View in your browser

January 7, 2019 | Volume xxv, #1
IN THIS ISSUE: Welcome to the new look of Hardlines! Easier than ever to find the latest news The top 12 stories of 2018: Our annual look at the news that shaped the industry Marianne Thompson joins Home Hardware in top LBM merchant role Bricks and mortar outsell Amazon when it comes to power tools PLUS: CTS joins TIMBER MART, Kent continues to expand, Federated Co-operatives’ annual revenues, Dollarama’s e-commerce site, Lowe’s to hire techies, Home Depot Canada makes the list of best employers, Amazon expands in Canada, Rust-Oleum acquires Siamons, Intertape Polymer Group buys Maiweave, Claude Dion at Derby, Luc Rodier named CEO of Guillevin, existing house sales and more!  
Check out this week's classifieds!
Welcome to the new look of Hardlines! Easier than ever to find the latest news

WORLD HQ, Toronto — Hardlines is heading into the New Year with a brand-new look. Our website has been updated with a fresh design that puts the latest news stories front and centre for you, our Faithful Subscribers. The easy-to-read format simplifies navigating the site and makes it easier than ever to access back issues of the Hardlines newsletter.

Visitors to can now view the latest features from our weekly newsletter, while our Daily News Updates are easily accessible by headline. The addition of a new Archive page makes looking up past Dailies quick and simple.

If you are looking for more in-depth analysis of the retail home improvement industry, you can learn about our special reports, like the annual Retail Report on home improvement in Canada, and the incredible Market Share Report.

For anyone looking to hire, or seeking a position themselves, they can find our Hardlines Classified Ads or post their resumé themselves quickly and easily.

If you’re looking for information about our upcoming events, such as this year’s Hardlines Conference or our Canada Night Reception at the Orgill Spring Market next month in Orlando, you can find it all in our Events page. There’s even a link to an industry event calendar so you can keep track of all the shows and events in the industry across North America (You should definitely bookmark this one! —Editor).

The new look to the Hardlines website comes after we recently updated our weekly Hardlines newsletter and the launch of a new publication designed especially for retail owners and managers, Hardlines Dealer News. These improvements reflect a major investment by Hardlines Inc. to remain the leading source of news and insights for Canada’s retail home improvement industry.

(Please take a minute to look over our new site. We welcome your feedback. Feel free to send me an email! —Editor).

The top 12 stories of 2018: Our annual look at the news that shaped the industry

SPECIAL REPORT — In our first issue of 2019, we look back at the stories that defined the industry in 2018. People were on the move, companies expanded and consolidated, while stormy economic winds from south of the border captured our readers’ attention. Here are your favourite 12 stories of the past year, from buying show trends to the slow death of a venerable retail icon.

Among the personnel changes that caught your attention last year was the naming of Nick Malone as VP of merchandising for the Lowe’s banner at Lowe’s Canada. Malone, previously senior director of central merchandising for Lowe’s Canada, replaced Alan Blundell, who accepted the job of president of PetSmart Canada. Malone joined Lowe’s Canada at its inception as supply chain director.

The story of another career transition was viewed more than 1,000 times in a single day—despite hitting the news just before Christmas. That’s when Home Hardware announced the recruitment of Marianne Thompson as VP of merchandise LBM. (See full story elsewhere in this issue. —Editor). Similarly, the departure of another executive, Rick McNabb, from Home Hardware in August, right before the company’s dealer market, drove huge traffic to the Hardlines website.

Companies as well as individuals saw major transitions in 2018. In April, we broke the news that WSB Titan, the giant gypsum supply dealer, had been sold to a U.S. company, GMS. Readers latched onto the November announcement that paint maker Sico’s operations would relocate to Ontario. That revelation created a political backlash in Quebec, where public pride has been shaken in recent years as control of homegrown brands including RONA and Saint-Hubert BBQ has passed out of province.

Meanwhile, other Quebec companies signalled their expansion beyond la belle province. In November, Canac made the news taking the first steps toward opening its first store outside of Quebec. Canac President Jean Laberge confirmed to Hardlines the purchase of a site in Hawkesbury, Ont., but added that groundbreaking would not begin until late 2019 at the earliest.

Similarly, one of our top October stories was the growth of Groupe BMR. It announced expansion into the Atlantic region, with the addition of 17 former Co-op Atlantic stores. In addition, the news in May that BMR is getting serious about Ontario expansion attracted a high volume of readers.

Expansion wasn’t the only side of the story, however. In November, we reported that Lowe’s Canada would close 22 “underperforming” stores, including all four RONA corporate stores in Newfoundland. However, Lowe’s support of the Ace banner in Canada had that banner announcing its 100th store here in April.

One story that stayed in the headlines through most of the year was the saga of Sears’ decline and fall. The January closure of the chain’s last Canadian stores was soon followed by the battle for its former workers’ pensions. Summer saw Sears Holdings in the U.S. slash more store locations.

Our coverage of the TIMBER MART show in Montreal was a favourite among readers in February. With the industry sustaining fewer annual buying shows, TIMBER MART brought the event back to basics as “a true buying show,” in the words of President Bernie Owens.

