"Wisdom outweighs any wealth." Sophocles (496 - 406 BCE)

Ace unveils strategy for supplying Canadian dealers

  MONTREAL - After numerous attempts to enter Canada, the key to success for Ace Hardware's fourth foray into this country resides in - of all places - Shanghai. Pro and Ace dealers from across the country, who gathered here last week for the second annual PRO Retail Services Show, learned first-hand how a newly-erected distribution business in Shanghai will be the starting point for a range of SKUs that will get shipped directly to dealers in Canada. That business, called Ace Global Distribution (AGD), was created just over a year ago to serve Ace's retail customers in some 65 countries. Canada will at last be added to that list. (Tony DiEmanuele and Murray Armstrong pictured at right) AGD is overseen by Murray Armstrong, who is also president and general manager of Ace Hardware International. He was in Montreal to explain how the new agreement with Ace and PRS will work. He was accompanied by Angel Garcia, director of global sales and retail development, and the team that will oversee Ace in Canada (see People on the Move for the Ace team). How - or from where - the wider range of Ace products, including Ace paint, will be shipped to Canadian dealers, has yet to be determined. "We hope to develop a wide range of programs for Ace retailers in Canada and products will be sourced from wherever it makes sense," Armstrong says. One of the key reasons for Ace's decision to return here, he stresses, was the support he believes will come from the Canadian side. "This decision to represent the brand and get more involved was not an easy one for us, based on things that have happened in the past." Ace has made other forays into Canada over the past 15 years, with varying degrees of success. "We struggled with it, we really did," he says. However, Armstrong is confident that the alliance with PRS will provide the support the deal needs. The PRS team is headed by Bill Morrison, president and CEO of TruServ Canada, and is supported by Tony DiEmanuele, vice-president business development and growth for Pro Retail Services, and Terry Derraugh, vice-president merchandising. "In cooperation with PRO Retail Services, we want to rejuvenate the brand and set the stage for future growth," Murray says. This is the first in a series about Ace's entry into Canada. Next week: how Ace's distribution centre will work.

↑ top

Acquisitions continue to fuel RONA's growth

BOUCHERVILLE, QC - Recent acquisitions helped push RONA's third-quarter sales to $1.35 billion, up 6.7% over the third quarter of 2006. Sales from the recently-acquired Noble Trade, Curtis Lumber, and Mountain Building Centres, accounted for approximately 4.2% of that amount. Efficiencies gained through the ongoing consolidation of the retailer's 673-store network and eight distribution centres further contributed to the growth. But same-store sales rose by just 0.1%, dampened by the negative effect of the strong dollar and a slowing housing market, senior RONA executives told investors during a conference call to discuss the results. While RONA president and CEO Robert Dutton said in a prepared statement that the company is "satisfied" with the results - given "the current pressure on sales in the retail industry" - RONA will continue to boost sales by encouraging consumers to take on reno and décor projects. The company has suggested several times recently that consumers are now waiting longer to embark on home improvement tasks than they have in the past. Future growth will focus on Ontario and Western Canada, Claude Guevin, CFO of RONA, told BNN News. Western acquisitions, including a deal to buy Dick's Lumber in British Columbia, is expected to counterbalance a softening market in Eastern Canada, where about 60% of RONA stores are located. Overall, further acquisition, and recruitment of independent dealers, will continue to play a key role in the growth of the company, which is currently eyeing 15 other acquisitions.

↑ top

Canadian Tire ups 3Q profits despite flat sales

TORONTO - Thanks to cost reductions and productivity improvements, Canadian Tire Corp. had higher profits on flat sales for its third quarter. Net earnings climbed to $105.7 million, an increase of 10.8% compared to $95.4 million in the third quarter of 2006, while sales inched up 1.5% to $2.5 billion. However, sales by the Canadian Tire Retail unit (CTR) were down 0.7% to $1.79 billion from the same quarter in 2006. In addition, 3Q same-store sales were down 2.7%, and remained flat year-to-date. According to Tom Gauld, president and CEO of Canadian Tire, "The sales results from both Canadian Tire Retail and Mark's Work Wearhouse are a result of a softening retail environment in Ontario and Quebec, and unseasonable weather patterns in September. Retail sales in the rest of the country remained strong. We remain confident in our business strategies and in our ability to generate long-term growth." For the first nine months, Canadian Tire's net earnings were $292.5 million, up 18.8% from $246.3 million. Net earnings, excluding non-operating gains and losses, were $282.5 million, a 13.6% increase. The retail business had year-to-date sales of $5.17 billion, an increase of 2%. CTR's third-quarter sales were affected in part, says the company, by the impact of a shift in buying related to the Canada Day holiday that resulted in approximately $20 million in sales occurring in the previous quarter. Without this impact, sales in the third quarter of 2007 would have increased 0.4% over the previous year. CTR's sales results during the quarter were affected by regional variations in performance, as weak overall sales in Ontario and Quebec, which represent approximately 65% of CTR's business, offset continued growth in the rest of Canada. At the category level, strong sales in outdoor decor, lawn and garden, and electronics only partially offset weakness in weather-related categories and home repair.

