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1335 Morningside Ave.
Suite 101
Scarborough, Ontario
M1B 5M4
T:(416) 282-0022
F:(416) 282-0027


     Volume 15, Issue 10, March 11, 2015   

Inside This Issue:

• Newly Appointed CEO of Groupe BMR, Pascal Houle, to Speak at CHHMA Breakfast Seminar Next Week
• Gain Some Valuable Business Insight at the CHHMA Spring Conference & AGM
• Register Now for Maple Leaf Night in Las Vegas
• CHHMA Ontario Golf Tournament Set for May 26 at Angus Glen G.C.
• Registration Now Open for CHHMA Quebec Golf Tournament – May 28
• Consider a Special Vision Care Benefit for your Employees
• Retailers Expect to Raise Prices, Feeling Pinch of Weak Loonie
• Sears Canada to Sell and Lease Back Three More of its Stores
• Target Corp. to Lay Off 1,700, Eliminate 1,400 Jobs as Part of Restructuring
• Deal for 11 Target Canada Store Leases Approved; Court to Review $1.9 Billion Debt Property Claim
• Loblaw to Open 50 New Stores this Year as part of $1.2 Billion Investment
• Costco’s Second Quarter Profit Tops Estimates
• Nordstrom Treads Carefully with Launch of Second Canadian Store
• IMF Raises Concerns Again About Canada’s Housing Market
• Canadian Housing Starts Fall Sharply in February
• Building Permits in Canada Drop 12.9% on Weak Non-Residential Plans
• Consumer Confidence Amongst Canadians Declines in February
• Poll Finds a Majority of Canadians Pessimistic About Economy
• U.S. Labour Market Flexes Muscles in February


                              Association News                         

Newly Appointed CEO of Groupe BMR, Pascal Houle, to Speak at CHHMA Breakfast Seminar Next  Week
The CHHMA is pleased to be presenting Mr. Pascal Houle from Groupe BMR inc. as our guest speaker at a CHHMA Breakfast Seminar next Tuesday, March 17, 2015 at the Hôtel Holiday Inn Montreal-Longueuil, 900 Rue St. Charles Est, Longueuil, QC J4H 3Y2.

Last week, François Dupont, Executive Vice-President, Retail & Innovation at La Coop fédérée, announced the appointment of Mr. Houle as CEO of BMR. Pascal will have under his responsibility the hardware and material activities of La Coop fédérée, which operates its franchises under the BMR and Unimat banners.

Mr. Houle has worked within La Coop network since 1998, starting as hardware director for La Coop des Appalaches and following as management advisor at La Coop fédérée. In 2004, he became director of hardware, materials and petroleum products at La Coop des Bois-Francs before being appointed general manager of the same cooperative which has sales of nearly $237 million. Pascal joined Groupe BMR as vice-president, retail, in 2013, before being appointed executive vice-president. He holds a bachelors degree in business administration from the University of Laval and is a certified management accountant.

Join us as Mr. Houle will discuss the changes and plans for BMR/La Coop fédérée in 2015, followed by a Question and Answer Period. (Mr. Houle’s presentation will be in French).

Mr. Houle will also be accompanied by members of his management team.

The price to attend the breakfast is $75 for CHHMA members and $95 for non-members (plus taxes).

Click here for all the details and to register. 

Gain Some Valuable Business Insight at the CHHMA Spring Conference & AGM  

This year’s CHHMA Spring Conference & Annual General Meeting is being held on Wednesday, April 8th at the International Centre Conference Facility in Mississauga, Ontario.
Keynote presentations  include:

Craig Alexander, Senior Vice President and Chief Economist for TD Bank Group, will once again kick off the conference with his always interesting and informative outlook of the Canadian, U.S. and Global economies.Find out where interest rates, the Canadian dollar and the housing market are heading and other key factors of the economy plus the risk factors that need to be considered.

Award Winning Marketing, Sales and Communication Expert, Media Commentator & Entrepreneur, Tony Chapman, will pass on his career lessons during his topic “Own It” where he will show how you can overcome adversity, road blocks and rules to positively engage and persuade all who matter and turn any interaction (meetings, presentations etc.) to your advantage.

