View in your browser

November 22, 2021 | Volume xxvii, #43



  • Home Hardware relaunches Benchmark brand with promotional campaign
  • Canadian Tire focus on private labels helps it manage supply chain issues
  • National Hardware Show reprises with smaller live event in Las Vegas
  • AQMAT assembles 'historic' congress to tackle industry issues

PLUS: Lowe’s profits rise, Home Depot posts Q3 revenues, Toolbx expands to Vancouver, BuildDirect acquires Michigan flooring retailer, CertainTeed Canada partners with Hyperframe, IPG’s Q3 sales, existing home sales set a new record, U.S. construction starts, and more!


Home Hardware relaunches Benchmark brand with promotional campaign

Home Hardware has unveiled its new ‘Built to Build’ campaign as part of a relaunch for its private brand, Benchmark. Developed in collaboration with Toronto ad agency john st., the campaign will be supported through social and digital channels as well as a 30-second TV spot, in-store signage, and newly designed packaging. In French-language markets, it will be presented with the slogan “Conçus pour bâtir.”

The campaign runs until Dec. 24.

Home Hardware’s‘Built to Build’ campaign is about connecting with DIYers across Canada and highlighting Benchmark as an innovative and affordable tool brand that can help them tackle the projects they’ve been dreaming of with ease,” said Laura Baker, vice president, marketing, Home Hardware Stores Limited. “We want Canadians to understand they can depend on Benchmark products, and that by using them, they are practically unstoppable.”

The announcement reinforces the full range of products that bear the Benchmark brand for Home Hardware. It also reflects the wider movement among retailers to beef up their private label offerings. (See the next story in this issue.)

Working with Toronto ad shop john st., Home Hardware’s agency of record for the past five years, the fully integrated campaign relies on traditional media, including television, highlighted by a new 30-second TV spot, plus in-store signage and newly designed packaging. The rebranding is also being supported through social and digital channels.

A cornerstone of the Benchmark relaunch is the brand’s new Omega 20-volt battery system. Keeping pace with the thrust of power tool technology, the system is compatible and interchangeable across all of Benchmark’s 20-volt cordless products, which includes power tools and lawn and garden equipment.

“We know that home renovation and repair projects continue to be a focus for our customers and innovative tools that help them get the job done within budget are important to them,” said Baker.

“The Benchmark brand offers a broad assortment of power and hand tools at affordable prices, without sacrificing quality and dependability.”


Canadian Tire focus on private labels helps it manage supply chain issues

Canadian Tire enjoyed strong results in its third quarter, and while comp sales for its Canadian Tire Retail (CTR) stores were up just 1.4 percent, that follows on the heels of a whopping 25.1 percent increase during the same quarter of 2020. Much of the chain’s success came from its ability to drive private-label sales while managing its supply chain challenges.

Private brands are hot properties, and Canadian Tire has led the charge with a range of proprietary lines for everything from power tools to home décor. Supported by a strong infrastructure here at home, the company has been able to manage its inventories effectively.

“The non-perishable nature of our products gives us flexibility around lead times and commercial terms,” said CEO Greg Hicks on a call to analysts. “As the owner of significant distribution and storage capacity through our store network, corporate-owned real estate and the REIT, we can easily hold excess inventory in Canada.”

He pointed out that more than one-third of Canadian Tire’s revenue comes from its owned brands. As the supplier for its own products in these areas, the company can keep control of when and where goods are produced. Hicks cited NOMA Christmas lights, Mastercraft tools, and Denver Hayes apparel as examples.

CTR's performance was helped by growth in their own brands such as Canvas, Master Chef, Raleigh, and Sherwood. Executives on the call noted that the control over these lines gives Canadian Tire a real advantage, despite ongoing sourcing challenges worldwide.

“Our seasonal, living, and automotive divisions had the strongest performance in the quarter,” said Gregory Craig, Canadian Tire’s EVP and CFO. “Garden, backyard living, cleaning, and car care were among CTR’s top-performing categories, and our access to inventory was a key contributor to their performance.”

