Member Login
Forgot Password


Volume 12, Issue 40, October 24, 2012

Inside This Issue:

CHHMA to Offer Educational Seminar on “iPad in Business”
Register for Industry Cocktail (December 13th in Montreal) 
CHHMA Looking for Volunteers to Join Committees  
TD Bank to Acquire Target’s Credit Card Portfolio  
Hudson’s Bay Company Files for IPO
Retail Council Takes Language Battle to Quebec Court Over Store Signs
WRLA Prairie Showcase Buying Show Moving to Calgary in 2015
Bank of Canada Holds Rate, Concerned about Household Debt
Retail Sales Edge Up in August but Volumes Drop
Wholesale Sales Pick Up in August
Canada’s Inflation Rate Remains at 1.2% 
BMO: One in Four Businesses Plan to Hire Next Year  

Association News

CHHMA to Offer Educational Seminar on “iPad in Business”
The CHHMA will be holding an educational seminar on Wednesday, November 28, 2012, 8:30 to 11:00 a.m. for CHHMA members on using the iPad in business. The location of the seminar will be confirmed shortly but it will be held near the Toronto airport.

The seminar will be conducted by Jimmy Fuda, a technical consultant from Apple Canada. Topics to be covered include iPad/iPhone integration – connecting to VPNs, wireless, Microsoft Exchange (for emails, calendar, contacts etc.), security (hardware, software, network), mobile device management, deploying apps, developer programs and volume purchases.
Who should attend? Anyone thinking of purchasing an iPad - Anyone who currently uses an iPad and/or iPhone and is not getting full use out of it - Managers looking to replace or complement laptops for their teams - Salespeople thinking of using an iPad versus a computer - IT personnel in charge of connectivity and security.

If you would like to attend, please click here for a PDF registration form or visit Online registration will be available in the next few days.

Register for Industry Cocktail (December 13th in Montreal)    
This year’s Industry Cocktail will be taking place on Thursday, December 13, 2012 at the W MONTRÉAL HOTEL, 901 Square Victoria, close to picturesque Old Montreal, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts and the city's world-class downtown.

W Montréal is a stylish luxury hotel located in the city's historic Bank of Canada building. It was winner of the Condé Nast Traveller UK's coveted Best New Hotel award and a 2010 Fodor's Choice distinction selection.

For further information and/or to register, please click on the following links: French Registration         English Registration


CHHMA Looking for Volunteers to Join Committees 
The CHHMA is looking for individuals to join any of our several working committees such as our Social and Business Events Committees, Spring Conference & AGM Committee and Quebec Committee. Participation on one of these committees not only provides an opportunity to network with peers in the industry but also allows you to have a direct influence of the running in the Association and the value and benefits offered to the members.

Time participating on one of the committees is not extensive and lets you give back to the industry. The more volunteers that we have, will only increase the effectiveness of the Association for all members.

If you would like to join a committee or would like further information, please contact Maureen Hizaka at 416-282-0022 ext. 23 or

Industry News
TD Bank to Acquire Target’s Credit Card Portfolio   
Target Corp. said on Tuesday that it has struck a deal to sell its credit card portfolio to TD Bank, two years after it first said it wanted to sell the business.

TD Bank will pay an amount equal to the gross value of the outstanding receivables when the deal closes. Right now, the gross value is about $5.9 billion U.S.

Under the seven-year agreement, TD will acquire more than 5 million active Visa and private label accounts and will underwrite, fund and own future Target credit card and Target Visa receivables in the U.S. TD will control risk management policies and regulatory compliance, while Target will keep handling account servicing functions.

The deal, subject to regulatory approval and other closing conditions, is expected to close during the first half of 2013, the companies said.

“Our agreement with Target will significantly expand our presence in the North American credit card business,” said Ed Clark, TD Bank CEO. “We’re excited to be working with Target’s strong team and leading retail brand. This asset purchase aligns perfectly with our risk profile and strategy.”

Target said its third-quarter earnings would reflect a pre-tax gain of about $150 million U.S. as it changes the accounting treatment of its receivables from “held for investment” to “held for sale.”

The retailer expects to recognize an additional pre-tax gain of $350 million to $450 million when the deal closes.

