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September 5, 2022 | Volume xxviii, #33
  • Canadians want to renovate rather than move, new study reveals
  • Canadian Tire ends Q2 with 18 percent more inventory
  • Lowe’s to launch tool rentals in U.S., Canada expected to follow suit
  • Home Hardware dealer loved this shopping mall so much that he bought it

PLUS: Home Hardware’s Jessica Kuepfer wins Ironman Canada, Castle golf tournament raises money for Sick Kids, Canac scouts Magog location, Home Hardware opens in Longlac, AQMAT’s Richard Darveau on TV, Lowe’s Canada brings back Heroes campaign, Walmart invites Canadian merchants, building permits tumble, Sico and Dulux pick colours of the year, U.S. new home sales fall, and more!

Canadians want to renovate rather than move, new study reveals 

A new survey by an online pro services marketplace reveals how Canadians, coming through COVID, have been investing more in home renovations. And this trend is expected to increase over the next 12 months.

According to the 2022 Reno Report by Homestars, homeowners across Canada who plan to upgrade their spaces in the coming year said they’ll be spending an average of $25,222, nearly double what they spent over the past 12 months.

This latest survey also reveals that 84 percent of homeowners are planning to stay put rather than buy a new home.

Among those who have completed outdoor renovations in the last 12 months, the average spend was about $6,600, an increase of nearly $2,000 from last year. Almost one-third of respondents (29 percent) invested in landscaping, while 10 percent spent money on a fire pit.

The increase in average spending for indoor projects was even more significant: Canadian homeowners who completed such renovations in the last 12 months spent about $13,000 on average, up from $8,260 last year.

There are notable regional differences when it comes to home renovations, both in terms of specific projects undertaken and overall spending levels. Ontarians, for example, have spent roughly twice as much on outdoor projects on average as homeowners in the Prairies and Atlantic Canada. However, British Columbians and Albertans were most likely to pay in cash, at 85 percent, versus the national average of 80 percent.

The expected average spend for the next 12 months is nearly twice the amount of 2021, suggesting that many Canadians expect to scale up home renovations in the months ahead.

Three-quarters of surveyed homeowners who completed renovations in the past 12 months expect to do so again in the next year.

Canadian Tire ends 2Q with 18 percent more inventory


One of the big challenges for retailers through the spring and early summer has been managing inventory. After scrambling through the winter to maintain inventory levels, many retailers, faced with falling purchases in the face of rising inflation, were left with more product than usual.

That was the case for Canadian Tire Corp., which ended its second quarter with an additional $465.6 million in inventory, about 18 percent more than a year ago. Still, CEO Greg Hicks isn’t concerned about seeing the kind of excess inventory problems U.S. retailers are experiencing.

“We feel good about our inventory levels and don’t see any meaningful margin risk or incremental markdown requirements to clear inventory,” Hicks told analysts on an earnings call following the release of Canadian Tire’s Q2 results. He noted that the total value of that inventory includes more than $260 million in seasonal fall and winter goods, which were ordered early to avoid supply chain woes.

“Higher merchandise inventories at the end of June partially reflected a later start to spring this year and left us with some opportunities around spring and summer categories,” Hicks said. “We saw good movement on these products in July, once the warmer weather finally arrived.”

“I'm very pleased with our team’s ability to manage our inventory, especially considering what we're seeing with large retailers south of the border.”

Lowe’s launches tool rentals in U.S., Canada expected to follow suit


Lowe’s Cos. has begun rolling out tool rental departments in the U.S., starting with a store in Charlotte, N.C. The rollout is expected to take place over several years and will include Canada, though no timeline for a Canadian introduction has been set.

The idea is to create a one-stop shop for the tools and equipment pros and DIY customers need to complete home improvement projects. It also positions the company better against its biggest rival, The Home Depot, which has had tool rentals in place in its stores for many years. In fact, in Canada, Home Depot’s rental service was expanded in recent years to include heavier equipment such as mini-excavators and backhoes.

Lowe’s Canada did have rentals for a time, with the inclusion of Stephenson’s Rental outlets in about 20 stores across the country, including Calgary and Toronto. But those all closed during COVID.

The new Lowe’s tool rental initiative will such pro brands such as Husqvarna, Bosch, and Metabo. It will include drain cleaning, restoration, sanitation, and concrete tools along with add-on products such as protective equipment and cleaning agents.

Lowe’s is setting up its tool rental departments as either newly-constructed spaces that expand the existing store footprint or on the properties of existing stores. The rental centres will be about 4,000 square feet in size and feature self-service kiosks with technology to facilitate easy check-in and check-out. A mechanic’s shop will service the tools, while dedicated staff will also be on hand and can provide hands-on product demonstrations.

“For all of our customers, having the right tool is key to every project, but they may not always want to purchase a new tool or piece of equipment,” said Fred Stokes, senior vice president of pro sales and services for Lowe’s Cos. “Lowe's Tool Rental helps customers save on the cost of owning, maintaining, and storing the tools they need.”

Home Hardware dealer loved this shopping mall so much that he bought it  

A Nova Scotia building supply dealer has bought a shopping centre and made his store its anchor tenant.

The Truro Mall in Truro, N.S., is now the property of Arnold Hagen and his business partner, Doug Doucet, who is also owner of a construction company in Bedford, N.S. The 46,000-square-foot Home Hardware Building Centre is the new anchor for the mall, moving from a much smaller location down the road. The Home Hardware replaces the former anchor, Sears, which had moved out.

“It’s a leap of faith. It’s very exciting,” Hagen told Hardlines about the purchase of the 48-store shopping mall in June 2021. “We seemed to hit it off,” he says of his partnership with Doucet, who has lots of construction work in the Halifax and Dartmouth markets 100 km down the road.

