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Volume 13, Issue 13, March 27, 2013

Inside This Issue:
• Don’t Miss This Opportunity to Hear Tim Urquhart (TIM-BR MART) at our Breakfast Next Wednesday
• Register for Terry Davis (Home Hardware) Breakfast - May 15
• Two Weeks To Go Until the CHHMA Spring Conference & AGM
• CHHMA Members Pick Up Key Tips in Maximizing Account Receivables
• CHHMA Offers Training Seminars on Microsoft Outlook 2010 
• Register for Maple Leaf Night in Las Vegas – May 7th at the Mirage
• Register Now for CHHMA Quebec Golf Classic – May 23rd
• Night at the Races Taking Place on June 12th
• Canadian Tire Opens Up New Digital Development Lab for the ‘Retail of the Future’
• Walmart Expands iPhone “Scan & Go” Program
• Wolf Gugler & Associates Web Site Survey Shows Positive Hiring Outlook
• The 5 Principles of Leadership, Part II
• RBC: Fewer Canadians Plan to Buy a Home Over Next Two Years
• Canadian Retail Sales Rise in January on Strength of Autos
• Canadian Wholesale Sales Increase 0.3% in January
• Canadian Consumer Confidence Up Slightly in March
• U.S. Home Prices Rise More Than Expected in January 

Association News

Don’t Miss This Opportunity to Hear Tim Urquhart (TIM-BR MART) at our Breakfast Next Wednesday

Join your fellow CHHMA members as Mr. Tim Urquhart, President & CEO, of TIM-BR MART Group, provides an update on the corporation, his views on where the industry is going over the next couple of years, explains TIM-BR MART’s relationship with Spancan and Ace International and discusses what vendors can do to better serve the needs of their organization.

The CHHMA is pleased to be presenting Mr. Urquhart as the guest speaker at a breakfast seminar on Wednesday, April 3, 2013, (8:00 a.m. registration & breakfast, 8:45 a.m. – 9:30 a.m. presentation) at the International Centre (Conference Facility) in Mississauga.

Mr. Urquhart has over 30 years of senior business experience in the Canadian building materials/hardware industry. He has been President & CEO of TIM-BR MART since 2004. During this period, the company has grown from $600 million to over $2 billion in annual purchases (over $3 billion in retail sales) representing over 740 independently owned member locations and 5 distribution centres across Canada.

The organization has undergone some recent changes including a new charter and name change to TIM-BR MART
Group, management restructuring as well as a new retail logo.

To register, click here.

Register for Terry Davis (Home Hardware) Breakfast - May 15  
The CHHMA is pleased to be presenting Mr. Terry Davis, Executive Vice-President & Chief Operating Officer, Home Hardware Stores Limited, at a breakfast speaker event on Wednesday, May 15, 2013 (8:00 a.m. registration & breakfast, 8:45 a.m. – 9:30 a.m. presentation), at the International Centre (Conference Facility) in Mississauga.

Mr. Davis has been with Home Hardware for more than 40 years starting as an order picker in the St. Jacobs warehouse. Moving to the Computer Department as an operator in 1971, he has held a number of information technology positions at the company, including Vice-President. Over the years, Terry assumed more responsibility not only in the areas of technology, but also in dealer support and dealer development. For various periods from 1990 – 2000, Terry held the positions of Vice-President Marketing and Vice-President Dealer Development. In 2007, he became Vice-President Administration and Strategic Planning and in 2010 was appointed Executive Vice-President and Chief Operating Officer. In 2012, Terry was featured on the Season 2 premiere episode of Undercover Boss Canada, an experience that he enjoyed immensely.

This year, Home Hardware has embarked on its latest 5-year plan. Join your fellow CHHMA members as Mr. Davis discusses the company’s past and current business strategies and his views on the industry. 
Click here to register.  

Two Weeks To Go Until the CHHMA Spring Conference & AGM      
We have a great line-up of speakers and topics which you do not want to miss at this year’s CHHMA Spring Conference & AGM – The Future is Now taking place on Wednesday, April 10 (8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.) at the International Centre Conference Facility in Mississauga.