Target plans to use about 90% of the proceeds from the deal to reduce its net debt position, and use the remaining funds to repurchase its shares over time.

Hudson’s Bay Company Files for IPO   
Hudson’s Bay Company plans to go public in an initial offering that sources expect could raise as much as $400 to $500 million by selling off approx. 20% of the company.

Last Wednesday, HBC filed a preliminary prospectus with Canadian regulatory authorities ahead of a planned IPO of its common shares. The offering will be led by RBC Capital Markets, BMO Capital Markets, CIBC and Bank of America Merril Lynch.

Canada’s oldest retail company last traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange in 2006 when it was then purchased by South Carolina billionaire Jerry Zucker from public investors. Richard Baker, the current U.S. owner of the 342 year old company, bought it from Mr. Zucker in 2008 when it also included the Zellers and Fields chains, and planned to take HBC public last year but was delayed amid sluggish markets and little appetite for IPOs.

HBC has since sold off the bulk of Zellers’ leases to Target for $1.8 billion last year and closed down Fields, the 169 store chain in rural Western Canada earlier this year. The company now includes 90 Bay department stores, which have been undergoing a dramatic refurbishment under the leadership of president Bonnie Brooks, 69 Home Outfitters stores and 48 Lord & Taylor department stores located in the U.S.

According the HBC’s filing, the retailer’s financial results weakened in the first half of this year compared to the previous year, although the latest period included a $50.2 million one-time charge for the winding up of Zellers and Fields. In the 26 weeks to July 28, the company’s loss widened to $53.6 million from $34.4 million a year earlier, while sales rose to $1.76 billion from $1.65 billion.

HBC said winding down Zellers will reduce its annual operating costs by $60 million by the end of fiscal 2013 due to lower IT and occupancy costs, but it expects to have restructuring costs of $20 million to $25 million for the remainder of the wind down.

In fiscal 2011, net earnings were $1.45 billion, up from profit of $88 million in 2010 and a loss of $18 million in 2009. Overall sales grew to $3.9 billion in 2011 from $3.6 billion in 2009. Same-store sales rose 6.8% at Hudson’s Bay and 7.1% at Lord & Taylor in fiscal 2011 compared with fiscal 2010 and the company has also managed to grow its sales per square foot, though it still operates below the North American average by that measure.

According to the prospectus, the company has spent $212 million in the past three years renovating its department stores.

Looking ahead, HBC says it will beef up its assortment of private brands to 15% of merchandise from a current level of 9%. It will also focus on a strategy of adding more hot brands to its stores in addition to a fashion-forward “Stores within a store” such as Michael Kors, Chanel and Topshop.

Retail Council Takes Language Battle to Quebec Court Over Store Signs
The Quebec chapter of the Retail Council of Canada (RCC), on behalf of a half-dozen of Canada’s best-known retailers, is taking Quebec’s language police to court next month over demands that they change their names and store signage so that it is more welcoming to the province’s French-speaking majority.

The RCC is taking action in Quebec Superior Court on behalf of Best Buy Canada, Costco Wholesale Canada, Gap Canada, Old Navy, Guess Canada and Walmart Canada. They will be challenging what they contend is a frivolous interpretation of Quebec’s language laws after a campaign launched in November 2011 to ensure company signs and names complied with the rules.

“The legislation in question . . . has not changed for 35 years. What has caused consternation is this new interpretation of the (Office québécois de la langue française),” said Diane Brisebois, president of the Retail Council of Canada. “What shocked everybody is that it’s not reflective of what the office has been asking companies to do over the last 35 years.”

When the compliance campaign began last fall, letters began arriving in the mail and inspectors started showing up at stores with options for companies to adhere to the law.

The businesses were told they could register a French version of their name, turning a sign that reads “Best Buy” into something like “Meilleur Achat.” Another option was to add a descriptive French word to the store signs in Quebec, supplementing the English name with a larger French version or attaching a French slogan beneath the English name.

Other companies have complied in the past. The Bay, in Quebec, is La Baie. Scotiabank is Banque Scotia. Mountain Equipment Co-op store signs include the tag line, “la coopérative de plein air” (the outdoor co-operative).