Hagen has a second 10,000-square-foot Home Hardware Building Centre in Bible Hill, about 10 km east of Truro.

Major retailer tenants of the Truro Mall include Michaels, Sport Chek, Dollarama, Mark’s, Winners, The Body Shop, and Coles. When the upgrades are complete—which will include a complete renovation of the mall and a new food court—the mall will really come alive, Hagen predicts.

“It won’t be your mother or father’s mall,” Hagen said to Halifax’s Chronicle Herald. The plan is to bring occupancy at the mall up to 95 percent over the next 12 to 18 months, he added.

(Photo: Johanna Matthews)
People on the Move

A big congratulations to Home Hardware communications director Jessica Kuepfer, who placed first in the women’s category at the recent Ironman Canada triathlon in Penticton, B.C. Her total time was 10:08:05. Kuepfer and her husband coach an endurance team in Ontario’s Kitchener-Waterloo region.

Catherine Khuu is the new product coordinator at DAP Canada. She was most recently strategy and solutions manager at Touchlogic Inc. Khuu is a graduate of Wilfrid Laurier University’s business school, where she was active in Laurier’s chapter of the youth leadership organization AIESEC.

Wolseley Canada has named Candace Woods as VP, marketing and digital. Wood will join the company Sept. 7 after four years at Metro, where she headed up marketing in Ontario. In addition, she oversaw the grocer’s private label and corporate social responsibility strategies at the national level. Prior to her time at Metro she held a series of marketing and sales roles at Nestlé Canada.


... that you can now buy tickets for the 2022 Hardlines Conference? That’s right, registration is open online for the 26th annual Conference, Oct. 18 and 19 at the Queen’s Landing Hotel in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont. Sign up now as tickets are limited for this year’s event!

Matériaux Pont-Masson, a BMR member since July of last year, is building a new location in Val-Morin, Que.

Castle Building Centres has held its annual Vendor Appreciation Golf Tournament in support of Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children. The Club at North Halton in Georgetown, Ont., was the site of the day of golf, games, and camaraderie. Thanks to the generosity of its vendor partners, Castle raised $45,500 for the SickKids Foundation.

Canac is scouting for a location in Magog, in Quebec’s Eastern Townships. As far back as 2014, the company had identified a promising site in the city’s Omerville district. The project fell through when the transport minister failed to authorize the opening of a median on the nearby main street to assist vehicle access. Nevertheless, the company remains in talks with the city of Magog to establish a store there.

Home Hardware has announced the opening of Barino Construction Home Hardware Building Centre in Longlac, Ont., in July. The store is 11,500 square feet and currently has more than 20 employees. Dealer-owners Joyce and Daniel Frenette and Rick and Kathryn Michaud are all lifelong residents of the community. Joyce Frenette and Rick Michaud worked in the home improvement industry for over 15 years.

Lowe’s Canada has brought back its Heroes campaign throughout the month of September, supporting local causes chosen by employees. This year, six distribution centres and 81 RONA affiliates will join Lowe’s Canada’s corporate store network. They will raise funds for a total of 242 charities, non-profit organizations, and public schools across the country. At the end of the campaign, Lowe’s Canada will match 50 percent of the funds raised.

Walmart is inviting Canadian merchants to join its U.S. Marketplace, giving them access to a base of more than 120 million online shoppers. A webinar on Sept. 8 will include sessions hosted by Walmart executives and cross-border payments provider Payoneer. Attendees will learn how they can take advantage of such supports as simplified onboarding, streamlined fulfilment, targeted promotions, and integrated financial services to help them grow on both sides of the border.


Richard Darveau, president of AQMAT and head of the Well Made Here campaign, appeared on the Télé-Québec talk show Y’a du monde à messe last weekend. In this clip, Darveau discusses his family’s reaction when he was named to head up Quebec’s hardware industry association. More serious topics covered included supply chain difficulties and materials costs.

Sico and Dulux have chosen shades of teal as their respective colours of the year for 2023. The brands are looking to inject the serenity of water into the hectic pace of life as we emerge from the pandemic. Sico’s Melt Water teal is described as a “robust and refined bluish-greenish tone that intertwines bold blue and calming green.” For its part, Dulux promises that its Vining Ivy teal is “both calming and invigorating.”


The value of building permits in Canada fell 6.6 percent in July to $11.2 billion. The decline was mainly due to the residential sector, which fell 8.6 percent to $7.6 billion. The non-residential sector also dropped slightly by 2.1 percent. Single-family building intentions were down 5.7 percent, as a 13.9 percent tumble in Ontario more than offset the gains in six provinces. Despite the decline, the single-family sector remained 14.8 percent higher than the same month of 2021. (StatCan)

Sales of new U.S. homes fell by 12.6 percent in July to an annualized rate of 511,000 units. That was a 29.6 percent decline from July 2021 and the lowest level of sales since January 2016. Many prospective buyers were deterred as both housing prices and borrowing costs remain high. The median price of a new home in July was $439,400, up from $402,400 in June. (U.S. Commerce Dept.)


How did Hardlines get started? When were the Outstanding Retailer Awards initiated? Why is the Hardlines Conference considered the “Switzerland” of the retail home improvement industry? Learn more about how Hardlines is working to keep you informed, including important details about our upcoming Hardlines Conference, in this podcast from the North American Hardware and Paint Association. NHPA's Dan Tratensek interviews our very own Michael McLarney.


“We've been wanting to set up shop in Magog for about 10 years. We have development plans in every corner of the province, but we are indeed in exploratory talks with the city of Magog to set up a store there.” —Patrick Delisle, marketing director of Quebec home improvement chain Canac, quoted in the community’s newspaper, Reflet du Lac. Delisle did not reveal specific locations or timelines.

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