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October 19, 2020 | Volume xxvi, #39
  • Hardlines speaks with Home Hardware’s top merchant
  • BMR Group holds its first virtual buying show
  • Exclusive report identifies retail market leaders in each province
  • CHHMA appeals to feds to create rules for vendor contracts with retailers

PLUS: Kawartha Home Hardware adds store, Lowe’s Canada’s Heroes Campaign, National Hardware Show wraps up first-ever virtual edition, OS&B hires retail manager, Walmart Canada to hire 10,000, Ace Hardware ranks as franchise’s fifth and more!

Hardlines speaks with Home Hardware’s top merchant  

ST. JACOBS, Ont. — Major changes have occurred at Home Hardware Stores Limited over the past couple of years. And most recently, the company’s merchandising department has seen a raft of new faces, beginning with the hiring of Marianne Thompson at the beginning of 2019.

Thompson came from the vendor side—she spent almost nine years at Alexandria Moulding before joining Jeld-Wen in 2017. At Home Hardware, as senior vice president, merchandising, her buying teams have undergone a major overhaul. She spoke recently with Hardlines.

One concern that dealers and vendors alike have expressed to Hardlines is the state of the culture of Home Hardware, as established by co-founder Walter Hachborn.

Thompson was happy to address that point. She notes that what underlies the changes taking place is the company’s shift from operating as a wholesaler, whose customers are primarily the dealers, to being “an integrated retailer.” That means the focus is on the end customer walking into those dealers’ stores.

“In a wholesale model, we had our dealers at the centre of the business model. And moving forward, it’s about having consumer-centric assortments.” That means putting the customer at the centre of that model. “It’s a significant, fundamental shift. It’s about understanding consumer insights, how consumers shop categories and making sure our dealers have the best-in-class assortments—and obviously having that selection in our distribution centre to support them.”

Thompson stresses that the core values of the company remain intact. “The vision has not changed—that is to be Canada’s most trusted home improvement brand.”

She admits that, with more than 1,000 dealers to serve, each of them striving to provide a product mix that suits their respective community, managing that assortment “brings complexity” to her team. “We have to be flexible with that and carry more SKUs in our assortment because we believe in our dealers having that localization of their assortment. It’s what makes them win in their market and makes a customer go to their store in their community.”

Looking internally, a number of the new hires on her team have been drawn from other large retailers, including Canadian Tire, Lowe’s Canada and Sobeys. Here again, Home Hardware has broken from tradition, having traditionally encouraged hiring from within.

“It’s really invaluable, as we build out the customer-focused assortment, how to buy for category management assortment is different than the wholesaler model,” says Thompson, adding that the new faces from other retailers bring real expertise.

“Today, Home Hardware is a brand that Canadian’s know, love and trust. We are on a journey to strengthen this great organization which serves over 1,000 communities across Canada. We are locally owned, genuinely Canadian, and we are building on the best of the past to ensure an even brighter future,” she adds.

BMR Group holds its first virtual buying show 

BOUCHERVILLE, Que. — BMR Group’s totally virtual trade show took place from October 5 to 8 under the theme “Strong. Here. Now”. The theme reflects network members’ engagement and positive attitude during an exceptional year. The online event featured new product information that also revealed some new lines and strategic growth categories for the group.

The format enabled the company to offer a series of webinars that featured new products and shared BMR Group’s vision with its member dealers.

A private, web-based platform was specially designed to give BMR dealers access to relevant information to support them during their annual bookings. According to BMR, the event was “a huge success,” as indicated by the levels of online participation it received. The webinars were viewed either live or in their recorded formats more than 2,800 times. Nearly 1,250 connections were recorded on the web-based platform dedicated to the event.

Among the many new products presented to dealers was a new urban flooring concept aimed at making BMR a leader in that field. The company also took the opportunity to roll out its new modern kitchen and plumbing assortment, as well as new lines in fast-growing categories such as horticulture.

As with the live show of the past, BMR wanted to celebrate the year’s achievements with its members. The show’s closing event took place virtually before a crowd of 500 dealers, employees and suppliers. The group presented 20 awards in the categories of growth in purchase volume, suppliers of the year and entrepreneurship, where dealers who made acquisitions or renovated their stores were recognized.

The Quebec-based group, which serves more than 300 building centres and hardware stores in Quebec, Ontario and the Maritimes, also took the opportunity to highlight the arrival of five new dealers—four in Quebec and one in Ontario.

During the closing event, CEO Pascal Houle presented an honorary award to all BMR dealers to express his appreciation for their exceptional work in recent months.

Exclusive report identifies retail market leaders in each province 

SPECIAL REPORT — A single retail chain accounts for almost one-quarter of retail home improvement sales in British Columbia. In Quebec, one independent chain, with fewer than 30 stores, has almost as much market share as all 130-plus Home Hardware dealers.

These are just some of the insights in the 2020 Hardlines Market Share Report.