Monique Macarico, a Social Media Consultant & Strategist, will discuss how the Big 3 in Social Media (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn) are impacting how manufacturers land the big retail accounts.Discover what retailers expect and how social media has become a critical element to getting your products on their shelves.

Consumer, Retail & Shopping Center Expert Anthony Stokan, will close the conference with a look at “What Brands and Retailers Must Do Today to Meet the Consumer Expectations of Tomorrow!”  See what the implications of e-commerce are and the retail categories that will be most impacted; how social media is changing the relationship of brands with consumers; and why buying attitudes and behaviour differ with millennials, generation y and boomers.

As well, Mr. Bryan Gilbart, Vice President of Marketing & Sales, Envirogard/Rainfresh Water Filters, and Mr. Paul Straus, President, Home Hardware Stores Limited, will be inducted into the Industry Hall of Fame during the conference luncheon.Some key retailer executives will be invited to attend the luncheon and afternoon presentation by Mr. Stokan.

For full details and to register, click here.     

Register Now for Maple Leaf Night in Las Vegas

Maple Leaf Night is taking place this year on the evening of Tuesday, May 5th at the Mirage Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.This popular social event is open to CHHMA members and their retail customers in town for the National Hardware Show (May 5-7), which is celebrating its 70th anniversary this year.

Sponsorship is $750 CDN and entitles companies to corporate identification on all tickets, letterheads and event signage.It also entitles your company to one complimentary ticket for the host who will participate in the receiving line and two additional complimentary sponsor tickets.

Additional sponsor tickets can also be purchased for a reduced price of $110 CDN.

Regular individual tickets are $175 CDN or $225 CDN at the door.

Retailers/customers are invited to attend complimentary on behalf of the sponsors.

Click here for full details and to register.   

CHHMA Ontario Golf Tournament Set for May 26 at Angus Glen G.C.

The 46th Annual Ontario Golf Tournament (in support of the CHHMA Scholarship Program) will take place at the Angus Glen Golf Club in Markham, Ontario on Tuesday, May 26, 7:45 a.m. shotgun start. This year’s tournament will be limited to only 144 golfers on a first come, first serve basis.

Members attending the CHHMA Spring Conference & AGM on April 8th will be able to register early for the tournament.

The event is open to CHHMA members and their invited customers.  It includes breakfast, golf, an executive lunch, awards and prizes.

Click here for an Early Bird registration form if you have registered for the conference.

Full registration will commence after the Spring Conference & AGM.

So register soon and we hope you to see you there at one of the industry’s event highlights of the year!

Registration Now Open for CHHMA Quebec Golf Tournament – May 28

This year’s CHHMA Quebec Classique de golf / Golf Classic is once again being held at the excellent Club de golf Le Fontainebleau in Blainville, Quebec on Thursday, May 28th, limit of 144 golfers.

Registration and brunch will start at 9:00 a.m., with an 11:00 a.m. shotgun start.  After golf, there will be dinner with wine followed by prize presentations.

In order to maintain the most reasonable cost possible, the tournament depends on company sponsors, so please consider sponsoring a hole while registering.

Click here for full details and to register: French Registration        English Registration

There’s always a great turn-out from the customer and vendor side and we hope you can make it to this year’s event.

Consider a Special Vision Care Benefit for your Employees

Why let your employees pay Retail for their glasses and contacts when you can get them for Wholesale?

If your plan’s current Vision Care benefit is $225 or more every two years, the CHHMA Benefit Program can provide your employees with a pair of glasses EVERY year.

For more information on this innovative new plan benefit, please contact:

Nigel Ottley, Broker
Benefits Architect Group
(416) 934-1660

Working Together for your Benefit

                             Industry News

Retailers Expect to Raise Prices, Feeling Pinch of Weak Loonie

A declining Canadian dollar is keeping many retail executives awake at night as they grapple with rising costs that could force them to increase prices – and scare away customers.  That’s the takeaway from an internal Retail Council of Canada survey that forecasts overall sales gains in 2015 but “impossible cost pressures” as a result of a weak loonie that could squeeze profit margins.  The research found 70% of respondents said last month they would have to raise retail prices by between 1 and 5%, “with most mentioning increases toward the top end of the range,” the report said. Another 18% expect price increases of more than 5%.  Read More >>

Sears Canada to Sell and Lease Back Three More of its Stores

Sears Canada Inc. announced today that it has entered into an agreement with Concord Pacific Group of Companies to sell and lease back three of its properties for $140 million subject to certain adjustments. The after-tax proceeds, including adjustments, are currently estimated to be approximately $130 million.