But many businesses along Montreal’s bustling Ste-Catherine St. will be closely watching the outcome of the court challenge, which will be heard on Nov. 22. Many French-speaking residents of the province will be watching, too.

Statistics released by the Office québécois de la langue française, indicate that 46 per cent of the more than 4,000 complaints it received in 2011-12 were related to store signage, and 64 per cent of those complaints were made in Montreal.

The recent provincial election campaign, which brought Premier Pauline Marois’s sovereigntist Parti Québécois to power, featured a vigorous debate about the increasing use of English in stores and promises to toughen French-first language laws.

The Quebec national assembly has not yet reconvened, but PQ ministers are already talking about laws to block francophones from attending English-language junior colleges, known as CEGEPs, scrapping English-language instruction for the early years of primary school so that students can focus on reading and writing in French, and applying the language law, known as Bill 101, to daycares.

Yet it was under former premier Jean Charest’s Liberal government that the new push by the language police began. Brisebois said the PQ had, if anything, been eager to find a solution, acknowledging the fact that all the companies have been operating in Quebec for years, they hire French-speaking employees and they have always tried to respect the law.

“I think some of them wanted to understand how this had all happened,” she said.

Now that the case is headed to court, all talk of compromise is off.

“The word ‘middle ground’ is probably not appropriate, because the point of going before a judge is to get clarity. After the judge rules, then the companies will have to determine the next step,” Brisebois said.

Martin Bergeron, a spokesman for the language watchdog, said concerns about English signage in Quebec predates the November 2011 compliance campaign.

“That’s the moment where we really put the issue out in the public in a more forceful way,” he said.

But in the political arena, Quebec’s provincial parties are lining up against the multinational corporations, and the French-first advocacy group Société St-Jean-Baptiste has called for a boycott of the popular chains to make them comply with provincial laws.

Liberal MNA Christine St-Pierre, Quebec’s former culture minister, recalled in an interview with Montreal’s La Presse last week that efforts to resolve the “priority” matter were in vain when she was in government. Suggestions that the firms add a generic French term to their English names were rebuffed.

“We weren’t asking them to lose their identity,” she said.

But Brisebois said the companies are fighting for the principle of a fair application of Quebec law versus one that they see as frivolous.

“It’s one thing to say, ‘We’d like you to do it.’ It’s another thing to say, ‘That’s how we’re interpreting the law now,’ ” she said. “When you’re saying this is how you’re interpreting the law now, you’re opening the door to a bunch of other interpretations.”

She also acknowledged the raw nerves that are often exposed when Quebecers get into a fight about language.

“What’s most important for these companies is for consumers to know that they respect them, that they invest heavily in Quebec and want to continue to grow in Quebec,” Brisebois said. “That is an important message that has not been heard loud and clear but certainly will be in the weeks to come.”

Source: The Globe & Mail, The Toronto Star

WRLA Prairie Showcase Buying Show Moving to Calgary in 2015 
Last week the Western Retail Lumber Association Inc. (WRLA) announced that the Prairie Showcase Buying Show and Convention will be moving from Saskatoon to Calgary in 2015, 2016 and 2017. 

“As this event continues to expand not only in size but in relevance and scope, it made sense to bring it to Calgary,” said Gary Hamilton, President of the WRLA. “The event is an integral part of the WRLA and enables our members to effectively compete and grow their business in a rapidly changing business environment.”

The Prairie Showcase Buying Show and Convention is the largest show of its kind in Canada, with over 650 booths and over 265 exhibiting companies. The show attracts retailers in the lumber and home improvement industry from across Western Canada who attend for the excellent deals, new products and networking opportunities.     

Economic News
Bank of Canada Holds Rate, Concerned about Household Debt       

The Bank of Canada kept its overnight rate at 1% on Tuesday for the 25th consecutive month and left its economic outlook for the next few years largely unchanged. However, the central bank also said it will likely have to raise interest rates over time and highlighted soaring household debt as a concern that will influence the timing of its next move.

