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Volume 16, Issue 27, July 13, 2016

Inside This Issue:

• CHHMA Scholarship Program Applications Due this Friday
• Industry Memorial Golf Classic to Take Place on September 27th at Blue Springs G.C.
• CHHMA Golf Tournament Dates Set for Next Year
• Order the Hardlines Retail Report by this Friday and Receive a $50 Discount Towards the Hardlines Conference
• Canadian Tire Reappoints Stephen Wetmore as CEO in Surprise Shakeup
• RONA Tests Digital Flyer to Appeal to Female Shoppers, Ends Up Doubling Sales
• Lee Valley Tools Founder Leonard Lee Passes Away
• Empire Co. Announces Sudden Departure of CEO Marc Poulin Following Huge Losses
• Groupe BMR Joins ILDC
• Bank of Canada Holds Rate, Cuts Economic Outlook
• Royal LePage Expects Housing to Remain Hot Through the End of 2016
• Toronto Condo Construction Boosts Pace of Housing Starts
• Canadian Building Permits Unexpectedly Drop 1.9% in May
• B.C. Releases First Set of Data on Foreign Home Ownership in Vancouver
• Canadian Job Market Stalls in June, Fewer Seek Work
• Latest U.S. Economic News

Association News

CHHMA Scholarship Program Applications Due this Friday

The CHHMA is once again pleased to be able to offer the opportunity for children of employees of our member companies to apply for a scholarship to help offset the cost of post-secondary education. The Association recognizes the importance of education and therefore encourages children of our member companies to attend University or College. Successful candidates receive $1,000 CDN per year for the first two years of study leading to a diploma or degree from an accredited community college or university.

The scholarship program is available to the dependents of any current full-time employees of the CHHMA or member companies. The program is only offered to Canadian companies or divisions of companies based in Canada which are members of the CHHMA. The member company must remain a member in good standing in order for the student to qualify for the second year of the scholarship.The student's parent or guardian must be an active full-time employee with at least one year seniority with the CHHMA or member company as of July 15th in the year of application. Applicants must be preparing to enter an accredited community college or university in the fall term, and attain a minimum average of 75% in the last year of high school (or CEGEP).The decision of the Selection Committee and the CHHMA is final and not open to appeals.The CHHMA reserves the right to withdraw a scholarship should the student's parent(s) or guardian(s) voluntarily leave the employment of the CHHMA or member company, or if employment is terminated for just cause prior to the start of the school year, or if the company terminates its membership in the Association.

Complete details, application forms and information sheets in English and French can be found at

The CHHMA must receive applications from potential candidates by this Friday, July 15, 2016.

Since 2001, the CHHMA has awarded $160,000 towards scholarships and some 80 young people have benefited from the scholarship program.

Industry Memorial Golf Classic to Take Place on September 27th at Blue Springs G.C. 

The 15th Annual Industry Memorial Golf Classic is taking place on Tuesday, September 27th at the Blue Springs Golf Club in Acton, Ontario.
The event is held on behalf of the hardware and housewares industry and it honours stalwarts from the industry who have passed away. CHHMA members and non-members are welcome to attend.

This year’s honourees at this time include: David Holden (Hamilton Beach) and Leonard Lee (Lee Valley Tools).

Past honourees include: David Fry, Ted Kennedy, Geoff Somers,Ray Ceolin, Tom Ross, Bruce Webster,Chris Hrushowy, Mike Pullen,Jim Ypma,Bill Caldwell, Brayl Copp, Ed Hardison, Stuart North,Joseph Kuchar, Shelly Lush, Jack Pountney, Christof Vanooteghem, Ian Hay, Trygve Husebye, Bernie Carpenter, Don McDonald, Les Groves, Bob Hilton, Doug Straus, Mel Boshart, George Giles and Ed Barnes.

The day allows family, friends and colleagues to honour these gentlemen while enjoying a fun day out on the golf course followed by a dinner and silent auction.

The event will start off with registration and breakfast at 8:00 a.m. with a 9:00 a.m. tee off. Dinner will commence at around 2:30 p.m.

Money raised from the event will go towards the CHHMA Scholarship Program which provides support for children of CHHMA member company employees to attend university or college.

Look for further details and registration info in the coming weeks.

CHHMA Golf Tournament Dates Set for Next Year

The dates for next year’s CHHMA Golf Tournaments have been set:

The CHHMA Quebec Golf Classic will take place on Thursday, May 25, 2017, at the Club de golf Le Fontainebleau in Blainville, Quebec, 9:00 a.m. registration & breakfast, 11:00 a.m. shotgun start with dinner following.

On Tuesday, May 30, 2017, CHHMA & COPA will hold a joint Ontario Golf Tournament at the Angus Glen Golf Club on both the South and North courses.Registration & BBQ lunch from 11:00 a.m. – 12:45 p.m., 1:00 p.m. shotgun start with a 6:30 p.m. dinner following the golf.

So mark your calendars and we hope to see you there next year!