The report compares the sales strength of the various banners and buying groups based on province and region. For example, Castle Building Centres is second only to Home Hardware for share of market in Newfoundland and Labrador. While Home Hardware has just over 50 dealers in the province, Castle’s 37 member dealers there provide solid competition in the number-two spot.

The latest Hardlines Market Share Report breaks out the sales by banner of every major retail banner and buying group in Canada by province. The data is accompanied by store counts and estimated sales per region.

This exclusive report, only available from HARDLINES, features:

  • Sales by province and region of every key hardware and home improvement retailer in the country;
  • Market share broken down by store format;
  • Charts and graphs to visually represent all data;
  • Market share by province of all the hardware and home improvement retailers in Canada, including year-over-year comparisons.

The report, in handy PowerPoint format, provides never-before released information on the market share in every store format, region and province using sales data for year-end 2019.

(For more info or to order your own copy of the Hardlines Market Share Report, click here!)

  CHHMA appeals to feds to create rules for vendor contracts with retailers  

TORONTO — As retailers grab up any product they can to keep their own customers satisfied, vendors are having trouble keeping enough inventory of their own. But efforts to stockpile can be hampered by limits to staff and output that were in place months ago based on yearly forecasting.

Now, vendors are feeling further pressure from large retail customers even as infection rates are on the rise in many parts of the country. Loblaw Cos. revealed recently it would fully reinstate fines to suppliers for light shipments. That charge had been suspended in March as demand became unpredictable. The grocery giant had begun to phase fines in again in June while still allowing for light shipments when demand soared above forecasts.

According to Sam Moncada, president of the Canadian Hardware and Housewares Manufacturers Association, this is not a strategy that has emerged in the home improvement channel. But it’s the kind of thing that concerns his members. “The vendors are trying to be responsible and respectful, trying to meet the needs of all their customers,” he says. This kind of move would add pressure while the pandemic continues to rage and force them to play favourites with their retailer customers, he says.

A common practice, especially in grocery, is for retailers to begin deducting two or three percent off the amount owed on invoices for everything from stocking fees to development charges. Walmart Canada went even further back in July when it announced it would withhold payments to suppliers as a way to force them to fund the chain’s physical and e-commerce expansion efforts.

With the increase in executives and merchants getting hired from the large grocery chains by home improvement retailers, such practices are growing in this sector.

CHHMA has been lobbying the federal government to adopt a “code of conduct” for retailers that would set guidelines for their negotiations with suppliers. The concern among vendors is so great that CHHMA is now working with an economic advisor at Innovation, Science and Economic Development in Ottawa.

One result was the drafting of a letter that has been sent out to various ministers asking them to review retail practices and look for ways to support Canadian vendors and Canadian jobs. The letter states in part that “years of government-approved mergers have left just a few retailers in control of more than 80 percent of retail sales in Canada.  These giants have long implemented unfair practices that contribute to high costs … and make Canada increasingly uncompetitive and severely limit manufacturing investment and job creation.” “We’re asking the federal government to put something in place that would include discussion with the vendors,” says Moncada. He’s pushing for rules or some kind of legislation that would limit the kinds of changes or revisions a retailer can add to contracts after they’ve been negotiated.

He’s heartened by the fact that the feds approached CHHMA looking to help. “Kudos to the federal government for reaching out to various industries and looking for ways to keep the economy on track.”

People on the Move

At OS&B, Alison Watson has joined the plumbing manufacturer as retail manager. Watson has an extensive background in the retail sector, from account management and support roles to selling to contractors and builders. Her background includes 11 years at CertainTeed and more than 12 years at Home Depot.


... that we are always looking for new products to feature for dealers? We have two publications that serve home improvement retailers. Our print magazine, Hardlines Home Improvement Quarterly, and our monthly e-newsletter, Hardlines Dealer News, both reach audiences of dealers and store managers across the country. And one of the things we know they are interested in is new products. If you’re a supplier with new products that are available to Canadian dealers, let us know! Send your product info to our New Product Editor, Geoffrey McLarney. (And yes, this is a free editorial service!)


VAUGHAN, Ont. — TIMBER MART’s buying show is the latest event to shift to remote participation. The show will take place February 8 to 11, 2021 via an online trade show platform. The buying group is expecting a healthier turnout at the TIMBER MART Virtual Buying Show than it has had at in-person events. “Without barriers to entry like cost of travel and time out of the store, we expect that more of our members will attend this show than ever before,” TIMBER MART CEO and President Bernie Owens said.

ST. JACOBS, Ont. — The Kawartha Home Hardware Group is slated to open its newest store by the end of November in Lakefield, Ont. The new Home Building Centre will occupy a site acquired from another banner, right behind the local Foodland store. General Manager Frank Geerlinks has plans to showcase the new store once the shelves and lumber yard are fully stocked and finishing touches on the retail space are complete.