↑ top

Home Depot Canada prepares for Lowe's arrival

TORONTO - Faced with aging store stock and the imminent arrival of Lowe's, Home Depot Canada met with its key vendors last week at the Toronto Congress Centre to outline its plans for 2008. The company is looking to build business in the year ahead on four pillars: know-how, value, project sales and the environment. Although Home Depot never mentioned Lowe's during its vendor meetings, it is casting its net wide for support to battle Lowe's. According to a letter that went out to vendors last week, Home Depot is requesting increased service levels by vendors' reps and merchandising agencies for 10 of its stores in the Greater Toronto Area. The stores identified for the increased service are those that deemed most vulnerable to the opening of four Lowe's stores during the week of Dec. 10. Also, expect higher service levels for customers in these stores - at least for the next few months. Job postings for stores in Hamilton, and the GTA reveal an emphasis on appliance, flooring, and home décor sales specialists, as well as kitchen designers - all key categories for Lowe's. Plans for 2008 will also include refurbishing its older stores, something which vendors are being told one-on-one they will help underwrite. Home Depot's first replacement store was erected in Mississauga last fall. Vendor contributions will reportedly be based on sales volumes.

↑ top

Lowe's in advanced talks with Indian partner

MOORESVILLE, NC - Just as it is about to open its first stores in Canada, Lowe's Cos. reportedly is in "advanced" talks to form a partnership with Reliance Retail, a subsidiary of Reliance Industries Ltd., India's latest private-sector business enterprise. The Economic Times of India reports that Lowe's plans to establish a cash-and-carry venture in which Reliance would have a majority stake, as well as a second retail venture that Reliance would manage. Indian laws permit foreign investment up to 51% in single-brand retail and up to 100% in wholesale business.However, multi-brand retailers such as Wal-Mart, Home Depot, or Carrefour are not allowed to own and manage stores in India. Reliance Industries - which itself is part of The Reliance Group conglomerate - operates two subsidiaries, Reliance Retail and Reliance Petroleum. As of October, the retail subsidiary operated 339 stores in 30 towns. It has also recently begun to roll out a grocery-store concept under the brand Reliance Fresh. The company's stated goal is to introduce "a pan-India network of retail outlets in multiple formats." The Economic Times reports that home improvement dealers in India are mostly small- to mid-sized companies.

↑ top

Home Depot to open first store on Guam

ATLANTA - Next Thursday, Home Depot will open a 140,000-square-foot store on Guam, the retailer's first home center located in the Pacific Islands. The $21-million store, which is near the island's airport, has hired 200 local residents as employees, and its manager Brian Lay told Pacific Daily News that the store is built to withstand winds of 175 mph and earthquakes. (Guam can be subject to typhoons.) This is the second big-box dealer on the island; Kmart operates a 24-hour store here. As of March 2006, there were nearly 300 people employed by 20 stores that sold hardware, garden supplies, and building products, according to Labor Department estimates. Home Depot is entering the market just as Guam is gearing up for significant military-related buildup in 2010, according to news reports.

↑ top


Castle Building Centres Group Limited

Business Development Manager - Ontario Region

Castle Building Centres Group is an industry leader among Buying Groups in the Lumber and Building Materials segment in Canada.

You are a highly motivated individual with strong relationship and communication skills that can manage and develop our future growth in Central Canada. This position requires an individual who is familiar with the Central Canada Lumber and Building Supply industry, willing to travel extensively and accustomed to working remote from head office.

Reporting to the President, 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 Central 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. 6375 Dixie Road, Suite 400 Mississauga, Ontario L5T-2S1 E-mail: ypatton@castle.ca


RCR International is a prime manufacturer of complete lines of products for professionals and do-it-yourselves. The company is recognized as a pioneer in the door and window insulation market, and is proud of expanding its innovative expertise to encompass various other quality product lines. RCR International currently manufactures over 3000 products including weather-stripping, insulation components, floor protection products, screen and squeegees. Being the supplier of the most prestigious retailers in America, RCR International wants to offer the best to its customers. We have in place an effective and efficient distribution network with facilities in key regions: Montreal, Toronto and Chicago. This allows RCR International to distribute its vast array of products all over the world. We currently have an opening for a dynamic individual to join our team as a Territory Manager for the area of Northern of Alberta.


Under the immediate responsibility of the Western Sales Manager, the sales representative plans and organizes all activities related to the business development of his assigned territory. More specifically, he is responsible for the increase in sales and profits of his current customers and the development of additional accounts. His past history proves without a doubt that he is result oriented and capable of working with a minimum of supervision. Main Tasks: Drive sales in territory by: - Analyse sales reports to understand his market; - Visit his customers: this may require out-of-town overnight reservations; take physical inventory of Company displays in stores; refilling of empty shelves; - Install racking and shelves in new stores and fill the shelves with Company products; - Set up numerous trade shows (this may require installing the booths using different power tools, putting in racking and shelves and carrying heavy cases of products); - Offer and demonstrate Company products during trade shows; - Contact his customers by telephone to offer special promotions; - Prepare product catalogues; - Transmit all orders to the order desk; - Write and forward weekly sales and expense reports to the office; - Maintain his customer files up to date and file customer invoices. This position requires: - Minimum of a Junior College degree in administration; - A minimum of 3 to 5 years experience in a similar position; - Experience in the hardware industry and computer literacy are a sure asset; - Ability to analyze and make a diagnosis of current problems; - Excellent physical health; - Occasional week-end availability during trade shows. Please submit your resume to Nathalie Charbonneau through email or fax to 450-670-1669.


  • Sell your company - or buy one - with Hardlines Classifieds!
  • Do your executive search, find new lines or get new reps in the Hardlines Marketplace.
  • Only $2.75 per word for three weeks in the classifieds.
  • To place your ad, call Brady Peever at 416-489-3396 or email: brady@hardlines.ca