“Over time, some modest withdrawal monetary policy stimulus will likely be required, consistent with achieving the 2 per cent inflation target,” the Bank of Canada said in its latest policy statement. “The timing and degree of any such withdrawal will be weighed carefully against global and domestic developments, including the evolution of imbalances in the household sector.”

That last piece is the warning.

“That’s a new dimension, and hints that if household debt growth fails to slow, the bank might use rate hikes to tame it, even if the near term inflation outlook does not otherwise require such hikes,” said Avery Shenfeld, chief economist at CIBC World Markets.

“The bank has largely stuck with its watered-down tightening bias, with a slightly different mixture but the same overall message,” said Douglas Porter, deputy chief economist at BMO Capital Markets, in a research note. “The message is that rate cuts are simply not in their playbook, but also that rate hikes remain a distant prospect as well at this juncture.”

Overall, the tone of the release is more upbeat than the market was expecting, and their outlook on the economy is a tad more positive than the consensus for 2013. They also have hinted that if household debt doesn’t simmer down, they may well act pre-emptively. Simply put, this is a less dovish message than the market was anticipating. We continue to believe the next move in rates will be a hike in late 2013, roughly a year from now,” he added.

The central bank actually raised its forecast for economic growth in Canada slightly this year to 2.2% from July’s estimate of 2.1%, reflecting recent revisions of government data. For 2013, Canada’s GDP is expected to expand 2.3%, unchanged from its previous estimate, and 2.4% in 2014, down from 2.5%.

The bank said inflation has “fallen noticeably below” the 2% target “and is projected to return to target by the end of 2013, somewhat later than previously anticipated.”

The bank described the U.S. recovery as “progressing at a gradual pace,” and noted that Europe’s recession seems likely to continue, and said economic growth in China and other emerging markets has “slowed somewhat more than anticipated.”

“Global financial conditions have improved, supported by aggressive policy actions of major central banks, but sentiment remains fragile.”

In Canada, the economic expansion is “moderate,” as consumer spending and business investment offset feeble demand for exports, the Bank of Canada said. It predicts both factors would continue to support economic growth, even though housing activity should retreat from record levels. Household debt will likely rise further before “stabilizing” within a couple of years. “Following the recent period of below-potential growth, the economy is expected to pick up and return to full capacity by the end of 2013, the bank added.

Retail Sales Edge Up in August but Volumes Drop  
Statistics Canada reported on Tuesday that retail sales rose 0.3% to $39.1 billion in August but fell 0.3% in volume terms when you remove the price effects. Year-over-year, retail sales are up 2.7% from August 2011.
The sales increase, which was in line with expectations by economists, was led by a 2.9% rise at gasoline stations which reflected higher prices at the pump. Year-over-year, gasoline station sales are up 2.7%.

Sales gains were reported in 5 of 11 subsectors, representing 53% of total retail trade.

General merchandise store sales increased for a second consecutive month, rising 0.6% in August (+4.3% year-over-year). The “other general merchandise stores” industry led the gain, increasing 1.0%. Department store sales edged up 0.2% from July.

Sales at food and beverage stores were up 0.3% from July to August (+1.1% y/y), the third increase in four months. Higher sales at supermarkets and other grocery stores (+0.5%) accounted for most of the increase.

Sales in the building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers sector was down 0.4% from July with sales level from a year ago.

Receipts at motor vehicle and parts dealers edged down 0.2% during the month but remain 6.0% higher year-over-year.

Sales at furniture and home furnishings stores were down 0.1% from July but are up 2.2% over the past 12 months. Sales at electronics and appliance stores grew 0.1% from July but are down 4.3% from August 2011.

Sales decreased 0.8% at health and personal care stores in August but are up 2.9% year-over-year.

Sporting goods, hobby, book and music store sales advanced 1.0% in August (+2.8% y/y), more than offsetting declines in June and July.

Clothing and clothing accessories store sales decreased for a third month in a row, falling 1.1% but are 0.8% higher over the past year.

Retail sales rose in six provinces in August with Ontario (+0.6%) reporting the largest dollar gain after posting flat sales in July. B.C. registered a 0.9% sales decrease, the fifth decline in six months.