Craig said Canadian Tire is “the largest importer of record in Canada,” with strong vendor relationships and large investments in shipping and transportation, “particularly on the main routes in and out of Asia and across Canada to our more than 1,700 plus retail locations and distribution centres.”

Earlier this year, Canadian Tire invested in ships of its own to carry CTR products exclusively. “This strategic decision to charter four vessels enabled us to bring in key Christmas and winter categories in time for Q4. We have successfully built inventory to meet anticipated customer demand,” Craig said.

“We’re already working through our volumes and lead times for summer and fall of 2022, placing orders with vendors, looking at our product pipelines, and—while not across the board— anticipating an increase in some input costs.”


National Hardware Show reprises with smaller live event in Las Vegas

The National Hardware Show made its comeback last month as a live event, after moving to a virtual format in 2020. The show, which typically runs in early May, was pushed out to late October this year, to maximize the odds of people attending as North America continues to contend the persistence of the pandemic. While it did not attract too many Canadians, it did reach a critical mass that proved worthwhile for many in attendance.

The 75th edition of the show gathered exhibitors, industry leaders and other attendees for a return to business at the Las Vegas Convention Center’s new West Hall. There were 690 exhibitors, including 259 that attended for the first time. In 2019, the show had about 2,500 exhibitors.

“Despite a smaller footprint, we made important investments this year to ensure NHS remains the top destination for industry members to make meaningful connections and celebrate successes for years to come,” said Beth Casson, event leader for NHS.

One Canadian who was there noted the smaller size. Robert Greene, VP for the Consumer Products Division of Jacobs & Thompson, which has the Polar Bear brand of weatherproofing products, says the show was “just okay,” with traffic low overall.

“We didn’t see any Canadian retailers at the show except for one Home Hardware store that had won the trip.” He was referring to Ian McNaughton of Gravenhurst Home Hardware. McNaughton was an award winner and panellist at the conference portion of the show, held by the North American Hardware and Paint Association.

Another Canadian exhibitor, a Toronto-based garage storage company, was reportedly looking to expand its U.S. presence and was happy with the buyers walking the show and stopping by their booth.

The smaller size of the show did have its upside. Greene says the few connections he made were good ones. “On a brighter note, the customers, suppliers, and representatives that we did interact with were quality contacts that we expect will garner new business within the future.”
He adds that his support of this show gave his company the opportunity to negotiate better pricing and a more favourable booth location for next year. The 2022 show will be held April 5 to 7, once again in the West Hall at the Las Vegas Convention Center.


AQMAT assembles 'historic' congress to tackle industry issues

AQMAT held its 10th Congress of Decision-Makers last month under the theme “Se retrouver pour mieux s’allier” (finding one another to better unite ourselves). Dominique Bélanger, chairman of the Quebec industry group’s board, dubbed the occasion “historic.”

“When I look at the importance of the topics on the agenda, I indeed think we are called to reflect, even to speak out on some of the most critical issues facing our hardware stores and the suppliers who allow us to operate, namely the suppliers and buying groups.”

Delegates adopted resolutions dealing with price controls, Sunday closures, and a potential code of best practices for hardware retailers. While supporting a mostly free-market approach, AQMAT and construction industry group APCHQ are exploring algorithm-based technologies that can take out some of the guesswork as supply remains unpredictable.

Participants also heard from Pierre-Alexandre Blouin, head of Quebec’s food retailers’ association. Blouin suggested that AQMAT has an advantage in bringing together all kinds of hardware industry actors. In the food business, by contrast, “to make progress it’s necessary to coordinate ten or so different and sometimes diverging associations.”

AQMAT president Richard Darveau (shown here) noted that new federal cabinet ministers were receiving their mandate letters the same day in Ottawa. Like them, he said, he felt “entrusted with clear and engaging objectives for the collective good of the members of our community.”




... that Hardlines has the tools to help you identify Canada’s top home improvement retailers? If you want to know who the big retail customers are, what their sales are in each province, and the product strategies of the top players, check out the Hardlines Retail Report and the Hardlines Market Share Report. This exclusive info is just not available anywhere else but at Hardlines. We even have special pricing if you buy both reports together. Let us help you get ready for the year ahead!


