Canada’s electronic news service for the home improvement industry March 12, 2001 Volume vii, #10

Michael McLarney, Editor & Publisher

Phone: 416.489.3396

Fax: 416.489.6154

email: *  *  *  *  *  * IN THIS ISSUE: * Costco to trim Western office and open new national office * Réno-Dépôt continues Ontario expansion with newest Building Box * Home Depot in no hurry to open Expo stores here * Residential building intentions surge in January *  *  *  *  *  * "HARDLINES INDUSTRY REPORT: Home Improvement Retailing in Canada” is a comprehensive overview of the size of the market, how many stores are out there, who the key players are, their market position, the size and growth of the big boxes, the trends in housing and renovations, market trends – and much, much more! 120-plus pages filled with charts, graphs and photos. Regular price: $945, only $750 for subscribers! You can order this incredible book online: or contact Nancy Wright at; phone: 416-489-3396 for more information. *  *  *  *  *  * COSTCO WILL CENTRALIZE NON-FOOD BUYING IN NEW OTTAWA LOCATION Costco Canada Inc. has confirmed it will combine its two buying offices, one in Burnaby, BC and the other in Montréal, to a new location in Ottawa. The move will roll together the non-food hardlines buying functions under Gerry Lieben, currently vice-president, merchandising in the East, who will head up the non-food side for the entire country. While the chain of command for the new office has not been finalized, some people and ordering will likely move into the new Ottawa location by late July, with an effective start date for that office of September 1, 2001. The Burnaby location will continue as a regional re-order office for non-food hardlines, similar to Costco’s system in the U.S., headed by a regional general merchandising manager. But that department will shrink from the current 80 staff to about 15 or 17. Meanwhile, food buying will remain intact in Burnaby, operating as both a buying and re-ordering office. ______________________________________________ BUILDING BOX OPENS THIRD STORE, 13 MORE PLANNED A big box opening in Brampton, ON last Wednesday constitutes the latest step in Réno-Dépôt’s expansion in Ontario. That expansion involves a $350 million investment and the construction of at least 15 Building Box stores in the province, the majority of them in the Greater Toronto Area, as well as the Ottawa Capitol Region. The first two opened late last year, in Scarborough and Cambridge. The Brampton store is in a rapidly growing satellite community of Toronto, where Home Depot has two stores already and where Rona will open its own new-concept big box in a couple of weeks. The Building Box is 120,000 sq.ft. in size, plus a 30,000-sq.ft. garden centre. Other sites include Mississauga and London. Both are expected to open this year, says Yves Archambault, president and CEO of Réno-Dépôt. The next phase of Réno-Dépôt’s expansion will take it across the country. Archambault won’t say exactly where, but insists the wheels are in motion. “We are looking in other markets and we’re already landed banking in those markets,” he says. “We see having about 33 to 35 big boxes in total in Canada.” Meanwhile, the company continues to open Réno-Dépôt stores in its home province of Québec. A new site in Beauport had its soft opening last Wednesday, as well. The hard opening is March 14. Another store will go into the Ste-Dorothée area of Laval at the end of May, followed by Sherbrooke in the Fall. ______________________________________________ NO CANADIAN PLANS FOR EXPO STORES IN NEAR FUTURE Home Depot is not expected to launch its EXPO stores in Canada anytime soon, says the newest addition to the EXPO executive team in the U.S., John Herbert. ''There are no plans for Canada that I know of,'' he admitted in an exclusive interview with Hardlines. Home Depot has aggressive expansion plans for its upscale décor-oriented retail format. However, Canadian infiltration is not on the books yet. While both Home Depot CEO Arthur Blank and Canadian president Annette Verschuren have agreed it's only a matter of time, that time will be later rather than sooner – certainly not within the next year at least. A veteran of European home improvement retailing, Herbert spent the last 17 years as president of Knauber, an innovative retailer in Germany. He joined on with Home Depot as president of the Western division of Expo Design Centers at the beginning of the year. He works out of Orange, California. ______________________________________________ COMPANIES IN THE NEWS Réno-Dépôt management resumed activities at its Point-Claire warehouse store on March 7, after over a month of closure due to labour conflicts. The strike was terminated after an agreement in principle was reached between the union and Réno-Dépôt.

Rona Inc. has just ratified a new six-year collective agreement with the 250 unionized employees at its distribution centre in Boucherville, QC. This new labour contract, approved over the past few days by 88% of the members of Local 1999, which is affiliated with the Teamster's Union, brings an end to many months of negotiations between the parties.

The Hudson’s Bay Co. posted results for the year ending January 31, 2001, including a 37% increase in earnings. Sales and revenue grew 3.1% to $7.5 billion from $7.29 billion the previous year. Both of the company's main retail banners posted improvements: The Bay’s sales were 7.6% higher than last year, while sales for Zellers reached $4.64 billion, up 0.9%. Canadian Forest Products Ltd. (Canfor) has signed a memorandum of understanding with DynaMotive Technologies Co. to develop commercial applications for BioOil in the forest industry. BioOil technology enables the conversion of sawmill wood residue into clean burning fuel, which would increase Canfor’s energy self-sufficiency and reduce its greenhouse gas emissions. Orgill Distributors launched new e-commerce initiatives at its recent dealer show in Memphis, TN. The latest developments involve a “mall site,” a forum for Orgill’s dealer customers to interact with other sites, including vendors’ own sites. Drop shipment orders can be placed directly through the vendors’ websites, with the order then routed through Orgill’s credit department. Costco Wholesale Co. posted a 3% profit decline for its second quarter ended February 18. Sales for the same period were up 7% to US$8.16 billion from US$7.61 billion last year. The company plans to open 14 to 16 new stores before the end of its 2001 fiscal year on September 2. ______________________________________________ CANADIAN STOCK WATCH COMPANY            52-WEEK HIGH            52-WEEK LOW            CLOSE (FRI.) Canadian Tire            24.90                15.05                20.75                  22.70 Canfor               19.80                7.65                 9.75                     9.90 Goodfellow            12.55                8.50                    8.75                    9.25 Home Depot            70.00                34.68                40.01                  44.52 Hudsons Bay            19.10                12.40                18.25                  17.25 Lowe’s              67.25                34.25                54.58                  62.47 Sears Canada            41.00                19.60                24.80                  22.40 Taiga Forest            14.20                6.80                    7.40                    7.40 West Fraser            38.00                21.00                30.50                  34.74 ______________________________________________ “The more I want to get something done, the less I call it work.” – Richard Bach (American author) _______________________________________________


Following the announced retirement of Wolf Gruber as president of Ace Hardware Canada, Rob Collins, formerly director of sales, has been named to oversee the Canadian operations until a replacement for Gruber is found. Collins will report to Paul Ingevaldson, vice-president international and technology for Ace in Oak Brook, Ill. The move becomes effective at the end of March. (905-475-1188) John Rankin, formerly vice-president dealer relations at Canadian Tire Corp., has left the company effective last Thursday. The move is reported to be a mutual decision on the part of Rankin and the company. A search is under way both internally and externally for a replacement. (416-480-3000) _______________________________________________ MARKET INDICATORS

Canadian housing starts dipped 8.6% for the month of February, a decline considered normal for the mid-winter season. According to analysts, however, the market is still poised for a boom due to recent interest rate cuts and rising disposable incomes. Supporting this optimism is $3.8 billion worth of building permits issued in January. Single and multi-family dwellings represented 53% of all permits issued for the month.

Building permits recorded a healthy gain in January, up 21.5% over December 2000. The gains came from both residential (+22.0%)and non-residential sectors (+20.9%). Building permits for single-family dwellings rose 16.2% to $1.4 billion in January, following a 6.4% decline in December. Multiple dwelling intentions jumped 37.5% to $608 million. The strength of building intentions in January reflects a surge in the housing market for the same month, when starts rose 20.1%. January’s total was also up over January 2000 by 13.2%. Regionally, residential building permits were up the most in Québec (+32.2% to $379 million), and Ontario (+30.0% to $988 million). Nova Scotia was the only province to post a decline (-1.9% to $34 million)

Retail sales in the U.S. slowed in February due to a drop in consumer confidence and ensuing reluctance to buy spring merchandise. High energy prices, job cuts and volatile stock markets caused a 4½-year low in consumer confidence. The end of winter was also cited as a factor in this decrease, particularly for specialty stores. Kmart Corp. said its sales rose 3.3 %, while value-priced retailer Kohl's Corp. reported a strong 7.3% increase. In contrast, Sears, Roebuck and Co. reported a 2% decline in sales. Costco Wholesale Co. posted sales up 7%.

______________________________________________ NOTED ... Rona Cashway’s Brampton store, across the street from the newly-opened Building Box, is offering a customer appreciation sale from March 14th to 24th. This sale precedes the closing of the store and the transfer of staff and inventory to the new Rona Home Solutions store, which will open on March 28 in Brampton. ______________________________________________ * * * * *HARDLINES MARKETPLACE* * * * Just $16 per line. Contact Eugenia Canas at 416.489.3396 or email: ______________________________________________


As a national leader in woodworking products, we require an enthusiastic professional Sales Agent for Atlantic Canada.

The ideal candidate has three years of detailed field sales experience in the hardware industry, preferably in Atlantic Canada. A background in power tools is an asset.

If you are looking for a progressive organization and a competitive compensation package, please forward your resumé highlighting your experience and knowledge of your marketplace, c/o Hardlines, Box #104; fax: 416-489-6154; email include box # on resumé). We thank all applicants in advance and advise that only candidates selected for an interview will be contacted. *  *  *  *  *  *

CUSTOMER SERVICES/SALES GENIUS: is Canada's first retail industry-specific jobsite. An ambitious, flexible, easy-to-use job board, it will provide an excellent, targeted opportunity for retailers across Canada to post available jobs and search our retail-specific database of qualified retail employees from part-time hourly associates through to presidents. It will provide job seekers with a quick, efficient, and confidential way to explore the best retail positions in Canada.

This new enterprise requires an individual from the Home Improvement or Home Furnishings area with expertise in selling this valuable service as well as providing breathtaking customer service to our growing and existing clientele. All contact is over the telephone or over the Internet from our Vancouver offices.

Experience in the home improvement or home furnishings area of the Canadian retail industry is a must, as is good computer competence, and a proven ability to sell. Base salary plus commission could provide a VERY lucrative income to the right individual.

For more information, please contact Debbie Ellis, customer service manager at, fax: 604-269-2822; phone: 1-866-442-0044; email:; mail to 306, 2309 West 41st Avenue, Vancouver, BC V6M 2A3. More details on the website: *  *  *  *  *  * TERRITORY SALES REPRESENTATIVE: Porter-Cable Delta, a recognized provider of quality woodworking products worldwide, currently requires an enthusiastic professional as Territory Sales Rep – Southwestern Ontario. A resourceful individual with the ability to organize and communicate successfully, you’ll be directing the operations for your territory and meeting strategic objectives. As a high achiever, you have three years’ field sales experience in the hardware industry, machinery knowledge, and computer literacy. You have a valid driver’s licence and a diploma/degree in Business. A background in power tools is desirable. If you are looking for a progressive organization and a competitive compensation package, please send your resumé to Human Resources: 519-836 9352; 505 Southgate Drive, P.O. Box 848, Guelph, ON  N1H 6M7. We thank all applicants in advance and advise that only candidates selected for an interview will be contacted. *  *  *  *  *  *


A well established company requires an experienced, energetic person to manage the marketing of its retail product lines. Experience and understanding of all aspects of the retail hardlines - Multi SKU - business, combined with a strong sales background, is a must. Applicants must be graduates of a sales and marketing program, have above average computer skills and possess excellent written and verbal communication skills.

Send or fax resumé to the attention of Luann Busch, Personnel, Canada Cordage Inc., 50 Ottawa St. S., Kitchener, ON  N2G 3S7; fax: 519-745-4290.

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The Mibro Group, a leading supplier of hardware, chain, chain accessories and power tool accessories based in Scarborough, ON, seeks an individual to manage one of its largest Canadian accounts, a major home centre chain.

Working in our corporate office and reporting to the Vice President of Sales, this individual will be responsible for the sales and overall customer service of their accounts.  In meeting agreed upon sales objectives and constantly looking for ways to increase, enhance and expand Mibro's business, the National Account Manager will work with the sales and marketing teams to collect accurate competitive information and support Mibro’s sales initiatives.

The ideal candidate will have a proven track record of sales in non-branded products, a personable approach to selling, high self-motivation and a competitive nature. Computer skills including the use of Excel, strong business writing capabilities and knowledge of hardware products are also important.

We offer a competitive compensation and benefits package. If you are interested in this position and work well in a high-energy environment, please send your resumé and wage requirements by March 7, 2001 to: The Mibro Group, 111 Sinnott Road, Toronto, ON  M1L 4S6; email:; fax: (416) 285-9623.

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Ace Hardware Canada Ltd., a world leader in hardware supply and distribution with operations in Markham, Brantford and Calgary, has an immediate opening at its head office for the position of Buyer – Hardware.

As the successful candidate, you will have five or more years buying experience in the wholesale hardware or LBM industry; a solid record of continued accomplishments with enhanced negotiating and product management skills; and an understanding of computer systems as they relate to the role of buying today. In addition to buying expertise, you will need superior communication and customer service skills to ensure that our customers remain your first priority.

Ace Canada offers a competitive compensation package and career potential. Qualified candidates should send their resumé, including salary history/expectations, to: Human Resources, Ace Hardware Canada Ltd., 80 Micro Court, 3rd Floor; Markham, ON  L3R 9Z5; e-mail:; fax: 905-475-2721.

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Royal International, a supplier of quality hand tools, organizational products, rope and cordage under the brand names KC Pro, Kapro, Crawford and Lehigh, requires two experienced professional sales representatives. One position is for Ontario, based in the GTA; the other is in Québec, based in either Montréal or Québec City.

Qualified candidates will be organized high achievers, with computer literacy and sales experience in the hardware industry. If interested in joining a fast growing company that offers a competitive compensation package, please send resumé in strictest confidence, Attention: V.P. Sales and Marketing; e-mail; fax 514-735-8702. ______________________________________________ HARDLINES™ the electronic newsletter

Phone: 416.489.3396; Fax: 416.489.6154

Michael McLarney, Editor & Publisher: Eugenia Canas, Assistant Editor: Beverly Allen, Marketing Manager: Nancy Wright, Circulation Manager: Hardlines is published weekly (except monthly in December and August) by McLARNEYCOM 542 Mount Pleasant Rd., Suite 302, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M4S 2M7 © 2001 by Michael McLarney. ______________________________________________ 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! ______________________________________________ Subscription: $199+$13.93 GST = $212.93 (or $29.85 HST = $228.85) per year (GST #13987 0398 RT). You can pay online by VISA at our secure website or send us money. Please make cheque payable to McLarneyCom.