Other stories related to the broader political and economic currents of 2018. Against the backdrop of fevered negotiations over NAFTA, CertainTeed in the spring filed a complaint alleging that 54-inch drywall from the U.S. was flooding the Canadian market at unreasonably low prices. The Canadian International Trade Tribunal had upheld a similar grievance from CertainTeed over 48-inch drywall in 2017, but rejected the latest one.

The year ahead shows no signs of slowing down, so we’ll continue to work diligently to report the news and provide the insights to help you better understand and be profitable in Canada’s retail home improvement industry.

Marianne Thompson joins Home Hardware in top LBM merchant role

SAINT JACOBS, Ont. — Home Hardware Stores Ltd. continues to reorganize its ranks following the hire of a new president and CEO last fall. The latest addition to the company’s leadership team is Marianne Thompson in the role of vice president, merchandise LBM. The position takes effect today.

“Our number-one priority is providing our dealers with the best program for independents in the industry,” said Kevin Macnab, president and CEO of Home Hardware Stores. A relative newcomer himself, Macnab joined the dealer-owned co-op back in September 2018.

Home Hardware made a strategic reorganization of its merchandise department in 2015, which resulted in the creation of two new dedicated merchandise teams responsible for all product sourcing. However, Joel Marks had been filling both the hardlines and LBM roles since 2016. Now he will return to focusing on the hardware side as vice president, merchandise hardlines, with Thompson in the lead role on the LBM side.

Thompson began her career in retail at Lansing Buildall. She made her mark within the industry in senior executive roles with a number of vendors, most recently as senior vice president of North American sales at Jeld-Wen Windows and Doors. She has also held executive positions with Alexandria Moulding, Supplier Pipeline and Colonial Elegance.

Bricks and mortar outsell Amazon when it comes to power tools

SPECIAL REPORT — Traditional dealers in the U.S. still garner the majority of consumer spending on power tools, despite the growth of online retailing.

Recent TraQline survey data from research firm The Stevenson Co. shows that 81% of consumer power tool purchases happen in physical stores. The three U.S. retailers that draw the most consumer spending in the category are Home Depot, Lowe’s and Sears.

According to the study, nearly a quarter of the U.S. customers polled decide where to buy their circular saws, cordless drills and other similar products based on where they happen to be shopping for other items already.

The results revealed that two-thirds of power tool shoppers are men shopping by themselves. Almost two-thirds of consumers make their final power tool purchasing decision based on price.

People on the Move

Derby Building Products, manufacturer of the Novik and Tando brands of exterior cladding, has appointed Claude Dion as national account manager (retail), Canada. The new role includes developing and negotiating agreements with all key corporate and regional decision-makers to help support Novik’s brand growth. Dion will also be responsible for sales, training and merchandising activities within these accounts. He was most recently consultant and project manager for Meunier Industrial Tools.

Luc Rodier has been appointed president and CEO of Guillevin International. He joined the Montreal-based electrical and safety products wholesaler in March 2017 as COO. Prior to that, he served as executive vice president of retail at RONA. Rodier was there for 11 years and was one of the key senior executives on the turnaround team, under CEO Robert Sawyer, leading up to RONA’s takeover by Lowe’s.


“Home Hardware has significant opportunity for growth in both the LBM and hardlines categories.” —Kevin Macnab, president and CEO of Home Hardware Stores Ltd., on the hiring of veteran building materials executive Marianne Thompson to head up the company’s LBM buying function.


...that we look forward to hosting a ton of cool events for you this year? We will start with the Canada Night Reception at the Orgill Market in Orlando, Fla., on February 21. It’s free to dealers and sponsoring vendors, so click here click here to reserve your spot today!


VAUGHAN, Ont. — Toronto LBM dealer CTS Building Supplies is TIMBER MART’s newest independent member dealer. “Not only will TIMBER MART provide us with the buying power and Spancan vendor-direct programs we need to compete, but also the group support we’ve been looking for,” said Owner Ranjith Kones. CTS opened its doors in 2013 and its offerings have grown to include tools, plumbing and electrical products, lumber, flooring and insulation.

HALIFAX — Kent Building Supplies continues to expand with a focus on greenfields developments. According to the Halifax Chronicle Herald, the home improvement retailer has started construction on a new store in Lower Sackville. It will replace an existing store on the same site, at the corner of Sackville Drive and Beaver Bank Road. The old store will be taken down once the new one is completed.

SASKATOON — Federated Co-operatives reported revenues of nearly $10.7 billion for the fiscal year, up 8% from $9.8 billion the previous year. From these revenues, FCL realized record earnings of almost $1.1 billion, up from $575 million in 2017. This surpasses the previous record of $879 million in 2013 and far outstrips the 10-year average of $689 million. This year, $789 million is being returned to the more than 170 independent retail co-operatives that are FCL’s members and owners.