The locations include store space and adjacent property located at the Metropolis at Metrotown in Burnaby, B.C., Cottonwood Mall in Chilliwack, B.C. and North Hill Shopping Centre in Calgary, Alberta. The transaction is scheduled to close on or about June 8, 2015, subject to satisfaction of customary closing conditions.   Read More >>  

Target Corp. to Lay Off 1,700, Eliminate 1,400 Jobs as Part of Restructuring

Target Corp. said on Tuesday that it will lay off 1,700 workers and permanently close out another 1,400 open positions. The announcement puts a number on last week’s announcement that the U.S. retailer would eliminate several thousand jobs as part of a restructuring aimed at saving $2-billion in costs over the next two years.  Target spokeswoman Molly Snyder says the cuts will come primarily at headquarters locations in the Minneapolis area, where the company employs about 13,500 people. 

The cost-cutting forms a key plank of a revival plan outlined last week by Chief Executive Officer Brian Cornell, who has sought to narrow the retailer’s focus to a handful of product lines where Target believes it has an edge on quality and price while also investing to catch up with rivals online.  Read More >>

Deal for 11 Target Canada Store Leases Approved; Court to Review $1.9 Billion Debt Property Claim

Landlords paid $138 million before taxes to buy back 11 properties from Target Canada as it winds down operations at 133 stores across Canada.  The deal was announced earlier this month and discussed in last week’s newsletter, but the price paid was sealed by the court until the deal officially closed, for competitive reasons. The transaction between Target Canada and the landlords, including Oxford Properties and Ivanhoé Cambridge, two of Canada’s largest commercial real-estate companies, closed last Friday. 

Meanwhile, an Ontario court has put a spotlight on a controversial $1.9-billion debt that insolvent Target Canada says it owes its own property company – and which other creditors fear will “swamp” their own claims.  Justice Geoffrey Morawetz told Ontario Superior Court last Thursday that it will seek an open and thorough review of the $1.9-billion inter-company claim – and all other ones – by the court-appointed monitor.   Read More >>  

Loblaw to Open 50 New Stores this Year as part of $1.2 Billion Investment
Canada’s largest supermarket chain has big plans for expansion this year, as it increases its footprint in the competitive grocery market. 

Loblaw Companies Ltd. said on Monday that it will build 50 new stores and renovate or improve more than 100 existing stores in 2015. The additions will be across the country, and Loblaw estimates it will create about 5,000 jobs at its corporate and independently owned stores. The company, which operates several banners including Loblaws, No Frills, Fortinos and Shoppers Drug Mart, will also look to make more investments in its e-commerce offering, supply chain and IT infrastructure.    Read More >>  

Costco’s Second Quarter Profit Tops Estimates

Costco Wholesale Corp. posted second-quarter that topped analysts’ estimates as sales outpaced discount rivals such as Wal-Mart Stores Inc.  Net income rose 29% to $598-million, or $1.35 a share, from $463-million, or $1.05, a year earlier, the company reported last Thursday. The average of 25 analysts’ projections compiled by Bloomberg was $1.18.

Costco has outperformed Wal-Mart and Target Corp. recently. Sales at Costco stores open a year or more increased 8% in the quarter, excluding changes in gasoline prices and foreign-currency exchange rates. In its most recent quarter, Wal-Mart reported a 1.5% increase in U.S. same-store sales, while Target posted a 3.2% gain.    Read More >>  

Nordstrom Treads Carefully with Launch of Second Canadian Store

Upscale U.S. retailer Nordstrom Inc. has taken a cautious approach to its launch in Canada, even at times overstocking its single storein Calgary, to ensure it doesn’t disappoint customers.

“We probably, because of our sensitivity, were a little guilty internally of maybe even having too much inventory,” Blake Nordstrom, president of Nordstrom, said in an interview with the Globe and Mail last week.  “That’s put a little pressure on the margins. We’d rather err that way.”