BOUCHERVILLE, Que. — Lowe’s Canada has announced that its Heroes Campaign has raised more than $2.1 million for some 235 non-profit organizations and public schools across the country. This year, for the first time, 47 stores affiliated with the RONA banner and five distribution centres in the network joined Lowe’s, RONA and Reno-Depot corporate stores in the campaign. Throughout September, 289 Lowe’s Canada network sites joined forces to raise funds in support of their chosen partner organization’s mission or specific project.

MISSISSAUGA, Ont. — Walmart Canada is seeking to immediately hire 10,000 new workers. The hiring news follows a $3.5 billion investment in the business to generate growth and simplify the connection for customers between online and in-store shopping. The investment over the next five years will lead to the use of advanced technologies to move products as quickly as possible. The jobs include e-commerce store associates who prepare online orders, drivers to deliver those orders and grocery staff.

ATLANTA — The Home Depot has announced the winners of its 2020 Innovation Awards for state-of-the-art products. The Overall Winner is the Frigidaire Air Fry Range by Electrolux and the First Runner Up, also in the cooking category, is the Masterbuilt Gravity-Fed Grill/Smoker. Second Runner Up is the Lutron Sunnata Touch Dimmer with LED+ Technology. The Home Depot held its annual supplier meeting and 2020 Innovation Awards virtually for the first time, with suppliers and partners joining virtually for a live-streamed ceremony.

OAK BROOK, Ill. — Ace Hardware Corp. has placed fifth in the 2020 Franchise Times Top 200 List. The magazine’s annual list ranks the largest U.S. franchises by global sales. Ace Hardware first moved up to the number-five spot last year after four consecutive years in sixth position.


MONTREAL — Richelieu Hardware reported Q3 sales of $311.2 million, a 15.6 percent increase from the year prior. Sales to hardware retailers and big boxes stood at $64.7 million, up 82.8 percent over Q3 of 2019, amid the surge in demand in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak. In Canada, Richelieu recorded sales of $203 million, up $23.1 million or 12.8 percent from a year ago, of which 8.2 percent was from internal growth and 4.6 percent from acquisitions.

NORWALK, Conn. — The National Hardware Show held its first-ever virtual event last week. It offered participants a platform for viewing new products and setting up virtual meetings with online exhibitors. They could also connect with NHS on Facebook and Instagram for real time updates. A big part of the show was the educational aspect, hosted mainly by the North American Hardware and Paint Association, through its All-Industry Conference.


Retailers are struggling to keep bird feed stocked amid a spike in demand. Ontario-based Armstrong Bird Food supplies chains such as Canadian Tire, RONA and Canac. Ingrid Smith, who heads up customer service at Armstrong, confirmed the shortage in a note to Quebec City’s Le Soleil.


“There are several studies that show that increased evening daylight actually gets people out shopping, so it helps our small businesses.” —Jeremy Roberts, Ontario MPP for Nepean, whose private member’s bill to abolish the time change has passed second reading.

Classified Ads  

Sales Representative Alberta

Regal Ideas, the leading manufacturer of innovative Aluminum railings and outdoor living products requires a seasoned professional sales representative to manage our successful Alberta territory. The winning candidate will have a proven track record of managing a distribution network of Retail and Distribution customers in the Building Materials industry in Alberta.

Strong leadership and motivational capabilities are key. Must be able to work collaboratively with Management team and be able to execute corporate mandates and business plans to achieve goals.

Send resume and salary expectations to  Only successful candidates will be contacted. University education an asset but not a requirement.

Can do attitude is what we are looking for!



Responsible to the Director, Loyalty & CRM – Pro & Consumer for Installation Services Dealer membership growth, store level system implementation, ongoing development, and creative marketing/training programs to maximize Dealer profitability and to maintain Commercial Supply service, marketing and Dealer support.

Develop/maintain Annual Marketing programs to engage B2C & B2B customers, leveraging a combination of traditional and digital engagement tactics. Develop Annual Business Plan, along with SMART objectives, and corporate budget for both programs. Collaborate cross-functionally with Marketing department to develop, implement and measure effectiveness of advertising and promotional programs (digital/print media). Create and implement training programs on all aspects of running an Installed Sales and Commercial Supply business (classroom, web, digital).  Coach and support Dealers on both programs. Manage the development and implementation of installed sales software for Installation Services. Recruit new Dealers for the Home Installs and Commercial Supply programs.


College/University diploma or degree in sales, marketing or business management combined with 5-10 year’ experience in sales/corporate/retail or renovation business environment. Experience with installation service and commercial programs, working with a large group of retail stores, home improvement and contractors.  Previous experience in B2C and B2B business environments preferred. Strong leadership capabilities to manage and motivate an effective team, as well as public speaking skills. Strong knowledge of MS Office Suite, PC networking, understanding of database and cloud-based software.

*We thank all applicants for their interest; however, only qualified candidates will be contacted for interviews. INTERESTED CANDIDATES, PLEASE VISIT TO APPLY!

Krista Gromeder, Recruitment Coordinator, Human Resources  Phone: 519-664-2252 ext. 6208 Job Application Deadline: Friday, October 9, 2020 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.

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