vol. viii, #28 July 15, 2002

* ILDC remains eyes new membership opportunities * TruServ unfolds repositioning program, rebates for dealers * Home Depot announces new sites in smaller markets * North West forms alliance with Giant Tiger  

"I can sympathize with everything, except suffering." - Oscar Wilde (1854-1900)


Ajax, ON — Since losing its largest member to Rona last year, the Independent Lumber Dealers Co-operative continues to search quietly for new dealers to add to its elite ranks. The buying group traditionally operates with a maximum of about 24 members, and the roster currently stands at 22. "We might have room for one or two more," says ILDC general manager Andrew Battagliotti. And given the gap in Western representation left by Revy's departure, the search continues in the West, a search that includes talking to members of other groups. "With Revy no longer in the picture, we needed Western involvement and that hasn't changed," he says, even after the addition of three new dealers: Totem in Calgary, McMunn & Yates in Brandon, MB and J&H Builders Warehouse in Saskatoon, SK. Given the strength of residential construction across the country, Battagliotti says his members report consistently healthy sales for the first half of this year. "Construction has been going forward full blast and our guys are really busy."
Winnipeg — Talks with dealers to establish benchmarks for selling to the changing Canadian consumer have been completed by TruServ Canada Co-operative Inc. The 17 workshops, involving 95 dealers, marked the end of phase one of TruServ's X-Sell Program. Now its time for action planning, says Ray Falkenberg, vice-president business development and marketing. The program includes three key initiatives for the dealers. The first is a repositioning program, to help them increase flagging sales with a "back-to-basics" approach to store operations. The repositioning is built on the tenet that True Value stores are "your convenient total hardware store." The program gives dealers tools to strengthen or re-establish their position as local, community involved merchants that offer know-how to guide customers through convenience "fix-up" purchases. A financing package has been developed to help dealers underwrite the costs of revamping the store. Falkenberg notes that a number of the co-op's key members have bought into the program already. The purpose, of course, is to reposition the store and boost its revenue. When that happens, dealers involved in the program participate in a rebate program that awards incremental sale increases. "It becomes a pretty lucrative package for them," says Falkenberg.
Winnipeg, MB — Under a "master franchising agreement" with Ottawa-based Giant Tiger Stores Ltd., North West Co. will roll out a series of Giant Tiger junior discount emporiums through Western Canada. The deal follows a year-long test of two stores; their success has convinced management to continue the plan. North West foresees a positive customer response to Giant Tiger's discount fashions, food, home decor and seasonal products. The first of the new stores will open in Thompson, in a 27,000-sq.ft. former Safeway location, and will be the first Giant Tiger in Manitoba.
Steve Hall has left Home Depot Canada, where he was divisional merchandise manager, to join Zellers as vice-president, home and leisure. He reports to Bruce Dinan, senior vice-president, merchandising. (905-792-4400) Adolph Wolfe, manager of the Home Hardware Building Centre in Tillsonburg, ON, passed away July 7 following a brief illness. A former chair of the board with the Lumber and Building Materials Association, he leaves his wife Marge and two children. The following changes have been made at CanWel Distribution's Brampton customer service centre: Ron Gordon has been appointed dealer account manager for Eastern Ontario. Prior to joining CanWel, he spent four years with Faber Castell as a territory manager … Tim Victor has been named key accounts manager, Ontario region. He will be responsible for growing flooring products with key flooring and underlay accounts in the Greater Toronto Area … Kelly MacLean is now inside sales representative focusing on flooring sales and promotion. MacLean was formerly an assistant manager with Central Fairbank LumberJeff Boutilier is now inside sales representative focusing on dealer accounts. He was formerly with Jas Canada. (905-457-8500) At Pyrene Corp., Carol Heller has been appointed vice-president residential products, Kidde Safety Canada, effective immediately. Her experience in the consumer packaged goods industry includes stints with Dimplex North America and Danby. (905-940-8080) David Day has left his post as manager of public relations and communications at Home Depot's Canadian division after four years there. He is joining Temple Scott, a public affairs company based in Toronto and Ottawa, as vice-president.