Nordstrom is treading carefully in Canada, opening its second store last Friday in Ottawa, another one in the fall in Vancouver and six in all by 2017. Industry watchers have roundly praised the offerings and look of the Calgary outlet, which opened in September, but the go-slow strategy has its costs: The Seattle-based company predicts tens of millions of dollars in annual operating losses before it can scale up to earn profits.     Read More >>  

                             Economic News

IMF Raises Concerns Again About Canada’s Housing Market

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has raised an alarm about Canadian real estate in a report that says Ottawa’s efforts to tame the market have only been partially effective.  As Canada’s economy absorbs the impact of a 50% decline in oil prices, its two main vulnerable areas remain its overheated housing markets and high household debt, says the report by Hamid Faruqee and Andrea Pescatori.

Though household debt appears to have stabilized recently, it has risen to historical highs of 150% of disposable income in the past decade — one of the highest among member countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the report notes.  At the same time, house prices nationally have risen more than 60% led by Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver, the latter ranked the second least affordable market in the world next to Hong Kong.   Read More >>  

 Canadian Housing Starts Fall Sharply in February

Canadian housing starts fell much more sharply than expected in February, a move that may have been aggravated by severe winter weather, data showed on Monday.  The latest report from the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) showed the seasonally adjusted annualized rate (SAAR) of housing starts fell 16.4% to 156,276 units last month from a downwardly revised 187,025 in January. That fell short of the 180,000 economists had expected.  January had previously been reported as 187,276 units.    Read More >>       

Building Permits in Canada Drop 12.9% on Weak Non-Residential Plans

The total value of building permits issued by Canadian municipalities fell 12.9% to $6.1 billion in January, following a revised 6.1% increase in December. Lower construction intentions for non-residential buildings in Alberta, British Columbia and Ontario were responsible for much of the national decline Statistics Canada reported last Friday.  Market analysts had forecast a 4.3% decline for January.     Read More >>

Consumer Confidence Amongst Canadians Declines in February

Worries about future job prospects pulled Canadian consumer confidence down in February.  The Index of Consumer Confidence fell 11.4 points to 95.6 last month, with residents in Ontario, Atlantic Canada, and Alberta showing the most pessimistic outlook. 

The monthly survey, published by the Conference Board of Canada, comes as the impact of lower crude oil prices is being felt through slower economic growth across Canada, outweighing the benefits of lower gasoline prices.   Read More >>

Poll Finds a Majority of Canadians Pessimistic About Economy

Canadians are more pessimistic about the economy than they have been since late 2009, and are cutting back their spending as a result, another recent survey suggests.  A recent poll conducted by Toronto advertising agency Bensimon Byrne showed that 55% of those who responded think the economy is in decline. That’s the first time negative sentiment has outweighed positive views in the agency’s quarterly survey since November, 2009.     Read More >> 


U.S. Labour Market Flexes Muscles in February
U.S. employment accelerated in February and the jobless rate fell to a more than 6-1/2 year low of 5.5%, signs that could encourage the Federal Reserve to consider hiking interest rates in June.

Non-farm payrolls rose 295,000 last month after rising 239,000 in January, the Labor Department said last Friday. It was the 12th straight monthly gain above 200,000. The decline in the unemployment rate from 5.7% in January took it to its lowest level since May 2008.   Read More >>  

Upcoming CHHMA Events 

Pascal Houle (Groupe BMR) Breakfast Seminar

Tuesday, March 17, 2015
Hôtel Holiday Inn Montreal-Longueuil, Longueuil, Quebec

CHHMA Spring Conference & AGM
Wednesday, April 8, 2015
International Centre (Conference Facility), Mississauga, Ontario

CHHMA Maple Leaf Night
Held in Conjunction with the National Hardware Show
Tuesday, May 5, 2015
The Mirage Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada

CHHMA Ontario Golf Tournament
Tuesday, May 26, 2015
Angus Glen Golf Club, Markham, Ontario

CHHMA Quebec Golf Classic
Thursday, May 28, 2015
Club de golf Le Fontainebleau, Blainville, Quebec               
To register for all events visit our website at or call Pam Winter at (416) 282-0022 Ext. 21


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"Eye On Our Industry" is published by the CHHMA as an information resource for our members. Member input regarding content and format is welcomed. Please contact Michael Jorgenson by email: or call (416) 282-0022, ext. 34.

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