John Caulfield, Contributing Editor
vol. xi, #13, March 28, 2005

IN THIS ISSUE: • Major buyers seek new vendors at Hardlines seminar • Home Hardware seeks growth through its members • Can-Save re-focuses on LBM • Top retailers gather for Hardlines panel in Las Vegas • Rona, Home Depot look online for recruits • CanWel reports record earnings • Home Depot execs get more $$ • Presidents Council mounts Buying Day at NHS • Lanoga buys Bernco * * * * * *

"If you don't place big bets, it's hard to win." —Susan Kronick, (chair and CEO, Burdines)
TORONTO — We've just been notified that Canadian Tire Corp. is committing a member of their décor team to join us at the Meet the Buyers Seminar in Toronto on April 26, while Rona inc. is sending four key buyers to network at our Montreal Seminar on April 28.Normand Dumont, executive vice-president of merchandising for Rona, heads up an amazing team for our Montreal session. He's accompanied by Luc Nantel, vp merchandising for hardware, plus two merchandising directors: Joseph Piro (electrical, lighting and heating) and Suzanne Maggi (paint, décor and flooring). Also at the Montreal event will be Home Depot Canada, represented by Roger Plamondon, regional development director for Eastern Canada.The Montreal session will be introduced by Donald O'Hara, president and general manager of the Quebec association of building supply dealers, ADMACQ, who will share some of his insights into the opportunities in Canada's second-largest home improvement market.The Toronto session will be rounded out by Scott Urie, national merchandise manager for: Craftsman, Home & Electronics for Sears Canada; and John DeFranco, outdoor and seasonal merchant for Home Depot Canada. This year, we're proud to add the buying perspective of one of the country's fastest growing privately held chains: TSC Stores, based in London, Ont. Bill Wilson, merchandise director for TSC, will be on hand, accompanied by David Nisbet, president of Mutual Hardware Inc., the hardware buying group of which TSC is a member.
ST. JACOBS, Ont. — The dealer-owned buying group Home Hardware Stores Ltd. has provided more details about its recently disclosed expansion plans.In May, the co-op is scheduled to complete the addition of a 152,604-square-foot warehouse and receiving area to the north side of its corporate headquarters complex here, confirmed Paul Straus, Home's CEO, and Rob Wallace, its spokesman. And in June, the company is scheduled to complete a 73,200-square-foot expansion of its corporate offices. Those offices will allow Home to move its point-of-sale personnel to its headquarters from offices in Elmira, Ont.In 2004, Home Hardware added 134,680 square feet to its distribution center. Home's total investment in this three-phase project is $16 million. Straus said the buying group also will spend an average of $1 million per location to help 55 dealer-members expand their existing stores and yards. In many cases, Home owns the land and the buildings out of which those stores operate.Home Hardware currently supplies a national network of 1,002 dealers.
BARRIE, Ont. — Following years of tremendous growth, Can-Save, the building materials distributor, is re-thinking its strategy. The result is a sharpened focus on building materials and kitchen cabinets, following a number of forays into hardlines.Can-Save, founded by brothers Larry and Cully Koza, originated as a distributor of specialty building materials to dealers in Ontario. In its early days, it had no trucks of its own, relying entirely on existing courier services for its deliveries. Over time, it put trucks on the road, added more products, including various hardlines, and expanded its operations. Now, it's completing a three-year strategic plan that has it divesting itself of all remaining hardlines, focusing instead on three core divisions — kitchen and bath, doors, and specialty building materials.The renewed emphasis on these areas includes the re-launch of the kitchen division in the Maritimes. Under the Parkhill brand, Can-Save has expanded the product line with new door styles, increased inventory levels, and faster lead times.