Lowe’s Cos. announced its Q3 profits rose to $1.9 billion, or $2.73 per share, compared with $692 million a year earlier. Revenues increased to $22.92 billion from $22.31 billion. Same-store sales were up by 2.2 percent in the quarter. Like rival Home Depot, Lowe’s benefited from a strong housing market, even as house prices and building materials costs heat up.

The Home Depot posted Q3 revenues of $36.8 billion, an increase of $3.3 billion or 9.8 percent from 2020. The ongoing trend toward investment in the home seen since the COVID-19 outbreak continued to propel sales, with comp sales increasing by 6.1 percent. Net income rose to $4.13 billion (or $3.92 per share), from $3.43 billion ($3.18) a year earlier.

Digital construction platform Toolbx has expanded to Vancouver. The service offers a single platform from which builders can source materials from any local supplier, to be delivered to the job site within two hours. The expansion comes amid skilled labour shortages in the area, which the Vancouver Regional Construction Association expects to continue over the coming years.

Vancouver-based BuildDirect Technologies has acquired Superb Flooring & Design LLC in a $10 million cash transaction. The Michigan-based flooring retailer serves pro customers across the U.S. Midwest. At the same time, BuildDirect reported Q3 revenues of $22.4 million, up 51 percent from a year ago. Gross profit increased 48 percent to $8.1 million, compared to $5.5 million for the comparable period of 2020.

Walmart Canada and Duo Bank of Canada are launching the Walmart Rewards Mastercard Installment Plan. Customers can split their in-store and online general merchandise purchases into six equal installments billed to their Walmart Rewards Mastercard monthly when the total purchase is $199.99 or more. As part of the launch of the program, the 2.5 percent set-up fee is being waived for a limited time.


CertainTeed Canada, a subsidiary of Saint-Gobain, has announced a new partnership with Hyperframe, which specializes in AI-powered software for the construction industry.

Intertape Polymer Group’s Q3 sales rose 23 percent to $395.6 million. Net earnings fell by five percent to $25.3 million. Net income was $58.7 million, up from $55.6 million a year ago.


Sales of existing homes have already set a new annual record in 2021. Sales were up 8.6 percent between September and October 2021, marking the largest month-over-month increase since July 2020. Actual (not seasonally adjusted) monthly activity was down 11.5 percent on a year-over-year basis. (Canadian Real Estate Assoc.)

The seasonally adjusted annual rate of housing starts in Canada was 236,554 units in October, according to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. That was down 5.3 percent from 249,922 units in September. The SAAR of urban starts declined by 3.7 percent to 214,797 units. Single-detached urban starts increased by one percent to 58,016 units. (CMHC) 

U.S. construction starts were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.52 million in October. That was a decrease of 0.7 percent. Compared to October 2020, however, starts were up by 0.4 percent. The SAAR of building permits for the month was 1.65 million. That was four percent higher than in September and 3.4 percent above the previous October’s pace. (U.S. Census Bureau)


A Quebec man whose family is behind a series of trademark applications using the Zellers name says Hudson’s Bay Co. missed out on its chance to retain rights to the name. HBC’s “lawyers didn't do their work. The trademark was expunged,” Robert Moniz said in a CBC Radio interview. “They had enough time to take over the trademark. They didn't take it.” Members of the Moniz family are named in a statement of claim filed by HBC, with allegations including trademark infringement and deceptive marketing.


“Our owned brands continue to be a key focus for us, providing several differentiated advantages, one being a healthy margin premium over national brands.”
—TJ Flood, president of Canadian Tire Retail, on the importance of its private labels.

Classified Ads


Sales Representative, Hardware – Ontario 

Manager, Product Installation (Florida) 

Product Manager, Outdoor Living Products (Ontario or Chicagoland) 

Global Sourcing Manager – US 

Retail General Manager - Toronto 

Referral reward! Refer someone who is hired by our Client, and we’ll donate $500 on your behalf to your charity of choice! 

