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RONA (Robert Dutton) Breakfast Meeting

Mr. Robert Dutton, RONA's President & CEO, brought CHHMA members up to date on the progress of the integration of RONA's various operating units, at a CHHMA Breakfast meeting in Montreal on May 22nd.

During his presentation, Mr. Dutton alluded to the care being taken in the planning and the execution of the merger of what are really five separate businesses, including RONA, RONA Retail, Revy, Lansing and Cashway. While to some it might appear to be moving slowly, Mr. Dutton emphasized the need to do it right each step of the way.

With close to 3 billion in retail sales and 540 outlets coast to coast, RONA has moved from a dominant regional player to a truly National retailer in less than a year. CHHMA members were pleased to hear that RONA's policy is to favour Canadian vendors whenever conditions are equal, but RONA buyers are ever aware of the words of Lee Iaccoca "if you find a better deal buy it".

Mr. Dutton's view of RONA's future is simple, "keep on growing and acquiring or you will be acquired." At present RONA has eight big-box projects underway and expansion plans for their Toronto and Calgary distribution centers. In addition to building new stores RONA is seeking to expand its dealer network, particularly outside of Quebec.

In summary, Mr. Dutton stated while they currently have nothing in the works, expansion by acquisition is still a possibility. Financing for future growth is expected to come from an IPO, which RONA is ready to launch in the next year, if market conditions are favourable.

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