The Atlantic Building Supply Dealers Association has issued an information circular on Nova Scotia's new paint recycling program. Effective June 1, leftover paint can be taken to "Enviro-Depots" throughout the province at no charge to consumers. Dealers, however, must now ensure that paint brands sold in their stores are properly registered under the program.
Canadian Tire 33.15 18.50 32.51
Canfor 11.70 8.08 11.05
Emco 12.77 3.71 11.75
Goodfellow 13.99 8.00 13.99
Home Depot 52.60 28.40 29.09
Hudson's Bay 20.10 12.50 13.46
Lowe's Cos. 49.99 24.99 40.18
Sears Canada 25.10 12.50 22.50
Sodisco-Howden 2.20 0.75 1.45
Taiga Forest 12.75 7.49 13.20
West Fraser 44.42 26.13 40.41
AWARD and Castle Building Centres have scheduled their board of directors' meetings around the Summer Convention of the Atlantic Building Supply Dealers Association, which will be held in St. John's August 15-17, 2002. Some 200 delegates are expected to attend. London Drugs is making its first foray into Saskatchewan with two planned openings in Saskatoon. The first, a 35,000-sq.ft. store, will open on Eighth Street East on August 13. The second is scheduled for completion in the Winter of 2002, and will be located in the Lawson Heights Mall on Primrose Drive. London Drugs' existing 55 stores are all in British Columbia and Alberta. Home Depot's Canadian division has confirmed some new locations: Thunder Bay and North Bay, ON and Lethbridge, AB are all scheduled to open sometime in 2003, while Prince George, BC is "a possibility," says Home Depot Canada prez Annette Verschuren. In addition, rumours are heating up about Moncton, NB again, with a possible late Fall 2002 opening. I'll let you know when I hear more. Independent bank Rothschild & Cie has ruled that British retailer Kingfisher's £3.2 billion takeover bid for French DIY chain Castorama is fair. The ruling gives the go-ahead for Kingfisher's proposal to pay 67 euros a share for the 45% of the French group it does not already own. Castorama, owner of B&Q in Britain and Brico Depot in France, is the largest DIY retailer in Europe, with 549 stores. Kingfisher took a 55% stake in 1998 through a merger of Castorama with Kingfisher's B&Q. Canfor Corp. has filed a statement of claim as part of its claim against the U.S. government under Chapter 11 of NAFTA. Canfor alleges that U.S. treatment of Canadian softwood lumber suppliers during the dispute was "arbitrary, unreasonable and discriminatory," and claims Canfor was particularly subject to such treatment. Claiming it's cheaper to rent than buy, Home Depot has announced the installation of its 500th tool rental centre. There are now tool rental centres in nearly 40% of Home Depot's 1,400 stores, which the retailer hopes will help the chain deepen its relationship with contractors. The U.S. feds have slapped a lawsuit on three companies involved in the sale of a weed trimmer head, the Weed Wizard, one of which was responsible for the death of a three-year-old girl. Meanwhile, the product has been outright banned elsewhere. The companies named are Gardener Inc., U.S. Home And Garden Inc. and Weed Wizard Acquisition Corp. A survey of 14 Home Depot stores in Michigan found that up to 55% of items lacked individual price tags, violating the state's pricing laws. Now the company must pay US$500,000 in fines. It must pay half now, but the rest will be waived in 2004 if state inspectors find that Home Depot has complied with the law.
Housing starts in Canada slipped 0.6% seasonally adjusted in June to 202,100 units from 203,300 units in May, according to CMHC. Urban singles fell 4.4% to 102,500 units seasonally adjusted, from 107,200 in May, while urban multiple starts rose 5.0%. Estimated rural starts remained at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 25,900 units. Housing costs in Canada continued to rise in May, says Stats Canada. The index of contractors' selling prices increased 4.2% from May 2001. The largest monthly advance was in Victoria (+3.4%), due to material costs, high demand and low inventory. Kitchener-Waterloo followed with an increase of 2.2% for May, due to material costs and a skilled labour shortage.
"Saskatchewan is an important part of Western Canada, and we have been looking forward to joining the Saskatoon community for a long time." - Wynne Powell, president and COO of London Drugs, in a prepared release, on the first of two openings in Saskatoon.
The Spring issue of Hardlines Quarterly Report, available now, features: The Three Billion Dollar Club — find out which home improvement retailers dominate the Canadian scene...Who's winning the big box war? Big box expansion in Canada..... CLICK HERE to find out more!
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