Wholesale Sales Pick Up in August     
Last Thursday, Statistics Canada reported that wholesale sales rose by 0.5% to $49.7 billion in August, following two consecutive monthly declines. Higher sales in the food, beverage and tobacco subsector, and the machinery, equipment and supplies subsector were the main contributors to the increase.

Year-over-year, wholesale sales are up 4.4%. In volume terms, wholesale sales were up 0.5% in August.

Food, beverage and tobacco sales rose 2.3% from July (+4.0% year-over-year), based solely on a 2.7% increase in the food industry, which posted its biggest increase since February 2010.

Machinery, equipment and supplies sales rose 1.4%, the fourth increase in five months, and are up 7.7% from August 2011.

Wholesale sales were off 1.9% in the miscellaneous subsector during the month (-4.8% y/y), the motor vehicles and parts subsector (-0.7%; +13.2% y/y) and the household goods subsector (-0.5%; -2.2% y/y/).

Wholesale sales of building materials and supplies were up 1.0% from July (+6.8% y/y), the 21st consecutive annualized increase.

Wholesale sales of lumber, millwork, hardware and other building materials were up 0.6% from July and 6.6% over the past 12 months.

Wholesale sales of electrical, plumbing, heating and air-conditioning equipment and supplies were up 1.6% from July and 1.1% year-over-year. Wholesale sales of metal service centres were up 1.0% monthly and 16.5% annually.

Sales rose in eight provinces in August, with Ontario, B.C. and Quebec accounting for most of the national increase.  

Canada’s Inflation Rate Remains at 1.2%      
Canada’s annual inflation rate was unchanged in September, as higher energy costs were offset by weaker prices for food and vehicle costs.

Overall, Statistics Canada said last Friday that consumer prices were up 1.2% last month from a year earlier, the same pace as August, and below economists’ forecasts of 1.3%. Consumer prices rose in every major component in the 12 months to September, except for clothing and footwear.

On a month-to-month basis, prices rose 0.2% as gasoline prices climbed 2.1% from August and clothing increased 6.2% as retailers unveiled their fall and winter merchandise.

For the annual inflation rate, the agency said an increase in prices for gasoline and electricity were the main contributors, but they were offset by declines in the cost of purchasing motor vehicles and women’s clothing.

Overall, energy prices grew 2.9% year-over-year, following a 0.8% increase in August. Excluding energy, the CPI rose 0.9%, after rising 1.4% in August.

Gasoline prices were 4.7% higher annually, up from 2.2% in August. Electricity costs rose 6%, up from the 3.4% annual increase in August.

There was still no sign of the impact of this summer’s drought in the U.S. and parts of Canada on overall food prices, which in September were a modest 1.6% higher than last year. On a month-to-month basis, food prices actually fell 1.1% in September, led by seasonal declines in fresh vegetables and fruit.

Consumers paid 1.4% more for household operations, furnishings and equipment in September compared to a year ago, up from 1.3% in August.

Transportation prices increased 1.6% in the 12 months to September, after an increase of 1.8% in August. September’s advance was led by the higher prices for gasoline. This was tempered by lower year-over-year price increases for the purchase of passenger vehicles.

Dampening inflation was natural gas prices which fell 14.2%, continuing a pattern of year-over-year declines since January 2011. Mortgage costs were 2.2% lower, video equipment prices fell 14.6%, and motor vehicle prices declined 1.8%.

The Bank of Canada’s core rate, which measures underlying price pressures by excluding volatile items such as gasoline, declined three-tenths of a point to 1.3% year-over-year. On a monthly basis, the seasonally adjusted core index was unchanged in September after rising 0.3% in August.

Across the country, consumer prices rose in all provinces, although 2% or below in all areas. Ontario and B.C. rose the least in September at 0.7%, while the CPI grew most in PEI (+2.0%), followed by Quebec (+1.9%), and Newfoundland and Labrador (+1.8%).

Friday’s report continues to “point to little threat of inflation in Canada,” said Derek Burleton, deputy chief economist at TD Economics. “While recent increases in natural gas prices are likely to exert some upward pressure on the CPI over the next few months, both overall and core rates of inflation are likely to remain sub 2% over the remainder of this year and into early 2013.”  

