Hardlines Weekly Newsletter




June 25, 2012, Volume xviii, #26

“We know the human brain is a device to keep the ears from grating on one another.” —Peter De Vries (American editor and novelist, 1910-1993)



Sexton Group: looking good for 2012

WINNIPEG — Steve Buckle is optimistic about the rest of the year. His dealers, all 285 of them, members of the Sexton Group, says 2011 ended on a positive note, despite a slow start to that year. “The second half of the year was dynamite,” he says. He figures his dealers in total were up about 5% for the year. The biggest negatives came from dealers in larger urban markets such as Calgary, which felt the brunt of a slower economy.

Buckle, who is vp and general manager of Sexton, says his group is up about 18% year-to-date over last year. Some of that is growth from existing dealers, fuelled in part by some increases in commodity prices, and some of it is attributable to the contribution by new dealers.

Many of those dealers are being added in Ontario, a region that Buckle says was under-represented in recent years. “We’re pounding it out in Ontario,” he says confidently. “We’ve got a good following up and down the [Highway] 401, including GSDs [gypsum supply dealers] and yards, including one up in Timmins.”

But whether in Ontario or elsewhere across the country, Sexton Group’s recruitment efforts are guided by good business sense. “We want to make sure we bring people on who have really good credit and we want to make sure we bring people on who can really add value to the group.”

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Leaders will share stories at Hardlines Conference

WORLD HEADQUARTERS, TORONTO — The business of retail is also the story of people. The people behind the companies that make this industry so healthy and so dynamic have much to share in personal terms. And those personal terms are the ones by which delegates at the upcoming Hardlines Conference will connect with speakers in the conference›s “Profiles in Leadership” series.

The program, introduced last year, proved to be a high point of the 2011 conference. This year, two C-level executives will share their personal stories with delegates.

Paul Straus, president and CEO, Home Hardware Stores Ltd., has worked for Home Hardware since its founding in 1964. In 1999 he was appointed vice-president and chief executive officer. At the company’s annual shareholders’ meeting in April, 2010 he was appointed president and CEO.

Since taking over two years ago, Straus has quietly made his personal mark on the company felt more strongly than ever. HARDLINES is honoured that he will share his story with us at this year’s conference.

Dennis Nykoliation has an impressive cv as a building materials executive for some of this country’s leading brands. His titles have included president and CEO of CanWel Building Materials, president and general manager of Black & Decker Canada (in fact, his business plan for managing this brand became a university case study!), president of GSW Building Products, and CEO Cambridge Towel Corp.

Nykoliation is a world-class presenter who mixes humour with a strong business message that reflects his many years on the front lines of home improvement retailing.

The 17th Annual Hardlines Conference will be held Oct. 25-26 at the Toronto Sheraton Airport Hotel and Conference Centre. Once again this year, it will feature the Outstanding Retailer Awards Gala on the evening of Oct. 25, presented by Hardware Merchandising. For more information about the entire event, click here .

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Canadian online shopping site goes live

  TORONTO ― Drew Green, CEO of Shop.ca , says Canadians have access to online sites now, but the U.S.-based companies offer limited selection, high shipping fees – and often long waits. His company wants to change all that.

Shop.ca went live early in June, giving Canadians the ability to choose from more than 15 million products online. That assortment includes a strong range of garden, housewares, kitchen appliances, and home electronics, plus power tools and lighting. The company has alliances with manufacturers (Black & Decker, Salton) and bricks-and-mortar retailers (Sears Canada).

Green says the company has both the intellectual capital and financial backing to make the new site a winner. His background includes senior executive positions at a mobile marketing company, and at Shop.com and DoubleClick, which was eventually purchased by Google.

Shop.ca also has near-celebrity status support: futurist Don Drummond and Rana Florida, CEO of Creative Class Group.

“We’ve signed and integrated 15.3 million products,” says Green. “We’re creating the largest Canadian site in history.”