You can see recaps of this year’s tournaments at Past Events on the CHHMA website or click on the following links:

2016 Quebec Golf Classic     2016 Ontario Golf Tournament

Order the Hardlines Retail Report by this Friday and Receive a $50 Discount Towards the Hardlines Conference

At a breakfast seminar held on June 21, the Hardlines team presented their latest data on the Canadian home improvement retail market.

Their research indicated that retail sales (POS) for the overall market were up a higher than expected 7.2% in 2015 from 2014 ($44.994B vs $41.971B), with Home Depot Canada posting the highest market share. The top four retail groups (Home Depot Canada, Lowe’s Canada/RONA, Home Hardware and Canadian Tire Retail) represented 53.6% of the industry sales in 2015 (up from 52.1% in 2014) and had growth of 10.1% from 2014.The rest of the industry saw a sales increase of 4.0% during 2015.

Updated details on the top retailers and buying groups as well as trend and growth analysis for the industry can be found in the lastest Hardlines Retail Report, click here for further information on the report and how you can purchase a copy.

Hardlines is also happy to offer a special deal to CHHMA members - Until Friday, July 15, any member who orders the Retail Report will get a discount of $50 towards the Hardlines Conference being held on October 18 & 19 in Niagara Falls. Click here for info on the conference.

Industry News

Canadian Tire Reappoints Stephen Wetmore as CEO in Surprise Shakeup   

After only two years as chief executive officer, Michael Medline is leaving the top job at Canadian Tire Corp. Ltd. and being replaced by his predecessor as the company grapples with the “increasing complexities of the new world of retail.”

In a surprise announcement Wednesday, the retailer said it has appointed Stephen Wetmore as president and CEO of the company, effective immediately.

Mr. Wetmore was CEO of Canadian Tire from January 2009 to December 2014. Mr. Medline, a 15-year veteran at the company, became president in 2013 and CEO in 2014.

Mr. Medline’s ouster took industry people and analysts by surprise, especially given the company’s relatively strong performance to date in an increasingly tough retail environment whose key challenges include online competition.

Desjardins Securities analyst Keith Howlett said in a research note that the board and Mr. Wetmore -- as deputy chairman -- “likely disagreed with Mr. Medline over one/all of the following: (1) the appropriate digital strategy, (2) the pace of its implementation, or (3) the role of acquisitions in implementing the company’s digital strategy.”  Short-term earnings weakness -- expected in the second quarter of 2016, to be reported next month -- is not likely the underlying cause for the CEO shakeup, Mr. Howlett said.  Read More >>

RONA Tests Digital Flyer to Appeal to Female Shoppers, Ends Up Doubling Sales

RONA inc. says its efforts to attract tech-savvy shoppers got a recent boost when the retailer temporarily replaced its printed flyer with an expanded digital offering.  The company says sales doubled at its stores across Canada despite scrapping the printed flyer during a nationwide test one week in February.  Marketing vice-president Claire Bara said the boost far exceeded expectations and silenced internal skeptics of RONA’s three-year strategy to spend more on digital marketing.  Read More >> 

Lee Valley Tools Founder Leonard Lee Passes Away

Leonard Lee, the founder of the popular Ottawa woodworking and gardening tool retailer Lee Valley Tools, died last Thursday morning at the age of 77.

Lee, born on July 17, 1938, in Wadena, Sask., started the company in 1978 after a career in the Canadian Foreign Service and serving as the executive director for the Canadian Consumer Council and National Dairy Council of Canada.

His son Robin Lee said his father's business sense came from his humble beginnings growing up in a log cabin with a dirt floor.  Robin said his father decided to start his own business when he became frustrated with the bureaucracy of his job in the public service, though he valued the friends he made there.

Lee Valley Tools initially sold cast iron stove parts by mail order from a rented basement in a strip mall in Ottawa and published its first catalogue in the fall of 1978.The company expanded to retail locations across Canada and established Veritas Tools, a manufacturing division. He also founded Canica Design, a medical tool company, in 1998, as well as Algrove Publishing.  Read More >>

Empire Co. Announces Sudden Departure of CEO Marc Poulin Following Huge Losses

The Sobeys grocery chain and its parent company say their chief executive and president has left the organization — effective immediately.  Marc Poulin is being replaced in those roles on an interim basis by Francois Vimard, the chief financial officer of Empire Co. Poulin’s sudden departure from the Empire organization follows a series of huge losses related to the acquisition of Canada Safeway as Sobeys expanded its position in Western Canada.  Read More >>  

Groupe BMR Joins ILDC

Groupe BMR inc. announced last Thursday that it has joined the Independent Lumber Dealers Co-operative (ILDC). With Groupe BMR as the newest member, the combined sales of the buying group now represent $4.3 billion. Together, the 22 members of the group have 625 places of business throughout the country.  Each member organization competes for business under its own name. ILDC is also a member of the Hardlines buying group Spancan.

“We are very happy to welcome a major Canadian player such as BMR in our group. This new partnership strengthens our position in the home improvement industry in Canada, which benefits our current and future members”, said Paul Bonhomme, President of ILDC, in a press release.  Read More >>

Economic News

Bank of Canada Holds Rate, Cuts Economic Outlook

The Bank of Canada is lowering its forecast for economic growth this year in light of Brexit uncertainty, disappointing export figures and weaker business investment both at home and in the United States. The bank announced as expected Wednesday that it is keeping its overnight interest rate at 0.5%, where it has been for the past year.

While 2016 got off to a steady start in Canada during the first quarter, with GDP growing by an annualized pace of 2.4%, the second quarter likely contracted by 1%, “pulled down by volatile trade flows, uneven consumer spending, and the Alberta wildfires,” the bank said.

However, policymakers expect the third-quarter growth to bounce back by 3.5% — helped mainly by the resumption of oil production after the Alberta blazes and the start of reconstruction in Fort McMurray, which was hardest hit by the natural disaster. As well, consumer spending should get a boost from the enhanced Canada Child Benefit program, introduced by the new Liberal government in Ottawa.  “Federal infrastructure spending and other fiscal measures announced in the March budget will also contribute to growth,” the bank said.

The July Monetary Policy Report forecasts real GDP growth of 1.3% in 2016, which is down from the 1.7% projected in April. Growth for 2017 is now projected to average 2.2%, down from the 2.3% forecast in April.  Read More >>

Royal LePage Expects Housing to Remain Hot Through the End of 2016

Continued low interest rates have one of the country’s biggest real estate brokers backtracking on its earlier prediction of a slower housing market in the second half of the year.

Royal LePage expects Toronto area housing prices to be 14.9% higher to an average of $718,000 in the last quarter of 2016, compared to the same period last year. That, along with a 27% forecast increase in Greater Vancouver home prices to an average of $1.206 million, is helping push the company’s national year-end quarter prediction to 12.4%.

“I believe it is the highest value put forward by a serious forecasting agency since the turn of the century,” said Royal LePage CEO and president Phil Soper.

Earlier, Royal LePage had been predicting about a 7% national increase in the final quarter, he said.  Read More >>

Toronto Condo Construction Boosts Pace of Housing Starts 

The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) said the pace of home construction picked up last month, boosted by work beginning on apartments in Ontario and especially condominiums in Toronto.

The housing agency reported Monday the seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) of housing starts was 218,333 units in June, up
16.9% from 186,709 in May.  Economists had expected June to come in at 190,000, according to Thomson Reuters.

“Overall, June saw housing starts pick up pace in Canada, bolstered by apartment construction in Ontario – especially new condo construction in Toronto’s downtown core,” said Bob Dugan, CMHC Chief Economist. “However, elsewhere in the country, construction activity slowed as apartment construction eased in Quebec. Housing starts are also trending down in Alberta as a result of high inventories in the new and existing home markets of that province.”  Read More >>   

Canadian Building Permits Unexpectedly Drop 1.9% in May

Municipalities issued building permits worth $6.8 billion in May, down 1.9% from the previous month, Statistics Canada reported last Thursday. Lower construction intentions for commercial buildings in Quebec and Ontario and single-family homes in Ontario contributed most to the decrease. Analysts polled by Reuters had predicted a 2.0% increase. Statistics Canada revised April’s drop of 0.3% to a rise of 0.1%.  Read More >>  

B.C. Releases First Set of Data on Foreign Home Ownership in Vancouver

New data show foreign buyers purchased 5% of the homes sold in and around Vancouver over three weeks last month and, on average, spent about $400,000 more than Canadians in these transactions, the first statistical hint of the impact offshore money might be having on the region’s overheated market.

Economists say the 5% figure is high enough to be a factor in the surging cost of Metro Vancouver’s housing stock, but B.C. Finance Minister Mike de Jong wouldn’t comment on how the two might be linked.  Read More >>  

Canadian Job Market Stalls in June, Fewer Seek Work

Canada’s employment picture held steady overall in June, but with the jobless rate easing lower as fewer people looked for work.

A decline of 40,100 full-time positions during the month was offset by a gain of 39,400 in part-time workers, Statistics Canada reported last Friday. The public sector shed 27,000 jobs in June and private positions fell by 10,500. As well, 37,700 more people said they were self-employed in June, compared to the previous month, helping to push the unemployment rate down to 6.8% from 6.9%.

Economists had forecast a gain in overall employment of at least 5,000 last month, but with the jobless rate rising to 7%.  Read More >>   

Latest U.S. Economic News 

Britain’s referendum on leaving the European Union has caused uncertainty and increased risks to the U.S. economy, but thus far it looks likely to have a pretty “negligible” impact on U.S. growth, the International Monetary Fund said on Tuesday.

U.S. job growth surged in June as manufacturing employment increased, more evidence the economy has regained speed after a first-quarter lull, but tepid wage growth could see the Federal Reserve remaining cautious about hiking interest rates.

Federal Reserve policy makers decided in June that interest rate hikes should stay on hold until they have a handle on the consequences of Britain’s vote on EU membership, according to the minutes of the Fed’s June policy meeting released last Wednesday.  Read More >>                     

 Upcoming CHHMA Events 

Industry Memorial Golf Tournament
Tuesday, September 27, 2016
Blue Springs Golf Club, Acton, Ontario

CHHMA Industry Calendar

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

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