BMO: One in Four Businesses Plan to Hire Next Year                

A new hiring survey issued by the Bank of Montreal comes with a familiar old complaint: Good help is hard to find.

The survey released last Friday by BMO says 73% of Canadian business are confident looking ahead to 2013 and nearly one in four plan to increase the size of their workforce.

In fact, taking on new staff is a priority second only to upgrading and purchasing equipment, according to BMO’s Hiring Outlook Report.

Unfortunately, businesses that participated in the poll said the No. 1 one challenge they face is finding and retaining talented employees.

Nearly half of all Canadian businesses surveyed (47%) said it now is more difficult to attract talented employees than before the economic downturn.

Manufacturers in particular (60%) indicated that hiring talented people has become more difficult, while 58% of retailers said retaining talented employees has become harder since the recession.

Alberta businesses are the most likely to say it’s difficult to attract talented employees (63%), while those in Alberta and elsewhere on the Prairies are most likely to say retaining employees is the most difficult challenge (51%).

With the Canadian unemployment rate half a percentage point lower than the U.S. rate and four percentage points lower than the eurozone rate “Canadian job security is fairly good,” BMO senior economist Sal Guatieri said in a comment accompanying the survey.

“The resource-driven provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan will continue to offer the best job prospects in 2013, with unemployment rates below five per cent,” Guatieri added.

Steve Murphy, senior vice-president, commercial banking, said the stage has been set over the past year as “an increasing number of Canadian companies have made strategic investments to upgrade technology and processes, open up new markets and invest in people.”

“As the economy recovers, businesses are looking to become as productive as possible, and that may mean taking advantage of historically low interest rates to finance their growth plans and upgrade their talent pool,” he said.

Among other findings of the survey:

— Large companies are twice as likely as small businesses to be planning to hire more employees (45% versus 22%).

— 71% of Canadian businesses plan to maintain staffing levels next year and only four per cent plan to shed employees.

— Compared with 2011, among those companies that plan to invest more in their business in 2013, 48% plan to hire more employees, an increase of nine percentage points from last year.

Intentions to grow the workforce are roughly similar coast to coast with the exception of Quebec, where just 17% of businesses plan to hire more employees next year.

The figure was 26% in Atlantic Canada, 24% in Ontario, 25% in the Prairie provinces and 27% in British Columbia.

The percentage of companies planning to reduce their workforce was 5% in Atlantic Canada, 3% in Quebec, 4% in Ontario, 1% in Manitoba and Saskatchewan and 5% in Albert and British Columbia.

Meanwhile, the survey also found that small companies were more likely than large companies (24% versus 20%) to turn to contract employees for new hires.

On the other hand, large companies were more likely than small companies (44% versus 20%) to focus on hiring for junior positions.

The telephone survey was conducted by Polar Strategic Insights between Aug. 13 and Sept. 5, using a sample of 500 Canadian business owners. Results carry a margin of error of plus or minus four percentage points 19 times out of 20.

Source: The Canadian Press

 Upcoming CHHMA Events 

"iPad in Business" Educational Seminar
Wednesday, November 28, 2012
Toronto Airport Area Location TBA

Industry Cocktail
Thursday, December 13, 2012
“W” Hotel, Montreal, Quebec  

Canada Night
Sunday, March 3, 2013
InterContinental Hotel, Chicago, Illinois

CHHMA Spring Conference & AGM
Wednesday, April 10, 2013
International Centre (Conference Facility), Mississauga, Ontario

CHHMA Maple Leaf Night
Tuesday, May 7, 2013
The Mirage Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada

CHHMA Quebec Golf Classic
Thursday, May 23, 2013
Club de Golf Le Fontainebleau, Blainville, Quebec

CHHMA Ontario Golf Tournament
Tuesday, May 28, 2013
Angus Glen Golf Club, Markham, Ontario

CHHMA Industry Calendar

To register for all events visit our website at or call Pam Winter at (416) 282-0022 ext.21.


Freight Logistics Savings
No Obligation Consultation

Discount Cellular
Phone Rates

Long Distance &
Telecommunications Savings

Discount Gas & Diesel Rates

Logo Apparel &
Promotional Products

Office Product Discounts


"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: