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Volume 11, Issue 04, January 27, 2011

Association News

 2011 Spring Conference & AGM: "Boom, Bust & Bounce Back"

We are pleased to announce that Frank Turco from The Home Depot Canada will be a speaker at this year’s CHHMA Spring Conference & AGM taking place on Tuesday, April 5 at the International Centre Conference Facility in Mississauga, Ontario.

Mr. Turco is senior manager, trend & design, global sourcing at The Home Depot Canada. In his role, Frank is responsible for providing trend and design direction to the Canadian division and for leading the sourcing organization for the division.

Frank started his career with The Home Depot in 2007, with the mandate to deliver an industry leading trend and design program. Frank also provides creative direction to The Home Depot’s customer-facing trend and design publication, the Dreambook, and to the Design Centre at

Before joining The Home Depot, Frank served in merchandising, product development and design roles with leading retailers in Canada and the United States. Throughout his career, Frank’s strong design and product development background contributed to the launch of several designer brands at retail.

Frank will talk about the latest in home improvement and design.

We are also delighted to announce that Jim Moore from SkillPath will be presenting at the conference.

Mr. Moore is a successful author, computer executive, corporate trainer and professional coach. Jim’s long and fulfilling career is rich with personal and professional successes. He established and ran a profitable computer- manufacturing business … wrote The Mentor: A Tale of Discovery a personal development novel … authored numerous articles and columns for education- and career-related publications…and developed and delivered seminars/workshops in Coaching, Teambuilding, Personal Effectiveness, Employee Empowerment, and Public Speaking.

Now Jim is doing what he always dreamed of doing—training others to achieve their full potential in their careers and lives. His many training clients span the government, publicworks, medical, banking and education fields. And the wide array of topics he addresses run from teambuilding to public speaking to grammar and proofreading.

Jim will provide a morning keynote address titled Recession + Recovery = Our New Reality; How to Adapt, Grow and Capitalize for Greater Success. Jim will also offer two break-out sessions on the following topics: Doing More with Less in the New Economy! Learn Lots of ‘Best Practice’ Tips to Reduce Stress, Get More Done, and Boost Profitability and How to Develop a Peak Performing Team that is Motivated, Knowledgeable and Focused on Results.

We are sure you will find both these speakers to be highly entertaining and educational.

Stay tuned for further speaker and topic news in upcoming CHHMA communications

Industry News

Wal-Mart Canada to Open More Supercentres

Wal-Mart Canada announced yesterday that they are planning to roll out their superstore format, even in smaller, non-traditional locations, and will open 40 supercentres in Canada this year. The 40 building projects will cost in the range of $500 million and will include building new stores and expanding, remodelling or relocating existing stores.

Wal-Mart Canada began opening food supercentres in 2006 but did not commit to rolling out groceries into all of its stores. The company already has supercentres in Ontario, Alberta, B.C. and Saskatchewan, and will bring them to two more provinces, Manitoba and Quebec. Of the 325 Walmart stores in Canada, 120 are now supercentres. By the end of the year, the retailer expects to have a store count of 333 – 164 with a grocery store inside and 169 traditional stores.

Government and Legislative News

Ontario Business Program Guide:
Resource for Government-Funded Programs and Services for Ontario Businesses

Sometimes creativity, innovation, motivation and even decent profits could use a little help. Now help is available from the Ontario Business Program Guide, a free, online directory of Ontario government tax incentives, credits and support programs for business. This Guide, published by the Government of Ontario, will connect you to more than 60 government support programs and services for business. The Guide eliminates time spent on online searches by giving Ontario business audiences information about government support programs and services in one location: Some of the programs and services include: advice and consultation; education and training; energy incentives; financing; research and development; export assistance; and tax credits. The Ontario Business Program Guide is part of the government’s Open for Business initiative to streamline and simplify government services for business. 