TORONTO — The National Hardware Show, which will take place in Las Vegas for the second year, has once again developed a comprehensive conference program to complement the exhibits. And once again Hardlines will play an integral role in that conference.A world-class gathering of retailers will join a panel, "Global Retailers: Best Practices from Around the World," on May 18 at 3 p.m. They include John Herbert, general manager of the European association of DIY retailers; and Robert Collins, Director of International Sales and Retail Development, Ace Hardware Corp. We also have a commitment, from the leading home improvement retailer in England, Focus, to participate, with more to be announced.This innovative event will be followed by an international reception from 4:30-5:30 p.m. You can register for these incredible educational sessions by clicking here
BOUCHERVILLE, Que. — With the busy spring retail season looming, Canada's two leading home improvement retailers are turning to the web to help with their recruitment efforts.Both Home Depot and Rona inc. are voracious in their need for new staff, especially as they keep adding stores. Home Depot plans to open 19 outlets in Canada in 2005, and Rona will open up to 12, as well as expanding at least as many existing stores. Earlier this month, Home Depot Canada announced its intention to hire thousands of associates for part-time, seasonal and full-time positions, with a careers page of its own on the Home Depot website, It already employs 24,000 in this country.Rona has launched a website for job seekers who want to submit applications online (at The site will allow Rona to speed up the selection process, increasing the number of applications received and at the same time making it easier for managers to assess candidates.Over the next few weeks, Rona will recruit several hundred people to fill a wide range of positions in its all its stores, including its big box Rona Home & Garden, Rona L'entrepôt and Rona Le Régional outlets, as well as its traditional building centres.
ATLANTA — Home Depot's chairman and CEO, Robert Nardelli, received more than $29 million in total compensation in fiscal 2004, an increase of nearly 28% over his compensation the previous year.Its preliminary proxy statement, which Home Depot released to shareholders last week, revealed that Nardelli, 56, was paid $2 million in salary (the same as the previous year), but received a $5.75 million bonus; $13.88 million in the form of 200,000 shares of restricted stock; $6.36 million in "other compensation" that includes the ongoing forgiveness of a loan that Nardelli was granted when he was hired four years ago; and $1.5 million in securities and other payments.Those totals do not include 500,000 in secured options that Nardelli received, whose "potential realizable value" could range from $11.5 million to $29 million upon redemption.Home Depot was also generous to its other senior-level executives: executive vp-business development Francis Brake saw his total compensation rise 31.9% to $40.1 million; executive vp merchandising and marketing John Costello received a 30.9% bump to $41.3 million; Dennis Donovan, the company's executive vp-human resources, received a 15.1% increase to $53.2 million; and CFO Carol Tomé saw her total compensation grow by 21.9% to $39.9 million. Depot's annual shareholders meeting will be held at 10 a.m. on May 26 at The Philharmonic Center for the Arts in Naples, Fla., when shareholders will vote on a number of proposals, including a new omnibus stock incentive plan.
CHICAGO — The Presidents Council, an organization dedicated to the development of the home improvement industry, will hold a Buying Day in conjunction with the National Hardware Show in Las Vegas. The event offers a forum for vendors to have one-on-one meetings with retail buyers and import merchandising directors from leading international home improvement chains.The Buying Day is an international business-to-business program designed to provide an efficient forum for suppliers who want to expand their market share and for retailers who want to find innovative new suppliers. Because of the individual appointment format, the Buying Day is limited to 40 suppliers. Suppliers will be able to introduce their company, products & new merchandising programs, getting first-hand responses to questions about the export potential of their products. They can also discuss new merchandising programs and concepts, and conduct research with international peers.For more information about the Presidents Council's Buying Day in Las Vegas click here, or contact Steve Powell at 847-480-7171 or
See Classified Section for more information on CSA anti-counterfeiting seminar:
