. The new location is the result of an investment of more than $1 million and several months of work.

TORONTO — Canadian Tire CEO Greg Hicks took the reins of the iconic company just in time to contend with the outbreak of COVID-19, as he relates in a new interview with the Globe and Mail. Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced the closure of the province’s schools on Hicks’s first full day on the job. One of the priorities of his tenure has been to raise the profile of Canadian Tire’s owned brands, which make up more than $4 billion in sales and more than a quarter of the CTC’s revenues.

ATLANTA — With the DIY boom still going strong months into the pandemic, The Home Depot is making a major investment in home décor e-retail. The recently launched HD Home collection encompasses everything from furniture to wall treatments and cookware.

SEATTLE — Amazon has opened a pickup depot in the Nunavut capital of Iqaluit, which the e-retail giant says will allow it to cut delivery times in the region. Amazon Prime customers can now select the pickup location at checkout and expect their parcels in three to five days instead of two or three weeks. Amazon is teaming up with Inuit-owned airline Canadian North, which will fly Amazon Prime orders in dedicated cargo space on flights every Wednesday and Sunday.

DELFT, Netherlands — IKEA has ceased publication of its famous print catalogue after more than 70 years. “Times are changing,” the company said in a statement. “IKEA is transforming its business model to become more accessible and digital while embracing new ways to connect with more people.” By 2016, more than 200 million copies of the catalogue were being printed annually in 32 languages. But the trend toward online buying, hastened by COVID-19, has diminished the print catalogue’s utility.



SURREY, B.C. — The B.C. Building Supply Industry Association is offering a Christmas bonus for the industry with thousands of dollars in prizes donated by more than 35 sponsors and presenters. Participants in the BSIA 2021 Wave of the Future – Product Expo & PK Sessions on Jan. 19 will have several chances to win each hour. Discounted ticket registration will be available to all, with proceeds going to the BSIA Bursary Fund.


The total value of building permits rose 12.9 percent to $9.4 billion in November, the third-highest value on record. Much of this growth was led by large permits for multi-family dwellings in British Columbia and Ontario and an office building in the city of Toronto. The value of residential permits rose to new heights in November, increasing 10 percent. Every province posted gains in this sector except for Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, which reported slight declines. (StatCan)

Sales of existing U.S. homes in November declined for the first time in six months, falling 2.5 percent. However, compared to last November, sales were up 25.8 percent. High demand and increasingly tight supply have combined to drive the median house price up by more than 14 percent. (National Association of Realtors)

Housing starts in the U.S. rose by 1.2 percent in November to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.55 million units. Meanwhile, October’s increase was revised up from 4.9 percent to 6.3 percent. (U.S. Census Bureau)


“My philosophy is all about wanting to help people. Whether it’s a small project or a large project with a contractor or a homeowner, we’re interested in helping people. That’s what drives me.”
Matthew Payzant, general manager, Payzant Home Hardware Building Centre, Lower Sackville, N.S.




Classified Ads


Responsible to the Store Design Manager for the delivery and execution of the category management plan, planogram development, store implementations and the Innovation Centre to support corporate objectives, goals and improve Dealer profitability.

Provide strong leadership, support and direction to the Space Planning team.

Collaborate with the Merchandise Team to develop and execute their retail vision for all product categories assigned by the category management plan. 

Develop tactical execution plans to support projects; manage project deadlines and communicate regular status updates.

Responsible for the deployment of the Innovation Centre which includes implementation of category management and Home branding components. 

Manage and monitor the Space Planning budget, exercising sound fiscal management to control expenses and generate revenue.


College/University diploma or degree in business, marketing or visual merchandising. 

Three to five years of practical experience directly managing a space planning or planogram team for a major retail organization. 

A thorough understanding of retail design, planogram development and brand deployment.
Ability to manage, lead and coach to a team.

Proficient computer skills with working knowledge of Planogram Development software, used in the retail industry.

Excellent organization, communication and interpersonal skills. 

Strong project management skills. 

Ability to travel and work additional or varied hours as required to fulfill the responsibilities of the position.

Fluency in both English and French would be an asset.

*We thank all applicants for their interest;
however, only qualified candidates will be contacted for interviews.
Krista Gromeder, Recruitment Coordinator, Human Resources  Phone: 519-664-2252 ext. 6208
Job Application Deadline: Friday, January 8, 2021
We will accommodate the needs of qualified applicants on request, under the Human Rights Code in all parts of the hiring process.


HOURS:  8AM TO 4:30PM                                                                        GRADE:        9
Responsible to the Space Planning Manager for the design, development and delivery of planograms for the category management plan to maximize profitability and increase store sales.  
Create and maintain all planograms to support defined assortments and implementation for Home stores.

Contribute and participate in all required Category Management meetings and provide consult to Merchandise Managers as they develop their assortments.

Develop and design store fixtures, merchandising accessories and POP material. 

Review finished planogram designs/setup with the Space Planning Database Administrator.

Maintain and deliver planogram content supporting line reviews in the Store Builder and Store Planning Data Guides.


College / University diploma or degree in Business, Visual Merchandising or Space Planning. 

Minimum three years’ merchandising or equivalent retail experience required.

Knowledge of merchandise for use in retail hardware/building centres is essential. Familiarity with retail design concepts, store fixtures and Home’s internal processes are a definite asset.

Excellent communication skills and a proven ability to influence, interact and consult with leaders regarding category management planning. Ability to build strong relationships, foster trust and promote collaboration with key stakeholders within the organization.

Strong computer skills including Microsoft Outlook, Word and Excel, along with other space planning software applications (i.e. Intactix and Intactix Knowledge Base).

Excellent time management and organization skills.  Demonstrated ability to work independently with minimal supervision and to successfully prioritize, coordinate and manage multiple competing priorities.  Detail-oriented with a focus on delivering high quality work.

Bilingual in both French and English would be an asset.

*We thank all applicants for their interest;
however, only qualified candidates will be contacted for interviews.
Krista Gromeder, Recruitment Coordinator, Human Resources  Phone: 519-664-2252 ext. 6208
Job Application Deadline: Friday, January 8, 2021
We will accommodate the needs of qualified applicants on request, under the Human Rights Code in all parts of the hiring process.



Looking to post a classified ad? Email Michelle for a free quote.



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