MONTREAL — Dollarama’s first e-commerce site is now transactional in Quebec. Home delivery and pickup from UPS counters are available to Quebec residents making bulk purchases. A flat $18 shipping fee will apply to all orders. Spokesperson Lyla Radmanovich said that a “selection” of about 1,000 items will be offered in bulk quantities on the site.

MOORESVILLE, N.C. — Lowe’s Cos. will hire some 2,000 software engineers in the coming years as it seeks to ramp up its online presence and close the gap with rival Home Depot. CEO Marvin Ellison said the company hasn’t yet determined where the new positions will be based.

MILL VALLEY, Calif. — An online job board has selected 25 top national companies to work for, and Home Depot Canada makes the list this year. created the ranking for companies with more than 1,000 employees, evaluating factors like work environment and bosses. Home Depot Canada lands at number 25, its first time on the list. While online companies take many of the top rankings (Microsoft is in first place), other big retailers include IKEA (number 18) and Best Buy (number 19).

LEIDEN, Netherlands — IKEA will open several small showrooms in cities around the world, including one in New York’s Upper East Side. Due to open in the spring, the IKEA Planning Studio is geared to urban shoppers who don’t drive. At about a quarter of the size of a standard IKEA store, the studios will lack the familiar warehouse format.

SEATTLE — The Greater Edmonton Area will be home to Amazon’s second Alberta fulfilment centre, which will be developed on a 58-acre site at Leduc County’s Nisku Business Park. Slated for completion in 2020, the facility will join Amazon’s warehouse in the hamlet of Balzac, north of Calgary. Amazon has also announced plans to expand its 113,000-square-foot Toronto Tech Hub, adding another 600 jobs in fields such as software development, machine learning, cloud computing, digital advertising and artificial intelligence.


MEDINA, Ohio — RPM International, through its Rust-Oleum group, has acquired Siamons International, provider of the Concrobium brand of non-toxic specialty mould cleaners. Ontario-based Siamons has annual net sales of approximately $20 million. The Concrobium brand will join Rust-Oleum’s specialty cleaning product portfolio, which includes Krud Kutter, Mean Green, Roto-Rooter, Whink, Jomax and Moldex.

MONTREAL — Intertape Polymer Group announced the acquisition of “substantially all” of the operating assets of Maiweave for total cash consideration of approximately $21 million. A private company based in Springfield, Ohio, Maiweave manufactures engineered coated polyolefin fabrics used in applications such as grain and salt pile covers, pit and pond liners, shelter fabrics, outdoor media and lumber mill packaging.


Sales of existing Canadian homes fell by 2.3% in November, adding to the decline in October of 1.7%. Transactions declined in just over half of all local markets, with lower activity in the Greater Toronto Area, the Greater Vancouver Area and Hamilton-Burlington offsetting increased sales in Edmonton. Actual (not seasonally adjusted) activity was down 12.6% year-over-year. (Canadian Real Estate Association)

Retail sales increased 0.3% to $51 billion in October. Higher sales at motor vehicle and parts dealers and gasoline stations were the main contributors to the gain. Excluding these two sub-sectors, retail sales declined 0.4%. Sales of building materials and garden equipment edged down 0.9% from September and 3.1% from last October. (StatCan)

Housing starts rose 3.2% in November to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.26 million, due to higher activity in apartment construction. The November rate marked a 3.6% decline from a year ago. Starts on single-family dwellings fell 4.6% from October and 13.1% from last November. (U.S. Commerce Department)

Classified Ads

Positec Canada is looking to hire a Customer Development Manager who will be responsible for both sales goals as well as product planning and product marketing. This includes gathering and prioritizing product requirements for the market, proposing product assortments that support channel management strategies and working with customers to optimize assortments.

This position is responsible for elements of product and sales in customer’s private brands. This position is also responsible for working with internal teams to manage product roadmaps that meet the customers’ expectations. The CDM will ensure that the product and marketing efforts support the company's overall strategy and sales goals through professional sales techniques and good customer service, maintaining quality relations with existing accounts, and providing sales and marketing coverage.

Hummingbird Feeder Ring - Help your customers learn how to hand feed hummingbirds .


Exclusive U.S. manufacturer of a New and Unique product is looking for representation in Canada. Looking for a distributor, wholesaler or sales reps. To view the product, please visit For more information please contact Chris Smith at

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

Privacy Policy | HARDLINES is published weekly (except monthly in December and August) by HARDLINES Inc. © 2018 by HARDLINES Inc. HARDLINES™ the electronic newsletter Phone: 416.489.3396; Fax: 647.259.8764 Michael McLarney — President & Publisher— Sigrid Forberg — Editor— David Chestnut — VP Business Development — Savannah Crawford — Events & Marketing Manager — Michelle Porter— Administration & Classifieds — Accounting — 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! 1-3 Subscribers: $455 4-6 Subscribers: $615 7-10: Subscribers: $750 After initial 10 subscribers, blocks of 10 are $285. For more information call 416-489-3396 or click here You can pay online by VISA/MC/AMEX at our secure website, by EFT, or send us money. Please make cheque payable to HARDLINES.