Hardlines Weekly Newsletter
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March 25, 2013, Volume xix, #12

“We leave behind a little bit of ourselves/wherever we have been.”
Edmond Harecourt (French poet, 1856-1941)

RONA appoints grocery exec as its new CEO

BOUCHERVILLE, QC — RONA inc. has named Robert Sawyer as president and CEO, effective April 2013. With a 30-year background in grocery, he was most recently executive vice president and COO at Metro inc. Sawyer is expected to bring experience in distribution to RONA’s continued implementation of its new transformation plan.

Acting CEO Dominique Boies, who has been instrumental in forging the new business plan for RONA, will continue in his role as executive vice president and CFO, working with Sawyer and remaining active on the company’s management committee.

The appointment of Sawyer, with his background in operations and distribution, reflects RONA’s stated intention to re-focus on its wholesaler roots, supplying its network of corporate and independent stores.

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RONA: meet the new boss

SPECIAL REPORT — The appointment of former Metro exec Robert Sawyer as CEO of RONA reflects the company’s need for a strong bilingual operator with strong Quebec roots.

According to our editor, Michael McLarney, who spoke about the new appointment recently on BNN, the recruitment of someone from the outside sends a clear message to shareholders that RONA wants to move in a new direction. (Dominique Boies, evp and CFO of RONA, who had been serving as interim CEO and was a contender for the top job, had been hired by former CEO Robert Dutton.)

The hire also reflects RONA’s predilection for hiring from the grocery and consumables sectors. However, the differences with grocery, including higher turnover and higher margins, means Sawyer will have a new set of challenges working in the home improvement sector. These include the need to harmonize the various systems operationally that RONA has acquired through the years.

Some observers see this latest move as strictly a way to get Lowe’s back to the table following a failed takeover bid last summer. In fact, RONA could fit with the kinds of growth Lowe’s has achieved elsewhere. “Lowe’s has been trying to integrate the kind of business that RONA represents,” McLarney says, citing the acquisition of Australian wholesaler Danks, through a joint venture with Aussie retail giant Woolworths.

“Everything is on the table, but RONA has a good future on its own, as well, regardless of whether Lowe’s comes back to the table, and it just needed some new blood to make that happen.”

(Click here to see the full interview on BNN.)

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E-retailing conference: eye-opener for delegates

TORONTO — Last week, the first-ever Hardlines Canadian e-Retailing Conference delved into the benefits of e-commerce and the challenges and opportunities it presents for bricks-and-mortar stores.

The event, which drew vendors and retailers alike from Canada’s home improvement industry, struck a balance between new and established online marketplaces. eBay Canada’s Andrea Stairs and Shop.ca’s Drew Green both spoke about what makes their e-retailing platforms unique—and provided solid guidelines for both retailers and brands that wish to grow capacity online. Shop.ca is a new kid to the block but provided valuable insight about how this start-up is on the path to becoming one of Canada's largest multi-merchant marketplaces and the challenges of getting there in the Canadian market.

Andrea Stairs surprised everyone by explaining that eBay has shifted with the growth of e-retailing to now mainly offering fixed price new goods, an evolution from eBay’s roots of an auction site with used products. eBay and shop.ca gave a timely look at what is involved in entering and thriving in ecommerce.

To round out the event, Robert Scott from PwC presented on PwC’s latest research about the myths of online shopping, providing insight into where consumers are really spending their money. Surprisingly shoppers are still entering bricks and mortar stores. Each speaker presented e-retailing as a complement, not a competitor, to traditional retail.

(If you missed the Hardlines e-Retailing Conference, worry not! You can purchase the full half-day conference on video plus the PowerPoints of the speakers by clicking here.)

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Proprietary programs highlight latest TIM-BR MART show

TORONTO — The third annual TIM-BR MART National Buying Show was held at the Toronto Congress Centre this past weekend, with an enhanced focus on proprietary product lines for TIM-BR MART dealers.

The show featured 261 suppliers, including 130 hardware and more than 100 building materials vendors, spread across almost 100,000 square feet at the Toronto Congress Centre. It played host to about 450 TIM-BR MART and Ace dealers and managers from across the country.

One highlight of the show was the full launch of Ace’s Clarke + Kensington paint line. The brand, exclusive to Ace dealers (Ace is licensed in Canada by TIM-BR MART Group and is available as a co-brand for TIM-BR MART dealers), is designed as a premium offering, alongside another new house brand, Blue Line, a mid-range line which will be available through Chalifour to all independents.

These lines reflect an increasing emphasis by Ace, which is being picked up by TIM-BR MART Group in Canada, to carry more house brands. According to TIM-BR MART’s Randy Martin, vp of merchandise, the company will pick up another six or seven proprietary lines from Ace in the near future. TIM-BR MART is also developing more of its own lines, including a new TIM-BR MART-branded paint applicator line that was introduced at the show.

“We’re really trying to sell more programs and access more real estate that will benefit our customers, rather than sell just products,” says Martin.

Other highlights of the show included a new LED lighting line, a “Winter Wonderland” program of Christmas products, a new line of animal control products, and an expanded plumbing fixtures program.

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Lowe’s is making big sales on the internet

A year ago, Lowe's, the world's second largest home improvement chain, vowed to increase its Internet sales. It succeeded, perhaps beyond its wildest expectations.

Online sales during 2012 increased more than 50% and reached an estimated total of $757.5 million, according to Internet Retailer, the trade magazine serving web retailing.

In 2011, Lowe’s ranked 47th on the magazine’s list of the top 500 web retailers, several spots behind Home Depot, which at that time had recorded several hundred million dollars more in sales than Lowe’s.

One reason for Lowe’s big sales increase: the retailer’s site provides access to approximately 600,000 items, organized by department and category, available to both consumers and ICI (industrial-commercial-institutional) trades.

Lowe’s site ( www.lowes.com ) also provides lots of DIY help, with videos and other educational information.

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Classified Ads

Business Development Manager – Newfoundland / Labrador Region

Castle Building Centres Group is an industry leader among Buying Groups in the Lumber and Building Materials segment in Canada. We are currently seeking to add a position in the Atlantic region.

You are a highly motivated individual with strong relationship and communication skills that can manage and develop our future growth in the Newfoundland & Labrador markets. This position requires an individual who is familiar with the Lumber and Building Supply industry, willing to travel, accustomed to working remote from Head Office and currently residing within the province of Newfoundland.

Reporting to the Atlantic Business Development Manager, you welcome the opportunity to work with a dynamic group of independent LBM dealers while planning and executing our future growth initiatives. Providing continual communication to our Members while understanding their needs is fundamental to your success. Sound computer and presentation skills; combined with good administrative qualities are imperative.

Castle Building Centres Group offers a comprehensive compensation package including full benefits.

All submissions will be treated with complete confidentiality. Please forward your resume in confidence to:

Yvonne Patton
Castle Building Centres Group Ltd.
100 Milverton Drive, Suite 400
Mississauga, Ontario
E-mail: ypatton@castle.ca


National Account Manager

Summary: responsible for developing and guiding the implementation of the account specific business plan; achieving account profitability and sales targets; serving as the primary account contact; providing account leadership. This individual will also be responsible for increased distribution of key brand and private label items.

Key Responsibilities:

  • Develop account strategies in accordance with overall business strategy
  • Develop account goals and business plan with customer
  • Conduct regular reviews of business performance, promotion strategies, planograms
  • Partnering with the marketing department in promotional development
  • Forecast, budget and track account revenues and cost
  • Participate in the development and implementation of account's financial support program, business building program and support logistics on supply chain programs

Education and Experience

  • Bachelor's degree in marketing or business related field.
  • 5-8 years of sales and/or marketing experience
  • Experience managing national retail customers (HQ level preferred)
  • Demonstrated skills in achieving sales, profitability, and budget goals
  • Ability to effectively implement sales and marketing strategies
  • Ability to effectively monitor category performance versus plan and communicate accordingly
  • Ability to understand trade spending effectiveness (efficiency of promotional activity is preferred)
  • Demonstrated commitment to building strong business relationships with customer
  • Ability to effectively communicate with senior leaders internally and with customer

Key Competencies

  • judgment
  • decision-making
  • strong presentation and communications skills – verbal & written
  • strong leadership skills
  • planning and organizing
  • problem analysis, problem solving and critical thinking skills
  • motivating staff
  • communication
  • coaching and development
  • high energy
  • self-starter
  • teamwork
  • flexible

Qualified candidates may submit their résumé, cover letter and salary requirements to kammi.parker@positecgroup.com.

Positec Tool Corporation is an Equal Employment Opportunity Employer


National Sales Manager – Mass Retail

Taymor is a successful nationally recognized custom manufacturer of doorware, bathware, faucets and commercial hardware serving the home improvement and builder markets across North America. We design and deliver products for the home that are Functional, Fashionable and Affordable. Our customers include Fortune 100 companies, national and regional retail brands, specialty retail stores and major commercial, single family and multi-unit home builders. This position will operate out of our Mississauga office.

We are positioning for our next level of growth and require an experienced National Sales Manager - Mass Retail to drive our growth in this sales channel. The primary function of this role is to develop and implement strategic and tactical selling plans, while building strong relationships with Canada’s largest home improvement and big box retailers. Please visit www.taymor.ca/careers for complete details and to apply.



A major North American building materials manufacturer located in Mississauga, Ontario is seeking an Accounts Manager with regional account experience for the Ontario building materials/hardware/paint industry.

The Company requires an Account Manager who will detail the day-to-day sales with national and regional key contacts in Ontario. Reports directly to General Manager.
Competitive Salary + Bonus, vehicle & benefit package.



SPECIFIC DUTIES will include:

  • development of relationships with key retailer personnel merchants and buyers
  • filed analysis, recommendations, competitive and market activity reporting
  • Assist in corporate projects including but not limited to new product launch, pricing and training programs
  • Key account and local account management
  • Self-driven, competitive and success oriented

Please submit resume, to include Salary Expectations via email to: sales@ghinternational.ca



Regional Account Manager - Henkel - Lepage Adhesives

We have an exciting role as a Regional Account Manager to manage our Quebec and Maritimes home improvement retail customers. This position is responsible for the management of Customer Relationships, as well as generating revenue and maintaining profits as it relates to the territory. Responsibilities may also include management responsibilities for internal sales support functions.

Essential Responsibilities:

  • Responsible for driving additional revenues and profits at the dealer base
  • Responsible for the annual territory business plan through the utilization of Category Management, Promotional Planning, Financial Analysis and Program Planning
  • In accordance with Henkel’s goals and objectives and in tandem with the Director of Sales, Trade Marketing and Product Managers, annually develop product placement and promotional strategies for the assigned accounts in the territory
  • Increase distribution of core Henkel branded products via a placement in both current and new retail locations
  • Consistently review with Customer Care, Logistics, Marketing, Finance and other internal parties, the necessary requirements needed in serving key account customers

Position Requirements:

  • Post-secondary education, BA in business strongly preferred
  • Three or more years Regional and/or National Account Manager experience
  • Must be competent in the verbal/written use of the French and English languages
  • Proficiency with Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint required
  • Must be able to work from candidate’s home office

Click here to apply

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  • 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

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