March 24, 2014 Volume
“It wasn’t raining when Noah built the ark.”
—Howard Ruff (American business consultant and author, 1930-)
Top buyers will share secrets at HARDLINES Breakfast
WORLD HQ, Toronto — No meeting is more sought after—yet more dreaded—than that face-to-face with a major buyer. So who better to help you prepare for these meetings than the buyers themselves?
Hardlines is proud to bring back our popular “Meet the Buyers” Breakfast Series. “Meet the Buyers” brings vendors and buyers together in a casual information session, with lots of networking time available to talk one-on-one with the buyers themselves.
This is a live, interactive event that puts vendors face-to-face with the country’s top merchants for a morning of education and networking. (Note: this is not an open to buy day. —Michael)
These top hardware and home improvement buyers, representing their respective merchandising teams, will each make a brief presentation. Vendors will learn first-hand what preparations they need to make and what expectations they should have when they sit down with these buying teams. (Click here for more information and to register for the Hardlines Meet the Buyers Breakfast.)
- Bob Sherwood, former Vice President of Merchandising, Lowe’s Canada;
- Catherine Vaugh, Category Manager, paint & décor, Chalifour Canada;
- Doug Keeling, Buyer for LBM, lawn & garden, carpet & floor coverings, and paint, Castle Building Centres Group;
- Brett Hammers, Sr. Vice President Merchandising & Marketing, Orgill.
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Colour and style highlight Cologne Hardware Fair
COLOGNE, Germany — The International Hardware Fair, held here every other year, is a lively meeting place for new ideas in products and packaging. Bright colours and imaginative designs were hallmarks of much of the product and packaging on display. HARDLINES was there to identify what’s new in hardware and home improvement products.
Everything from innovative power tools and grinding tools to multi-hued wheelbarrows, innovative tool kits, and storage boxes could be found at the show, which featured nearly 2,800 exhibitors from 50-plus countries. That includes about 500 companies presenting their products in an industrial supply section.
New abrasives program from Norton: The premium abrasives brand of Saint-Gobain featured a new merchandising concept at the show. Derk Vruwink, Saint-Gobain’s product manager for Northern Europe and South Africa, says the program will differentiate Norton’s retail and DIY lines from its pro and industrial products. The products, in four categories—coated blades, diamond blades, bonded wheels, and cutting and grinding—are being branded under the Quantum name, identified by a range of three, four, or five plus-sign symbols to indicate levels of good-better-best quality.
Ford-branded tools: A Chinese company has secured the license to use the Ford automotive brand for a range of hand and power tools, including some portable equipment. Power tools are featured in two ranges: “Basic” for DIY and “Premium” for contractors. The line got its launch two years ago in Brazil, says Songbo Li, a representative from the company, and it is now moving into Europe and Asia. The supplier said the Ford line has yet to enter Canada or the U.S. and will exhibit at the National Hardware Show in Las Vegas in May. (We did, however, find it last month at the Orgill Show in Orlando, Fla. —Michael)
Colourful tool packaging: Maxado, a company from the Netherlands, was showing a range of tool kits, and accessories storage units in bright, primary colours. The company offers turnkey programs for packaging to protect everything from power tool accessories to sensitive measuring instruments.
Balanced hand tools: Ox Group Global is a fairly new company out of Australia that sources “from all over,” says its international sales manager, Ben Howgate. The company prides itself on the quality of its tools for pros. “You’ve got to get the steel right in a hammer,” Howgate explains.
Compact compressor: Prebena was introducing a new compressor, its smallest yet. The device weighs just 10 kg, making it suitable for small jobs or hard-to-get-at places for both pros and DIYers, says Marco Strauch, Prebena’s export manager.
Greenworks battery powered chainsaw: A lithium-ion battery gives this variable-speed chainsaw 40 watts of power. “This is the future,” says Gustav Dafinās, who handles marketing for Europe. Runtimes are getting better for battery-powered tools, he says, and the torque on this chainsaw is better than gas. Greenworks is already in Canadian Tire, he adds, where that retailer is “doing a very good job for us.”
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Home Depot reveals spring-summer trends
TORONTO — Patio furniture and barbecues were the centre of attention at a spring product preview held recently by Home Depot Canada. Aaron Jarosz, Home Depot’s senior merchant for seasonal, showed the latest in patio sets, including a new line by Brown & Jordan, which has begun making a private-label line for Home Depot under its Hampton Bay brand. Next he showed deck and patio tiles made from recycled rubber tires.
KitchenAid, known for counter-top kitchenwares, now has a line of grilles that is exclusive to Home Depot. They range from three to five burners. The “Hot Red” portable grille was another outdoor cooking option: an electric grille that sells for under $200. “It really speaks to the trend of indoor-outdoor,” said Virginie Martocq, a design consultant working with Home Depot Canada. “These pieces really look like they should be indoors.”
Jarosz showed an innovation in space saving—a lawn mower that folds up and then stands on end. He pointed out that more and more products are being designed for small spaces such as condos and small balconies.
Blair Maynard, divisional online merchant at Home Depot, introduced innovations such as a barbecue with flip-down lights in the lid and an integrated garbage bin, and a new charcoal grille from Napoleon with a lid that flips sideways so the unit can fit right up against a fence or deck rail.
“We are not just lumber and drywall,” said Jennifer Hills, PR specialist for The Home Depot Canada. “We’re a whole lot more and we want to get that message out.”
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Retailers face common challenges around the globe
COLOGNE, Germany — New store formats, changing customer tastes, and trends like less private label and more emphasis on domestic production are just some of the challenges facing retailers everywhere. Messages emerging from the International Hardware Fair in Cologne, Germany, earlier this month shed light on some of those changes.
John Herbert, general secretary of the European DIY-Retail Association (EDRA), stood in front of a packed room of delegates with representatives from associations such as the North American Retail Hardware Association, International Hardware Association and the European DIY-Retail Association, as well as distributors and retailers from around the world.
Herbert, who has held prominent retail positions around the globe, including a stint with Home Depot’s Expo division in California and president of renowned German DIY chain Knauber, used his experience to share his impressions on the future of the industry.
While he cautioned against the increased challenges online purchasing will create for bricks-and-mortar businesses, he noted many current consumer trends—the desire for meaningful emotional connections; smaller, more intimate store formats; and better quality products—will likely give independent retailers a competitive advantage in the future.
“Quality brand names—both national and private label—continue to gain sales share despite bad economies,” he says, “and trends such as Made in America, Made in Britain, and Buy Local can help all retailers differentiate their assortments and gain more consumer loyalty and business.”
Herbert continued his positive message by noting an increase in the do-it-for-me consumer, who would prefer to hire out certain home improvement projects due to lack of time, skill, or financial constraints. He encouraged the retailers in the room to re-evaluate opportunities this trend could offer in installation services and contractor references.
While Herbert’s message was generally positive, he shared a few words of caution in the areas of social media and sustainability.
“Consumers are fanatical about what you do and they share it all online through social formats,” he says. “Additionally, the media will make it nearly impossible for the home improvement channels—or any retailer—to ignore consumer concerns regarding sustainability.”
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TERRITORY SALES MANAGER – ONTARIO
Loxcreen Canada Ltd., www.loxcreen.com / www.mdteam.com , is a leading supplier of floor trims, ceramic accessories and weatherstrip products in North America with head office in Mississauga, Ontario. Loxcreen products are widely known under the Shur-Trim, ProVa, and M-D brand names in the Canadian marketplace. The company is seeking a Territory Sales Manager for Ontario with experience in the retail building materials/hardware industry.
The Territory Sales Manager will call on retail Hardware and LBM locations across Ontario to promote Loxcreen products, develop new business, maintain and set up merchandising displays, provide product knowledge to store associates and work industry trade shows. Competitive compensation package offered.
To see more information on this exciting opportunity, please visit our ad on LinkedIn at http://www.linkedin.com/jobs2/view/10844147 or apply directly to firstname.lastname@example.org .
LOXCREEN CANADA LTD.
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