Key-note speakers include one of Canada’s top-level economists Craig Alexander, senior vice president & chief economist at the TD Bank, who will provide key analysis and forecasts on the Canadian, U.S. and Global economies, so your company will know what to expect in the months ahead.

Professor Richard Ettenson, from the Thunderbird School of Global Management, will discuss brands and brands strategy with the aim of providing a practical and managerial orientation to the key success factors in developing and managing strong brands. The presentation will explore, discuss, and understand the essentials of branding excellence, with a focus on how your organization’s brand(s) is a true business asset that contributes to the superior business performance.

Tony Chapman, CEO of the industry-defining, award-winning advertising agency Capital C, will give attendees a snapshot on today’s consumer and how the world they covet is within arms reach of desire during his presentation – The Future is Now. Friends, connections, content, goods and services, offers, creative expression, advice and more is available 24/7 at no cost. He will then use the breakthrough 'head, heart and hands' model supported by case studies to show how those that innovate, change and adapt will reap the benefits of social media, e commerce, and consumer generated innovation.

Choose from three break-out sessions including: an industry panel discussion on the pros and cons of using agency reps versus in-house company reps; an Ernst & Young presentation Sustainability Manufacturing: Driving Value Through Regulatory Compliance which will assist attendees with environmental, social and governance (ESG) including understanding both the disclosure obligations that you might face, and how you can capitalize on the opportunities these obligations present to drive business value; and a session on LinkedIn for Business: Capitalizing on LinkedIn where Monique Macarico, a social media marketing specialist will show you the potential of doing business and marketing through LinkedIn.

For a PDF summary brochure on the conference, click here.
The CHHMA Annual General Meeting will take place during the morning period and includes a review of the Association’s state of affairs and progress as well as election of new board members.

As mentioned, during the conference luncheon, this year’s nominees for the Hardware & Housewares Industry Hall of Fame - Mr. Jerry Cayne, Founder & President of Cayne’s Super Housewares and Mr. Louis-Marie Garant, Founder & President (Retired) of Garant Industries will be inducted into the Hall of Fame.

Pre-registration for the 44th Annual CHHMA Ontario Golf Tournament, happening on Tuesday, May 28 at the Angus Glen Golf Club, will also take place during the Spring Conference & AGM. Further notice and registration forms on this will be going out at the start of April.

For full details on the Spring Conference & AGM and to register, click here.

We look forward to seeing you there on April 10th. 

CHHMA Members Pick Up Key Tips in Maximizing Accounts Receivables  
Debt recovery litigation experts from the Cambridge law firm were on hand last week to conduct a seminar for a group of CHHMA members on how to maximize accounts receivable collections.
Those in attendance left the seminar with improved knowledge on how they can better avoid and reduce account receivable issues and bad debts and the legal means available to companies to obtain optimal results/settlements including some very new legislation.

Further to the seminar, the CHHMA is now in the process of setting up a new Accounting/Finance peer network group similar to the CORE (senior executives), SMART (senior sales managers) and HR Managers network groups that meet on a quarterly basis now to discuss common issues affecting their businesses and ways of dealing with them.

If you would be interested in attending a future seminar on Maximizing Accounts Receivable Collections or other accounting related subjects and/or would be interested in joining the Accounting/Finance network group, please email Maureen Hizaka at

CHHMA Offers Training Seminars on Microsoft Outlook 2010  
Would you like to know how to take full advantage of using Microsoft Outlook? Then consider attending hands-on training on Microsoft Outlook 2010 provided by Canada’s leading corporate training company – ctc TrainCanada (a Microsoft partner).

The CHHMA is pleased to offer our members two duplicate three-hour training sessions on Wednesday, April 24th at ctc Train Canada’s Mississauga facility at 201 City Centre Drive. The morning session will run from 9:00 a.m. to noon and the afternoon session from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Material to be covered during the training includes:

Navigation (use of the mini toolbar), organizational tools (quick steps, alerts wizard, configuring junk email options), email features (advanced mail options, using signature and themes, recall and delay messages etc.), calendar options (customizing calendar screen and categories, adding holidays and time zones, using schedule view, scheduling and requesting meetings, sharing a calendar, creating calendar groups), data management (using archive folders, manual and autoarchive) and advanced contact features.

There is a maximum of 15 persons per session so sign-up soon while spots are still available!

