Hardlines Weekly Newsletter
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November 26, 2012, Volume xviii, #45

“It is better to deserve without receiving than to receive without deserving.”
— Robert Ingersoll (American lawyer, 1833-99)



Housing forecasts, social media at Johns Manville Dealer Conference

      TORONTO ― An important breakfast conference will be held this Wednesday, Nov. 28, in conjunction with the LBMAO’s Canadian Home Improvement Show (CHIS).

The Fifth Annual Johns Manville Dealer Conference presented by HARDLINES is designed specifically for independent dealers and their vendors who want insights into the direction of the housing market and the economy, and who want valuable business-building insights from industry leaders.

CHIS has been redesigned this year, kicking off with breakfast on Wednesday morning as part of the JM Dealer Conference. Our speakers are Peter Norman, chief economist at Altus Group; social media coach Sacha Chua, who will help you get started with online connections to your customers; and special guest Martha Konantz. She is the president of North American Lumber, a retail success story in Western Canada with 21 stores.

This year, the show joins with the conference to provide an event that will combine new products from a range of vendors with the conference’s new ideas.

(Click here for more info and to register now!)

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Jobin leaves Canadian Tire amidst restructuring

TORONTO ― John Jobin, vice president of merchandising for Canadian Tire’s “Fixing and Playing” business, is no longer with the company. Jobin was a 10-year veteran of Canadian Tire, and highly regarded by vendors as someone who understands the industry well.

Before he left, he had been working on the reorganization of Canadian Tire’s hardlines businesses and a recent re-positioning of the company’s key proprietary brand, Mastercraft, as part of the company’s efforts in 2012 to fortify what it believes are its core competencies. His departure comes on the heels of a major restructuring of the category he oversaw, which involved splitting Fixing and Playing into separate merchandising categories. A vice president will be appointed for each, with two respective AVPs under them.

Until those appointments are made, Steve Savioe, AVP and general merchandise manager for tools and hardware, is covering both roles. He is one of the three AVPs who had been reporting to Jobin. The others are Doug Graham (sports and outdoor recreation) and Mike Magennis (seasonal, gardening and backyard living).

While the division of the merchandising teams hasn’t been annouced yet, it is conceivable that “Fixing” will now cover tools, hardware, and paint, while “Playing” will include fitness and sporting goods, and outdoor recreation. Besides these, Canadian Tire’s other key merchandising categories are “Driving,” for automotive products and services; and “Living,” which covers home organization, backyard living, kitchen, pets, and cleaning.

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Lowe's wants to accelerate Canadian expansion

MONTREAL ― As fallout from the abortive Lowe’s bid continues to reverberate through the ranks of RONA’s shareholders, the rebuffed Mooresville, NC-based retailer remains keen to expand into Canada.

Chairman and CEO Robert Niblock said during the company’s third-quarter investors’ call that Lowe’s would like to create critical mass here by adding new stores, including different formats, and through acquisition. While he would not comment specifically on another RONA bid, he did say his company would wait until debate dies down around the desire by some activist shareholders to remove the RONA board.

Lowe's has already told HARDLINES that it is working on a small-store format for Canada, as it looks for ways to increase its presence in markets that would not necessarily support a full-sized box store. While it indicated that the rollout of such a store is imminent, Lowe's would not give an exact date for the launch.

Lowe's has also said it is interested in developing dealer-owned stores, as it has done in Australia. This only adds more credence to Lowe's interest in a future RONA takeover.

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Canadian companies embrace America’s “Black Friday"

TORONTO ― The Thanksgiving holiday may have come and gone in Canada, but that isn’t stopping retailers here from trying to cash in on the trend of “Black Friday,” which sees record numbers of U.S. shoppers swarm stores the day after American Thanksgiving in search of bargains.

Retailers from The Bay to Petsmart are holding sales that would usually be reserved for the Boxing Day rush at a time of year when slashing prices was historically unthinkable.

Future Shop was an early adopter of Black Friday marketing in Canada, but promotions featuring the term are becoming commonplace, with Canadian branches of American retailers like The Gap adding to the trend. Even Sears Canada has identified it as an important promotional opportunity, and will use Black Friday to kick off the last five weeks of the holiday shopping season in its stores across Canada and online at sears.ca.

Customers who want to avoid the notorious crowd control issues associated with Black Friday could still take advantage of the sales from home. Amazon.ca offered deals of up to 80% off on selected items in a variety of departments for the entire week leading up to last Thursday’s Black Friday event.

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CanWel buys back shares

VANCOUVER ― CanWel Building Materials intends to purchase for cancellation up to three million common shares by buying them back through the Toronto Stock Exchange. Those shares represent approximately 10% of the public float.

Over the last 12 months, CanWel has re-purchased and cancelled 3.42 million common shares. CanWel also intends to buy back and cancel its convertible debentures through the TSX for a value of up to $4.5 million, which represents about 10% of the public float. The purchase period was to have started on Nov. 21, and continue for one year, unless CanWel reaches its goals before that date.

Over the last 12 months, CanWel has re-purchased and cancelled 3.42 million common shares.

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China show moves dates for 2013

SHANGHAI — The China International Hardware Show continues to build its presence as a trade destination for companies that want to do business with Asian markets.

The latest show drew 46,368 visitors to Shanghai, representing a 17.2% increase over last year’s event. In total, 2,400 companies from 20 countries and regions filled the one million-square-foot facility. That included 100 Taiwanese manufacturers that occupied more than 100,000 square feet.

The dates for the next show have been moved from their traditional slot. For next year only, the China show will be held Nov. 26-28, 2013, while the location remains the same. Anyone interested in registering for next year can download the 2013 application at http://goo.gl/QfnVT and check out the 2012 show at http://goo.gl/c7sMv .

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