VANCOUVER — CanWel Building Materials Ltd. had net earnings of $10.5 million for the year ended December 31, 2004, a rise in profit of 41%, from $7.4 million a year earlier. Sales reached $598 million, an increase of 12.5% over $531 million. Both 2004 sales and net earnings were records for CanWel. EBITDA for 2004 was also a record at $22.7 million. The company's acquisition of Sodisco-Howden Group closed December 31, 2004, and did not impact CanWel's 2004 results.MISSISSAUGA, Ont. — Wal-Mart Canada has revealed it wants to open 25-30 new stores nationwide in 2005. At the same time, it announced a partnership with Evergreen, a Canadian non-profit environmental organization, to create a national fund to help community groups create or improve green space in urban areas. The result is Green Grants, a community greening program sponsored by Wal-Mart Canada and led by Evergreen that features an initial $300,000 commitment for 2005 from Wal-Mart Canada.HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. — The respective shareholders of both Sears, Roebuck and Co. and Kmart Holding Corp. have approved the merger of the two companies. More than 170 million of Sears' outstanding shares were voted, with approximately 149 million shares or approximately 88% of the votes cast, and 69% of total shares outstanding voted in favour of the merger proposal. However, more than 90% of retired Sears employees oppose the merger, fearing that their benefits may be imperilled by the deal.BOUCHERVILLE, Que. — Rona inc. has received authorization from the Canadian Competition Bureau to complete its acquisition of Totem Building Supplies Ltd., a leading home improvement retailer in Alberta. Rona has the go-ahead to take over all 16 outlets in the Totem chain. The deal was valued at $100 million, and first announced on December 21, 2004. Rona expects to complete the acquisition over the next few weeks. MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. — Bernco Inc., a building materials distributor based here, has been acquired by Lanoga Corp., one of the country's largest pro dealers, based in Washington. Bernco will become a part of the Lanoga's United Building Centers division. Over its 44-year history, Bernco has grown to become a major regional supplier of windows, doors, and related millwork products, as well as an array of value-added services, including pre-finishing and custom, pre-hung door fabrication. Lanoga is a $2.75 billion provider of building supplies that primarily serves the upper Midwest and western portions of the U.S. through five divisions. SOUTH PLAINFIELD, N.J. — The fast-growing pro dealer The Strober Organization is scheduled to move into new corporate headquarters here next month. But that's not the only change this 93-year-old company, which had been based in Brooklyn, N.Y., is making throughout its expanding operations. The pro dealer has begun changing the names of its 91 retail locations in 15 eastern states to Strober Building Supply, a process that is expected to be completed by the end of this year. Many of those yards have been operating under the banners that preceded their companies being acquired by Strober over the past several years. CLIFTON, N.J. — Jeep, the brand best known for its rugged automobiles, will have its name attached to the launch of a number of home improvement products at the upcoming National Hardware Show, being held May 16-18 in Las Vegas. The launch will include a 12-volt impact wrench and a 9-volt cordless driver, plus an LED flashlight and emergency flasher and utility light. The products have been developed by DuraPRO, based in Torrington, CT, a producer of hand and power tools. Jeep has already licensed a number of other home products, including mountain bikes, electronics and even wheelbarrows. The company expects to increase its tool offerings through the coming year. RICHMOND HILL, Ont. — Beginning April 1, Black and Decker Canada will launch a fund-raising promotion for cancer research during "Daffodil Month." The program, called "Charged Up to Make Cancer History," has B&D donating $5 to the Canadian Cancer Society for every cordless Black and Decker item sold to a maximum of $50,000. This campaign is part of a year-round relationship between the Canadian Cancer Society and Black & Decker.
After slipping before Christmas, retail sales in Canada were back up in January, increasing by 2% to $29.8 billion, says Statistics Canada. The January rise followed a 1.2% drop in December.Canadian consumers paid 2.1% more in February for the goods and services included in the Consumer Price Index basket than they did in February 2004. This increase follows a12-month rise of 2.0% in January. The CPI, excluding energy, went up by 1.6% between February 2004 and February 2005.Wholesalers in 2003 continued to experience increased sales but the rate of growth was much lower than in previous years. Operating revenue across all trade groups rose 2.4% to $535.0 billion. In 2003, wholesalers experienced moderate sales growth while their gross margin and operating profit remained nearly unchanged.
The Canadian Hardware & Housewares Manufacturers Association is conducting another Sales and Marketing Compensation Survey. The survey, which is completely confidential, has been expanded this year to include non-members. Wolf Gugler & Associates Ltd. has been engaged by CHHMA to receive and compile all survey responses to ensure confidentiality. The survey must be completed and returned by March 30, 2005. For more info, and to participate, contact Vaughn Crofford, CHHMA president, at or 416-282-0022 ext.30; or Wolf Gugler at 1-888-848-3006.

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