For further details and to register for the training sessions, click here.

Register for Maple Leaf Night in Las Vegas – May 7th at the Mirage     
Maple Leaf Night is taking place this year on the evening of Tuesday, May 7, 2013 at the Mirage Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. This popular social event is open to CHHMA members and Canadian customers in town for the National Hardware Show (May 7-9).

The reception is always a great way to wind down after the first day of the show and is an opportunity to mix and mingle with fellow CHHMA members and Canadian retailers over cocktails and hors d-oeuvres while enjoying the bond of being Canadian.

To help support this event and promote your company, consider being a co-sponsor for Maple Leaf Night. The cost for sponsorship is $700 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 $95 CDN. Regular individual tickets are $160 CDN or $200 CDN at the door. Retailers/customers are invited to attend complimentary on behalf of the sponsors.
Click here for further details and to register for the event, including sponsorship. So come join us in Vegas!

Register Now for CHHMA Quebec Golf Classic – May 23rd       
Registration is now open for the 38th Quebec Golf Classic which is taking place once again at Le Club de golf Le Fontainebleau in Blainville, Quebec on Thursday, May 23 (11:00 a.m. shotgun start).

The cost to attend is $325 for CHHMA members, $375 for non-members and includes brunch, golf, cart, dinner and wine. You can also purchase dinner only tickets for $110. All prices include GST.

In order to hold this event, we also depend on hole sponsorship support. For a cost of $325, you get your company name on signage at a hole, registration and dinner as well as a mention by the emcee.

For further details and to register (registration is restricted to 144 golfers, so sign-up soon!), click here:   French     English

So make plans now to attend this fun industry outing with your colleagues or customers and hope to see you there on May 23rd!

Night at the Races Taking Place on June 12th
The 17th Annual CHHMA Night at the Races is scheduled for the evening of Wednesday, June 12th at the Woodbine Racetrack in Toronto.

This fun night offers an opportunity to invite your fellow employees, customers and spouses out for an evening of great dining, exciting thoroughbred horse racing and a chance to win prizes.

We hold this event in the Favourites Dining Room, which offers a spectacular view of the track from any table while you sample from the mouth watering buffet. TVs are located at each table so you can keep up with all the action. 

Further details and registration information will be made available in the coming weeks, but in the meantime, mark your calendars for June 12th.

Industry News

Canadian Tire Opens Up New Digital Development Lab for the ‘Retail of the Future’

Canadian Tire announced last Thursday that is has opened up a new digital development lab in order to invent new technology and develop new applications for ‘retail of the future’. 

The new digital development lab is actually a partnership with Kitchener-Waterloo-based Communitech, an organization best known for fostering young companies and recent graduates looking to become the Next Big Thing.

Communitech is currently home to roughly 100 startups and small businesses, as well as a number of “strategics;” partner companies such as Google Inc., Intel Corp. and BlackBerry Ltd., that maintain a presence in the organization’s innovation hub alongside startups, offering advice and mentorship, as well as opportunities for partnerships.

Canadian Tire announced it will have five full time employees on site in Kitchener and is working in dedicated space within the Communitech 'hub' to improve the shopping experience online and in-store for customers using 'next in class' advancements in digital technology.

"Canadian Tire has decided that digital is - and will be - a core strategic differentiator in retail," said Marco Marrone, Chief Operating Officer for Canadian Tire. "We have been on a digital journey for several years now - and it is clear that to succeed we need strong capabilities in digital and technology. Our Communitech partnership puts us deep inside the smartest brain trust in Canada and will deliver the 'next in class' thinking that we need to lead the retail industry and deliver a better customer experience."

"Where we used to focus on large-scale technology builds, we're now capitalizing on investments we, and others, have already made and are implementing technology much more quickly," concluded Marrone. "We have built an internal team and our app lab will explore and deliver consumer applications that support our digital vision."

“This is about acting like a startup, and what better way than to be rubbing shoulders with startups?” Mr. Roman said.

“We’ll have people on the ground permanently who can build relationships and can act as our representatives. It’s like an embassy, but it’s really about creating a two-way dialogue around new possibilities.”

It is part of a broad leap into the digital realm this year for the veteran retailer, which famously killed its online shopping website in 2009 because of low productivity. Since then it has been trying to find a modern way to broaden its loyalty program — beyond Canadian Tire money — to track its customers’ buying habits, and has no uniform system to track inventory in its stores without a confirmed visual check.

“We are looking at the future, where the industry is moving to, and how are we at the forefront versus the back side of this thing,” said Mr. Marrone.

“We know that digital will be a big component of how we will go to market in the future.”

It is also a dire necessity as Canadian Tire strives to keep its share of the market in the face of larger and more sophisticated players including Target and Walmart. The programs ideally aim to boost the inconsistent shopping experience at the company’s network of 490 dealer-owned stores.

The company already has a strong digital base to build on however, as Canadian Tire was the most visited retail website in Canada with more than 100 million visits in 2012; it has a popular retail app and an e-flyer that has had more than 20 million views.

Canadian Tire began taking tentative steps towards a more digital future by beginning to sell tires online in 2011, and launched a website of how-to videos using Canadian Tire products that same year. The retailer has also been piloting a program in eastern Canada to integrate its Canadian Tire money with a loyalty card to track customer shopping habits like loyalty customers of other retailers.

A new digital hub launching in early April 2013 will seamlessly integrate Canadian Tire's vast product assortment with a robust social news feed and classic 'catalogue' and 'magazine' style content that celebrates user-generated content and profiles of life in Canada. Digital advancements in other CTC business units, like FGL, are also advancing the Company's overall digital strategy. Sport Chek has opened a 'living lab,' the most advanced digital retail space in North America on Yonge Street in Toronto, with more than 140 screens in less than 12,000 square feet that are pulling from more than 70 custom content feeds.

In May and June, Canadian Tire also plans to rollout 5,000 tablet devices to its stores for customers to look up products and information on site.

The new platform will include a “fast find” app on all handheld devices for employees aimed at eliminating one of the more aggravating hurdles shoppers and staffers face — locating the items they want.

“The [app] identifies the location of every [item] in a store,” Mr. Marrone said. “One of the things we know from our research is that when customers look through our stores, and cannot find a product — that is, they believe we are out of stock — 70% of the time, that inventory is in the store.”

All employees will be trained extensively on how to use the new systems, Mr. Marrone said. The hub, called the Canadian Way, will offer detailed product information and videos, how-to tips, and a social networking component allowing customers to comment on products. “Our vision is that there is one content hub that supplies information to everyone, including staff and customers.” It will also include an online forum for consumers to upload anecdotes, pictures and videos, much like the portal on Tim Hortons’ website.

The next digital leap for the corporation will be a cautious launch back into online shopping in the late third or early fourth quarter of this year, Mr. Marrone said. But this time the retailer will use stores as the distribution points rather than using a centralized fulfillment warehouse for web sales.

Source: Canadian Tire, The Financial Post

Walmart Expands iPhone “Scan & Go" Program
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. said last week that it is tripling the number of U.S. stores in a pilot program that lets shoppers scan items with their iPhones and pay at self-checkout counters.

Wal-Mart’s “Scan & Go” program will soon be in more than 200 stores, up from about 70. The pilot began near its home office in Bentonville, Arkansas in late 2012 and then expanded to Atlanta.

While the program is tripling in size, for now it will be in only a small fraction of Wal-Mart’s more than 4,000 U.S. stores.

“We want our customer feedback to dictate the experience,” Gibu Thomas, senior vice-president of mobile and digital at Wal-Mart Global eCommerce, said. “You’ll see this roll out to more markets.”

For now, Scan & Go only works on Apple Inc. devices. An Android version should be out soon, Wal-Mart said.

With more than half of its shoppers using smartphones, Wal-Mart is trying to make shopping more convenient for shoppers who embrace mobile technology. More than half of the customers who have tried the Scan & Go feature have used it more than once, Mr. Thomas said.

Shoppers scan bar codes on items they want to buy, using the Wal-Mart app on their iPhone, iPod touch or iPad to keep track of the planned purchases and the total cost. Then they pay at a self-checkout screen, bypassing the typical registers.