(Drew Green is the latest executive to sign on as a keynote speaker at our 17th Annual Hardlines Conference, Oct. 25-26. Click here for the full lineup of amazing speakers!)

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Home Depot identifies growth categories

ATLANTA ― Talking recently to a group of investors and analysts, Craig Menear, evp merchandising for The Home Depot, identified product categories that are generating growth for the giant retailer.

At the top of the list were lighting and blinds, which will get marketed strongly both in-store and online, as these two platforms become the twin engines of Home Depot’s execution. Menear admitted that the company had in fact lost market share in these categories in recent years, but he’s banking on increased investment in better quality products, coupled with broader assortments available online, to drive sales. (Thank heavens: those Home Depot track lights at the World HQ are held together with masking tape and binder wire! ―Editor)

Other areas with great potential include LED technology, which is driving sales in lighting; water saving advances in faucets; and catering to an aging population, in a category he called independent living, with everything from safety bars and shower stools to home security and personal safety.

Power tools is another important category. “Home Depot owns the market share in this overall and will work to defend this position,” Menear said. Lithium power technology is adding pizazz to this sector, he noted.

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Walmart CEO: invest in your people

  TORONTO ― Shelley Broader is the president and CEO of Walmart Canada. She oversees 333 stores with 85,000 employees, who serve 1.1 million customers daily, supplied by more than 5,000 vendors and service providers.

Despite the sheer size of the company, Broader insists that the most important thing one can do in business is be a good leader. “You’ve got to say, ‘I want to be an incredible employer for my associates.’”

Talking recently to delegates at the annual convention of the Retail Conference of Canada, she urged them to make their own commitment to cultivating employees. “Building talent from within is one of the most rewarding jobs in retail,” she said emphatically.

Given that the retail sector has trouble attracting and keeping good people, Broader turned around the old notion that new hires must prove themselves to management. “Nowadays, it’s about whether you’re good enough to work for, not whether they are good enough for you.”

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Master Lock

Master Lock
Retail Accounts Executive

Master Lock is currently seeking a Retail Accounts Executive to fulfill the following responsibilities:

The Retail Accounts Executive will be responsible for sales to strategic Retail National Accounts. Planning, developing, and full category management including implementation of ongoing specialized sales/marketing programs for these accounts and market segments, while also supporting the development and execution of corporate sales/marketing programs for the Retail business. Efforts will be directed toward the goal of developing collaborative customer relationships, account strategies, and business expansion.


  • A strong understanding of the retail market, along with at least 3 years of successful sales and marketing experience with large retail national accounts, preferably with Canadian Home Center channels.
  • Experience should include the development and implementation of merchandising programs with customers in the Canadian Home Center class of trade.
  • Education equivalent to college diploma or University degree required — prefer sales, marketing or business administration.

Submit Cover Letter, Resume and Salary Expectations to: Teresa Medeiros; tmedeiro@mlock.com


  • Marketing professional with over 10 years experience looking to secure a new full-time position. view this resumé Back to top
  • Fluently bilingual, highly motivated Business Development Professional with excellent strategic and operational capabilities. view this resumé Back to top
  • A Sales Professional with over twenty years of experience.view this resumé Back to top
  • Experienced District Manager with a proven track record with several national chains. view this resumé Back to top
  • A relationship builder who passionately sells for profit through quality service view this resumé Back to top
  • A conscientious, highly motivated manager with a results-oriented track record in developing new business. view this resumé Back to top
  • An experienced merchandising executive possessing passion, vision, and a strategic approach to delivering bottom-line. view this resumé Back to top
  • Senior sales/marketing leader with experience in all classes of trade wishing new HARDLINES career. view this resumé Back to top
  • Very Experienced Business Unit Manager, great passion for generating sales and building relastionships.view this resumé Back to top
  • Worked through my career within the manfucaturer, wholesale and consumer goods industries. view this resumé Back to top
  • Senior Sales Manager with vast experience in retail and wholesale sales growth in Canada. view this resumé Back to top

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