Looking to make a career move? Send your resume to Wolf Gugler in complete confidence.

Video cover letters are welcomed. 

Wolf Gugler Executive Search, offices in Canada and the US. 

Interior British Columbia Retail Operations -Kelowna

A key business partner between Home Hardware Stores Limited and the store owners, you will be responsible for optimizing area retail sales, profits and market share through products, promotions and by sharing retail best practices to drive adoption of key enterprise programs.


Maintain and strengthen the store owner relationship with Home Hardware Stores Limited by leveraging a portfolio of retail knowledge, skills, expertise and corporate insight.

Partner with store owners to implement category management and align store owners to achieve corporate objectives including store branding, in-store merchandising standards, and customer centric best practices.

Implement a play-book of retail actions utilizing key reporting such as financial data, POS data, and program participation reports by pre-planning informative and impactful store visits with store owners highlighting strengths and opportunities for retail excellence.

Regularly monitor sales to achieve and exceed required area goals, targets and corporate objectives.

Facilitate structured store owner peer and performance team meetings designed to foster team work, build trust, collaboration and to share key insights and best practices.

Onboard new shareholders and develop existing store owners in your specific area in collaboration with the Retail Sales and Operations Facilitator.

Grow and maintain market share by driving store owner expansions, relocations, banner conversions and proactively managing succession planning. Collaborate with the Store Owner Development Team to open new Greenfield locations in markets with opportunity


College diploma in Sales or Marketing preferred, with minimum five years’ business, retail, and/or wholesale experience in the Hardware industry a definite asset.

Solid understanding of Retail Hardware, PRO Customers and the Lumber & Building Material business, Retail experience at a supervisory or managerial level.  

Ability to analyze data and financial reporting to identify opportunities for growth/improvement within a business unit. Strong written and verbal communications and interpersonal skills in order to create strong partnerships. Ability to facilitate on-going productive Dealer meetings inspiring innovation, collaboration and sharing best practices.

Must be self-motivated, results-oriented and organized, with excellent time management skills.

Excellent computer skills including Microsoft Word, Excel, Outlook, Microsoft Teams, PowerPoint and Discoverer.

Willingness and flexibility to travel extensively and work varying hours to fulfil the requirements of the position.

Successful applicant must be willing to locate preferably within the area near Kelowna.

*We thank all applicants for their interest;

however, only qualified candidates will be contacted for interviews.
Sam Zarzycki, Talent Acquisition Specialist, Human Resources  Phone: 519-664-2252
We will accommodate the needs of qualified applicants on request, under the Human Rights Code in all parts of the hiring process.

Looking to post a classified ad? Email Michelle for a free quote.



Privacy Policy | HARDLINES.ca

HARDLINES is published weekly (except monthly in December and August) by HARDLINES Inc.
© 2021 by HARDLINES Inc.
HARDLINES™ the electronic newsletter www.HARDLINES.ca
Phone: 416.489.3396; Fax: 647.259.8764

Michael McLarney — President— mike@hardlines.ca
Christina Manocchio — Editor— christina@hardlines.ca
Geoff McLarney — Assistant Editor— geoff@hardlines.ca

David Chestnut — VP & Publisher— david@hardlines.ca
Michelle Porter— Marketing & Events Manager— michelle@hardlines.ca
Accounting — accounting@hardlines.ca

The HARDLINES "Fair Play" Policy: Reproduction in whole or in part is very uncool and strictly forbidden and really and truly against the law. So please, play fair! Call for information on multiple subscriptions or a site license for your company. We do want as many people as possible to read HARDLINES each week — but let us handle your internal routing from this end!

1-3 Subscribers: $495
-6 Subscribers: $660
7 -10 Subscribers: $795
11-20 Subscribers $1,110
21-30 Subscribers $1,425

We have packages for up to 100 subscribers!

For more information call 416-489-3396 or click here
You can pay online by VISA/MC/AMEX at our secure website, by EFT, or send us money. Please make cheque payable to HARDLINES.