Best Business Practices

Recessionary thinking: Smart Marketing Tips for Tough Times

Continuing on from the past several issues, here are the ninth and tenth tips (of twelve) for effective marketing in a down economy:

9. Search Engine Optimization.
SEO is essential if people are going to find your organization’s website. Research shows that over 80% of customers surfing the web for information on services and products begin at a search engine like Google. SEO helps people find you through the keywords used in search engines. With a small investment in keyword research, you can identify the key words searchers are using to locate the services you offer. Once you know the words to use, optimize your site with those same terms in your content. Considering the expense of mailing and other paper-related marketing activities, SEO is less expensive and can be more easily tracked for success rates. Spending money on creating a website but not following through with a solid SEO program is the equivalent of buying a car, but not putting any gas in it. Make the most of your website by fuelling it to work the way it is intended.

10. Web Analytics.
If you have a website, you need to track its utility so that you know how to best use it to your advantage. Include a web analytics system, such as Google Analytics, to measure how well your website is working. Web analytics are easy to use and customize and are a cost effective way to understand the success of your site. These reports uncover where website traffic comes from, how long they stay on your site, which areas they spend the most time in and where they exit the site. By studying trends on your website traffic, you will be able to customize the information on your site to attract the most desirable visitors.

Look for the final two tips in next week’s issue.

Information provided by: Deb Scaringi, Consultant, Scaringi Marketing,,

Economic News

Inflation Rises in December

Statistics Canada reported on Tuesday that consumer prices rose 2.4% in December, following a 2% increase in November. The 0.4 percentage point gain was mainly a result of higher gasoline prices that were up 13% from last December.

The inflation rate, excluding gasoline, would have been 1.8% - unchanged from November. Energy prices overall were 10.5% higher in December. Electricity prices were up 6.2% and natural gas costs rose 9.2%. The core inflation rate, which strips out volatile items such as energy and some foods, was 1.5% in December. Transportation prices, which include gasoline, were up 4.9%. This also factored in a 4.3% rise in car insurance and vehicles that were 1.5% more expensive. Shelter costs were up 2.7% even though mortgage interest costs were down 2.5%. Prices for household operations, furnishings and equipment increased 1.7%. The only major category to see an annual price decline was clothing and footwear, where prices fell 2%.
Canada’s overall inflation rate averaged 1.8% in 2010, up from 1.5% in 2009.

“The major theme here is that Canadian underlying inflation trends are still quite muted, especially in the face of heavy increases in gasoline prices, the lingering impact of the HST in Ontario and B.C. and the global upswing in food costs,” said Douglas Porter, deputy chief economist for BMO Capital Markets. “While these factors are likely to keep inflation a bit above 2% in 2011, core inflation looks set to remain comfortably docile around current trends through much of the year.” 

IMF Economic Outlook Update

The International Monetary Fund boosted its growth outlook on Tuesday for the global economy in 2011 due to strengthening U.S. consumer demand and robust emerging markets, although it warns financial stability “is still not assured” given heightened risks over government debt in Europe.

The IMF revised downward the outlook for Canadian GDP growth in 2011 by 0.40 percentage points to 2.3%, the single largest downgrade for an individual country. However, Canada is still expected to be the second fastest growing economy among industrialized countries, trailing only the U.S., with 3% expansion.

Overall, the IMF said the global economy is set to expand 4.4% in 2011, up slightly from its 4.2% expectation in the fall. The revision is mostly due to a sharp upgrade to its U.S. outlook which it increased to 3% from 2.3%. Advanced economies are expected to do slightly better this year, with expansion of 2.5%. Emerging economies will continue to be the global economy’s growth engine, with an expected 6.5% advance this year. The IMF remarked that there are signs that private consumption, which fell sharply during the downturn, is starting to gain a foothold in major advanced economies.

For Canada, growth is set to hit 2.3% in 2011, or just below the Bank of Canada’s recent forecast of 2.4%. Central bank governor Mark Carney warned last week that Canada won’t “fully benefit” from the rebound in U.S. growth due to the high loonie and tepid productivity growth. For 2012, the IMF sees the Canadian economy picking up speed, advancing 2.7% and matching U.S. growth.

Retail Sales Increase in November
Statistics Canada reported last Friday that retail sales increased 1.3% to $37.3 billion in November, the sixth straight monthly rise in sales and the largest since March 2010. Sales in volume terms also rose 1.3%.