As it expands the pilot test of Scan & Go, Wal-Mart is also adding self-checkout lanes to many more stores. Right now, about 1,500 stores have self-checkout lanes, and another 1,000 to 1,500 stores should get them this year, said Jeff McAllister, senior vice-president of Wal-Mart U.S. Innovations.

Wal-Mart is bringing Scan & Go into a dozen more markets: Denver, Phoenix, Omaha, Dallas, Austin, Oklahoma City, Tulsa, Wyoming, Montana, Seattle, San Jose and Portland.

Users can get an electronic receipt along with a paper one. Wal-Mart has hinted digital coupons may be coming soon.

Scan & Go users pay in the traditional way, not via apps on their devices. The company declined to comment further on mobile payment possibilities.

Last year, Wal-Mart and other retailers joined together to develop Merchant Customer Exchange, a mobile payment network to try to match similar services from Google Inc. and eBay Inc., among others. No details have emerged on the project.

Source: Reuters

Wolf Gugler & Associates Web Site Survey Shows Positive Hiring Outlook

Executive recruitment firm Wolf Gugler & Associates, Limited, with offices in the US and Canada, conducted an online poll asking the question, "What's your company's 2013 hiring outlook?” Results showed that:

• 59% of the over 200 respondents to date replied “hiring key people"
• 31% replied "remaining status quo”
• 10% replied “downsizing our workforce”  

“This supports what we’ve seen so far in 2013”, President Wolf Gugler said. The poll was open to individuals throughout North America and as such isn’t specific to either the U.S. or Canadian labor markets but reinforces what has tended to be a mostly positive hiring outlook for this year. “Companies are retaining us to add professional staff to their head count. Many companies who’ve been trying to get by with fewer resources are now having to add layers back into their organizations to support increased retailer and consumer purchases. It’s great to note that most of our searches this year are additions to headcount vs. replacing underperformers. In my twenty-plus years in the talent management field this is typical after the downturn bottoms out. In many cases, companies’ Customers demanding better service from their suppliers results in a hiring upturn and that appears to be where we currently are”.

“We will continue to poll our clients and candidates to provide up to date statistics on hiring trends this year; I’m optimistic that this trend will continue throughout this year”, Gugler said in a news release.

Established in 1997, Wolf Gugler & Associates is the pre-eminent retained search firm offering executive recruitment, outplacement and confidential recruitment advertising services for both large and entrepreneurial Retailers and their Suppliers throughout North America and the Caribbean. Client personnel changes involving external recruitment are handled with integrity, confidentiality and expediency leading to success in each and every instance.

For more information contact Wolf Gugler, President at or visit

Best Business Practices
The 5 Principles of Leadership, Part II
This is the second part of a series of three blogs on the subject of leadership from futurist Richard Worzel, C.F.A., a past speaker at CHHMA conferences and seminars.

Third Principle: A leader places the organization’s goals above her own, and pushes her followers to improve. Why do you lead? Is it to accomplish a specific goal? Or is it to feed your ego? If the latter, then you’re running a personality cult, and you probably don’t want to help your followers get better for fear they’ll surpass or challenge you.
Click here to continue reading: 

Economic News
RBC: Fewer Canadians Plan to Buy a Home Over Next Two Years             

Fewer Canadians are planning to purchase a home in the next two years, but four in ten of those will be first-time homebuyers, according to a RBC study released Tuesday.

The 20th Annual RBC Home Ownership Poll found that a majority of Canadians taking a wait-and-see approach to home purchases, with only 15% likely to buy in the next two years, down from 27% last year. The 12-percentage-point drop is the biggest year-over-year fall in overall buying intention as tracked by this annual poll.

Meanwhile, results indicated that four-in-10 Canadians (40%) planning to enter the housing market over the next two years will be first-time homebuyers.

“The more cautious mood this year is not surprising and is consistent with broader economic and industry forecasts. An unseasonably warm spring, low rates and anticipation of mortgage rule changes may have led many Canadians to move forward their home purchases in the first half of 2012," said Sean Amato-Gauci, senior vice-president, Home Equity Financing, RBC. "Our findings suggest confidence in the housing market is still high and young Canadians are the bright spot as they look to buy their first home and seek the advice to do it right.”

A majority of Canadians (84%) believe that a house or condominium is a good investment. Just over half of Canadians think that now is the time to get into the housing market (52%), while fewer Canadians believe house prices will be higher at this time next year (43%, down from 47% in 2012). More Canadians in 2013 feel that the current housing market is in balance (40%, up from 36% last year).

What factors are sidelining buyers?

•The RBC poll found that three-quarters (75%) of Canadians feel that recent government changes to mortgage rules will impact or delay prospective homebuyers from getting into the market, but this may be more perception than reality. The poll also showed almost six-in-10 recent and prospective homebuyers say that a required minimum 5% down payment (59%) and a shortened mortgage amortization period to 25 years from 30 years (56%) had little to no impact.

•Nearly half of Canadians (49%) expect mortgage rates will be the same at this time next year.

•Consistent with consumer trends, almost half (46%) of first-time homebuyers cite affordability as a top reason for not buying (47% in 2012). Meanwhile saving for a down payment (32%, up from 18% a year ago) and job security (28%, up from 20% a year ago) have taken on increased importance this year.

Given mixed sentiment in the Canadian housing market, the majority of Canadian homebuyers seek qualified advice in their home purchases. Three quarters of Canadian homebuyers (76%) turn to their banker for mortgage advice and four-in-10 (40%) say a bank is their primary source of information for advice on financing a home purchase, either by speaking to them directly or using their websites and calculators.

Highlights from across Canada:
Atlantic Canadians (91%) and residents in Manitoba and Saskatchewan (89%) are the least likely Canadians to purchase a house in the next two years, while British Columbians are the only region where a majority describe the current market as a buyer's market (where buyers have the advantage because the number of houses available exceeds the number of buyers).

British Columbia:
British Columbians are evenly divided on whether it makes sense to buy a house now (51%) or wait until next year (49%). One-in-five British Columbians (20%) say they are likely to purchase a home within the next two years as residents in this province were more likely than any other Canadian region to forecast lower housing prices in the next year (38%, national: 24%).

Nearly nine-in-10 Albertans (89%) surveyed say buying a house or condo is a good investment, higher than the national average (84%), even as home buying intentions have dropped from a year ago (22%, compared with 31%). Almost half of Albertans (49%) feel their current housing market is balanced, compared to the national average of 40%.

The majority of residents in Manitoba and Saskatchewan (56%) say it makes more sense to wait until next year to buy a home, in contrast to the national average that believes it makes sense to buy a home now given current housing and economic conditions (52%). Still, 88% say buying a house or condo is a good investment.

While a majority of Ontarians (86%) do not expect to buy a home in the next two years, almost as many (83%) feel that a home or condo is a good investment. Given current housing prices and economic conditions, more than half of Ontarians (52%) say it makes more sense to buy now, while 48% prefer to wait until next year.

While a majority of Quebecers (87%) surveyed do not expect to buy a home in the next two years, they also believe that a home or condo is a good investment (84%). Given current housing prices, Quebecers were almost evenly split between saying it makes more sense to buy a house now (49%) versus waiting until next year (52%). 

Atlantic Canada:
Given current housing prices and economic conditions, Atlantic Canadians are the most likely in the country to say it makes sense to buy now (64%), rather than wait until next year (36%). Confidence in the investment value of a home remains high in Atlantic Canada (81%), just below the overall Canadian sentiment (84%).

The 20th Annual RBC Home Ownership Poll was conducted online by Ipsos Reid from Jan. 31 to Feb. 8 from a randomly selected sample of 3,005 Canadian adults, and is considered accurate within +/-3.0 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

Source: RBC

Canadian Retail Sales Rise in January on Strength of Autos
Statistics Canada reported last Thursday that retail sales in Canada rose 1.0% in January to $38.9 billion, after a drop in December.

The agency said gains were reported in 7 of 11 subsectors, representing 52% of total retail trade. The increase was led by higher sales at motor vehicle and parts dealers.

In volume terms, retail sales were flat during the month.

Year-over-year, retail sales (seasonally adjusted) are down 0.1% from January 2012.

Sales at motor vehicle and parts dealers rose 2.8% in January (-2.3% year-over-year), partially offsetting the 6.5% decline in December. Higher receipts at new car dealers (+2.4%) accounted for most of this gain. Used car dealers (+5.3%) reported higher sales for a third straight month.

General merchandise stores reported a 2.8% monthly increase (-0.5% y/y). Department stores sales advanced 11.5%. Despite this gain, sales in this store type have been on a downward trend since the middle of 2012. Sales at other general merchandise stores declined 3.5%.

Miscellaneous store retailers reported a 9.4% gain in January, the fourth increase in five months. Stores in this subsector include office supplies and stationery stores, gift stores and pet supplies stores.

Sales at clothing and clothing accessories stores rose 1.2% (-0.1% y/y), a second consecutive monthly gain. Higher sales at clothing stores led the gain, rising 1.7%. Shoe stores (-0.5%) and jewellery, luggage and leather goods stores (-0.3%) reported sales declines in January.

Following double-digit fluctuations in November and December, sales at electronics and appliance stores rose 2.3% in January but are down 7.2% from a year ago.

The largest decline occurred at gasoline stations (-1.4%), where sales decreased for a third consecutive month, although sales are flat year-over-year.

Food and beverage store sales decreased 0.4%, mainly reflecting lower sales at supermarkets and other grocery stores (-0.8%). Following eight straight monthly gains, sales at speciality food stores declined 2.8% in January. Beer, wine and liquor store sales increased 2.2%, more than offsetting the decline in December. This gain coincided with the resumption of the NHL season. Year-over year, sales at food and beverage stores are up 1.5%.

Sales at furniture and home furnishing stores were up 1.1% in January and 1.8% from January 2012.

Sales at building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers were down 0.7% during the month (-0.1% y/y).

Retail sales rose in six provinces in January. Quebec (+2.1%) reported the largest increase in dollar terms, in part a result of higher sales at motor vehicle and parts dealers.

Following two consecutive monthly declines, retailers in Alberta registered a 1.3% sales gain.

The 0.5% rise in sales in Ontario did not offset the decrease in December.

B.C. retail sales advanced 1.0%, nearly offsetting the decline in December. Sales in this province have been relatively flat since the middle of 2012.

The largest decline in dollar terms occurred in Nova Scotia (-0.3%).

Canadian Wholesale Sales Increase 0.3% in January
Statistics Canada said last week that wholesale sales in Canada rose by 0.3% in January to $49.0 billion. The increase was mainly a result of higher sales in the computer and communications equipment and supplies industry.
In volume terms, wholesale sales were up 0.5% in January.

In January, 4 of 7 subsectors, accounting for about two-thirds of wholesale sales, reported gains.

Sales in the machinery, equipment and supplies subsector rose 3.2%, almost offsetting the decline observed in December. January's advance reflects an 8.0% increase in the sales of the computer and communications equipment and supplies industry, which posted its largest gain since April 2008. For the third consecutive month, this industry was the main contributor to sales movement at the national level. This coincided with the release of new products at the end of 2012.

The second-largest increase was in the personal and household goods subsector (+1.0%). The key contributors to January's advance were the toiletries, cosmetics and sundries industry and the textiles, clothing and footwear industry.

Sales were up 0.7% in the food, beverages and tobacco subsector, its first monthly increase in three months. All three component industries of this subsector reported gains.

These increases were partly offset by a 2.8% decline in the motor vehicle and parts subsector, its fifth decrease since July 2012. January's decline in sales reflected a 3.4% decrease in the motor vehicle industry.

Sales were up in nine provinces in January.

Most of the sales growth in dollars was concentrated in Quebec, where sales rose 2.2%, the first advance in three months. Wholesalers in the province posted higher sales in the personal and household goods subsector and the food, beverage and tobacco subsector.

In Western Canada, Saskatchewan (+1.2%) recorded the largest increase, as a result of higher sales in the agricultural supplies industry, which accounts for about 35% of wholesale sales in the province.

The four Atlantic provinces posted gains, with Newfoundland and Labrador (+4.3%) registering the largest growth in sales.

Ontario was the lone province that posted a decrease in sales. Wholesale sales were down 0.5% in January, the fifth decrease since July 2012. The declines were largely a result of lower sales in the motor vehicle industry.

Wholesale inventories rose 1.2% in January to $61.5 billion. Inventories were up in 18 of the 25 industries.

The largest increases in dollar terms were in the inventories of the personal goods industry (+10.4%) and the construction, forestry, mining and industrial machinery, equipment and supplies industry (+1.5%).

The inventory-to-sales ratio rose to 1.25 in January.

Canadian Consumer Confidence Up Slightly in March
Canadian Consumer Confidence recovered slightly in March after falling quite sharply during the previous month.

According to the latest consumer confidence survey conducted by TNS, the Canadian Consumer Confidence Index regained a single point, edging back up to 96.5 after falling from 99.1 to 95.5 in February.
"Canadians' confidence in our economy experienced a slight bounce in March after a very hard fall in February. The slight increase tends to be more reflective of a collective uncertainty as to what's going to happen next, as opposed to more optimistic thinking for the future." explained Norman Baillie-David, Senior Vice President of TNS in Canada and Director of the Marketing and Social Research firm's monthly tracking study.

"March's results are showing that Canadians have mixed feelings: they're feeling better about their situation right now, but aren't sure about what's coming down the pipe, which makes the contents of [the] Federal budget all the more important. Many of those who felt very pessimistic last month, bringing the index down, have taken a deep breath and seen February's bad economic news hasn't affected them personally all that much; but they're reserving judgement for the future."

The Present Situation Index, which measures how people feel about the economy right now, which plunged almost six full points in February, rebounded the strongest amongst the three sub-indices in March, gaining back 3.4 points and rising from 93.9 back to 97.3, reflecting a collective sigh of relief.

The Expectations Index, which measures people's outlook for the economy six months from now, remained relatively flat again in March, dropping 0.7 points from 101.8 to 101.1, which in fact should be interpreted as no drop at all in statistical terms. This shows that even though Canadians feel somewhat more confident about their present situation, it's translating into optimism for the foreseeable future.

The Buy Index, which measures the extent to which Canadians feel that now is a good time to purchase a "big ticket item" such as a car or a major household appliance, also remained flat in March after dropping 3.6 points in February.

"With the housing market still retreating and with news of an impending Federal budget (being tabled today), Canadians are holding their cards close to their chest with regards to their spending plans. This may be a worrying sign for the consumer durables and home renovation retail sectors, as Spring usually tends to lift spirits as Canadians buy new homes and/or spruce up their existing homes with new appliances and home renovation projects. How Canadians react to the Budget with regard to their spending plans will be crucial for consumer confidence going forward," added Mr. Baillie-David.

A total of 1,015 nationally representative Canadian adults were interviewed between March 11 and March 14, 2013 for the latest survey.

To see a full copy of the report with charts, go to:

Source: TNS

U.S. Home Prices Rise More Than Expected in January
U.S. home prices rose more than expected during January from a year earlier, the biggest increase since the summer of 2006, according to Standard & Poor's Case-Shiller home-price indexes released yesterday.

"This marks the highest increase since the housing bubble burst," said David Blitzer, chairman of S&P's index committee.

During January, the Case-Shiller index of 10 major metropolitan areas was up 0.2% and the 20-city index increased 0.1% from December. However, on a seasonally adjusted basis, the indexes both rose 1%.

On a year-on-year basis, the 10-city index grew 7.3%. The 20-city index improved 8.1%, above recent expectations of economists polled by Thomson Reuters for an increase of 7.9%.

Low mortgage rates, a reduction in foreclosures and a shrinking inventory of homes on the market, along with an improving economy, have been supporting a gradual housing-market recovery.

Still, the two indexes remain off 29% to 30% from their June/July 2006 peaks through January.

On a year-on-year basis, 20 cities recorded growth in home prices, with eight posting double-digit increases on a percentage basis. All the cities in the index except Detroit recorded a stronger pace of year-on-year price increases for the month. Meanwhile, New York-area home prices turned slightly higher, up 0.6%, after declining for 28 consecutive months.

Markets that were hard hit by the housing bust have been among those with the strongest growth lately. During January, Phoenix posted the biggest increase, at 23%. Las Vegas home prices were up 15%.

Though closely followed by economists and the markets, the Case-Shiller index is a lagging indicator of values - a moving average now two months old.

Source: Dow Jones Newswires

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Wednesday, April 3,2013
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Thursday, May 23, 2013
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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

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