Hardlines Weekly Newsletter
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May 27, 2013, Volume xix, #21

“Tact in audacity is knowing just how far is too much.”
Jean Cocteau (French poet, novelist, playwright and film maker, 1889-1963)

Big box giants report varying 1Q results

ATLANTA & MOORESVILLE, NC — Despite harsh weather, the recovering housing market in the U.S. helped boost first-quarter results for the world’s number-one and number-two home improvement retailers. However, while Home Depot’s numbers exceeded expectations, number-two player Lowe’s saw its numbers fall short.

Home Depot reported sales of $19.1 billion for the first quarter of fiscal 2013, a 7.4% increase from the first quarter of 2012. (The first quarter of 2012 had an extra week that added approximately $574 million to sales.) On a like for like basis, same-store sales for the quarter were positive 4.3%, and up 4.8% for its U.S. stores. Net earnings were up 20% to $1.2 billion.

Lowe’s also saw an increase in profitability for the quarter, reported net earnings of $540 million for the quarter ended May 3. That’s an increase of 2.5%, but falls short of the double-digit increase by its competitor. Diluted earnings per share increased 14.0 percent to $0.49 from $0.43 in the first quarter of 2012.

Sales for the quarter decreased 0.5 percent to $13.1 billion, while same-store sales for the quarter decreased 0.7%. March was especially tough, with same-store sales down 10%, affected largely by a 7% same-store sales drop in outdoor products, before turning around in April to positive 10% same-store results.

Like Lowe’s, Home Depot’s seasonal sales took a hit in the quarter.

Home Depot indicated that sales at its Canadian stores were also up, but would not reveal by how much. The fact that same-store sales in U.S. stores were higher than for the company overall indicates that growth in Canada would have fallen short of increases in the U.S.

(Find out more about the first-quarter performance of North America’s public home improvement companies: Lowe’s, Home Depot, RONA, and Canadian Tire, in our latest Hardlines Executive Report, available soon. Click here for more info!)

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McMunn & Yates buys up McDiarmid assets

  WINNIPEG — McMunn & Yates has bought up most of the assets of home improvement chain McDiarmid Lumber Ltd. McDiarmid had been plagued in recent months by internal strife, as its owner, Tom Matthews, and his son-in-law, Vince Ryz, who also managed the business, came into conflict and ended up suing one another.

Matthews stepped in, injected cash into the ailing business, and brought in turnaround expert Richard Hutchings as chief restructuring officer. According to the Winnipeg Free Press, the deal with Dauphin, MB-based McMunn & Yates is worth about $30 million. It includes all the McDiarmid stores, except one in Winnipeg and the location in Sioux Lookout, ON. It also includes McDiarmid’s commercial and farm divisions and its truss operation, Superior Truss.

They will be added to the 16 stores already owned by McMunn & Yates, which are located mainly in smaller centres in Manitoba and Saskatchewan. McMunn & Yates has been growing through acquisition in recent years, but this is by far its biggest takeover. With estimated sales of $175 million, McDiarmid is more than twice as big in terms of estimated retail sales volume.

A long-time member of TIM-BR MART, McDiarmid was, for many years, one of that buying group’s largest members. McMunn & Yates is part of the Independent Lumber Dealers Co-operative (ILDC).

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RONA contemplates the fate of its ICI division

  BOUCHERVILLE, QC — As RONA seeks ways to shed assets and return to its “core” business, one division that has come under scrutiny is its industrial-commercial-institutional (ICI) unit. Under the Noble brand, it is generating a lot of volume among commercial customers as well as the range of specialty wholesale supply companies RONA acquired under former CEO Robert Dutton. But trade with contractors is very different from its ICI business and offers very little in the way of synergies.

“Either we re-invest and accelerate growth or we sell it,” said then-acting CEO Dominique Boies in an earlier interview. At the time, he also suggested that RONA “could find a partner to grow the ICI business.”

Nor would the company give out any more clues on the future of this division at its recent annual general meeting. The new president and CEO, Robert Sawyer, said to wait another month, when he says the company will unveil its plans for this division, as well as provide more details of how RONA will deal with underperforming big boxes.

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True Value reports a decrease in gross billings

    CHICAGO — True Value reported gross billings of $444.3 million for the quarter ending March 30, down 0.9% for the same period a year ago, due to a nearly non-existent spring and a decline in lumber and building material vendor direct ship sales.

Revenue was $312.8 million, an increase of 0.4%.

“While winter-related product sales exceeded the prior year, the general lack of spring weather this March versus last year was too much to overcome,” said president and CEO Lyle Heidemann. “Last year our retailers’ comp store sales were up double digits in March and this year they were down a high single digit. In April and early May, for the parts of the country where spring has arrived, our retailers on average are experiencing double-digit increases in their retail comp store sales.”

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Strong sales, optimism at Do it Best Spring Market

INDIANA — Do it Best’s Spring Market, held May 17-20 at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis, was highlighted by optimistic attitudes from attendees who are seeing firsthand improvement within the home improvement industry.

“In the industry, we’re looking for positive signs, and some categories indicate a rebound of the housing market,” says Randy Rusk, communications director with Do it Best Corp. “For example, a double-digit increase in the sale of toilets offers a good indicator that the economy is improving, because we believe that is being driven by new home construction and not just renovation projects.”

One category that continues to see growth is farm and ranch. “In the last two years, we’ve added several hundred new vendors to the market,” Rusk says. “There’s been lots of growth in pet food, animal feed, fencing, traditional farm products and even apparel.”

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Product Showcase


Classified Ads

Territory Sales Representative Opportunity

Exchange A-Blade is a leader in supplying power tool accessories to retail lumber, home center, hardware and industrial accounts. To support our continued growth, the Company is adding territory sales resources in the Maritimes.

If you are a high-energy Sales achiever, people oriented with exceptional communication skills and ready for the challenge of growing your own territory (Nova Scotia, New Brunswick & P.E.I.), please reply promptly.

Ideal candidates will have a minimum of three years sales experience within the hardware industry, a sound track record of growing a territory and be comfortable with some overnight travel.

A comprehensive package including salary, incentive, benefits and a company vehicle will be offered to the right individual.

Interested candidates should forward their resume to:





Woods Industries Canada Inc., a subsidiary of Coleman Cable Inc. www.colemancable.com , a market leading manufacturer and distributor of electrical products located in Markham, Ontario is seeking a seasoned National Accounts Manager with national and regional account experience across Canada in the hardware channel.

Reports directly to Senior Vice-President - Retail. Competitive salary + bonus, benefit package.

Black Eagle Executive Search is conducting this search on behalf of Woods Industries Canada.


  • Solid work ethic
  • Motivated self-starter
  • Proven negotiation skills
  • Excellent communication skills both written and verbal
  • Excellent analytical, forecasting abilities
  • Strong organizational skills - able to manage multiple tasks simultaneously


  • Maintain and enhance market leadership position in the Canadian hardware channel
  • Drive growth by penetrating existing accounts with full range of product categories
  • Drive new business/customer development
  • Enhance account profitability
  • Develop customer programs, quotations
  • Manage independent manufacturers’ representatives across Canada
  • Attendance at industry trade shows
  • Contribute to the development of new products and programs
  • Regular analysis of sales and profitability overall and for key accounts


  • Post-secondary business degree/diploma
  • Experience in managing national/regional hardware accounts in Canada especially Home Hardware, RONA and Spancan buying group members
  • Experience managing and selling to electrical merchants preferred
  • Experience with multi-product line offering, plan-o-gram development, selling full line programs
  • Proven ability to work with product and marketing resources from multiple locations
  • Above average skills with Microsoft Office Applications including Excel, Word, PowerPoint, Outlook
  • Must be able to travel up to 50% of time including visits to corporate headquarters in the USA
  • Bilingual (English/French) not required, but would be an asset  

Please submit résumé to Black Eagle Executive Search via email to Richard Simms at rsimms@blackeagle.ca

 Only candidates of interest will be contacted



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