Gains were reported in 8 of 11 subsectors, representing roughly 90% of total sales. In dollar terms, the biggest increase was a 2.7% rise at motor vehicle and parts dealers, mainly due to a 3.6% increase at new car dealers. Gasoline station sales rose 1.4%, reflecting higher prices at the pump. Sales at food and beverage stores increased 0.8% after two months of decline. Clothing and clothing accessories stores registered a 2.4% increase in sales in November. Sales at sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores were up 1.7%. Sales in the building material and garden equipment and supplies dealer sector were up 1.7% from October. General merchandise stores sales grew by 0.7%. The largest decline occurred at electronics and appliance stores where sales fell 2.2%.

Analysts felt it was a surprisingly robust report. Also, October’s retail sales figure was revised up to a 1% rise from an initial reading of 0.8%.

Composite Leading Indicator Up in December

According to Statistics Canada, the composite leading index rose by 0.5% in December, matching its gains in October and November. Five of ten components advanced, led by stock market prices and household spending.  Most components related to manufacturing softened in December. 

The housing index increased 1.5%, its second straight gain after six consecutive declines. The upturn was led by a continued rebound in existing home sales. The gradual improvement in existing home sales was also reflected in a slower rate of decline in furniture and appliance sales in the last two months compared with the previous year. Consumer spending on other durable goods rose 1.2%, the biggest advance in over a year.

The TSE increased 2.8% to 12,671 in December with metals and minerals hitting new record highs for the third straight month.

Most manufacturing components weakened. New orders for durable goods fell 1.7%. The ratio of shipments to inventories posted its first dip since May 2009, as inventory levels increased in recent months while sales growth slowed. On the positive side, the U.S. leading index rose 0.5%, a sign of strengthening U.S. demand, while manufacturing employment in Canada rose sharply in December.

U.S. Housing Market News

On Tuesday, it was reported in a closely watched survey that U.S. single-family home prices fell for a fifth straight month in November. The Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller composite index of 20 metropolitan areas declined 0.5% in November from October on a seasonally adjusted basis. Prices have fallen 1.6% in the past year. Millions of foreclosures are forcing prices down, and many people are holding off making purchases because of the fear that the market hasn’t hit bottom yet. Many analysts expect U.S. home prices to keep falling through the first six months of the year.

Last Thursday, the National Association of Realtors reported that U.S. home resales jumped 12.3% to an annual rate of 5.28 million units in December despite bad weather as sellers cut prices and jobless claims fell sharply. Sales were down 2.9% from a year earlier. A jump in mortgage rates may have forced some buyers into the market by raising concern of even further increases.

Meanwhile, builders broke ground on a total of 587,600 homes in 2010, just barely better than the 554,000 started in 2009. These represent the two worst years on record dating back to 1959. And the pace is getting worse. The U.S. Commerce Department reported last week that builders started work at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 529,000 new homes and apartments last month. That’s a drop of 4.3% from November and the slowest pace since October 2009. In a healthy economy, builders start about one million units a year. People are buying fewer single-family homes, which represent 80% of the market.

 CHHMA Events For 2011

Canada Night
Sunday, March 6
InterContinental Hotel, Chicago, Illinois

Spring Conference & Annual General Meeting
Tuesday, April 5
International Centre, Mississauga, Ontario

Maple Leaf Night
Tuesday, May 10
The Mirage, Las Vegas, Nevada

Quebec Golf Tournament
Tuesday, May 17
Le Fontainebleau Golf Club, Blainville, Quebec

Ontario Golf Tournament
Wednesday, May 25
Angus Glen Golf Club, Markham, Ontario

Industry Memorial Golf Classic
Tuesday, September 27
Blue Springs Golf Club, Acton, Ontario

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 at (416) 282-0022, ext. 34. CHHMA is located at 1335 Morningside Ave., Suite 101, Scarborough, ON, M1B 5M4

Canadian Hardware & Housewares Manufacturers Association | 1335 Morningside Ave., Suite 101, Scarborough, ON M1B 5M4
Telephone: (416) 282-0022   Email: