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RONA (Robert Dutton) Breakfast Meeting

In addressing a recent sold-out gathering of CHHMA members and guests in Montreal, RONA President and CEO Robert Dutton shared his observations on the evolution of the "big box" format, the fate of the independent retailer, the changing face of the consumer, and a future characterized by discipline.

Mr. Dutton referred to the last decade as a period of "unbridled" growth that allowed for a much larger than expected emergence of the big-box segment, and featured the incredible market expansion that allowed for the continued viability of small and medium sized independent hardware and building supply stores not impacted by consolidation.

Moving forward, Mr. Dutton suggested that while demand is likely to maintain its healthy momentum due to a combination of aging baby boomers, aging homes and a new set of psychological and financial circumstances, traditional hardware stores and building centres will need to exercise an unprecedented commitment to a disciplined approach to servicing existing markets and capturing new market segments. This discipline may take the form of corporate ownership, franchise contracts, and/or affiliation contracts with more specific requirements. It will also mean more coherence in merchandising and marketing as well as more purchasing loyalty and predictability.

Mr. Dutton also offered some candid insights on why RONA left the Alliance- RONA-Home purchasing group, and advice to manufacturers concerned with their long-term growth potential who will be facing inevitable streamlining in the industry.

In appreciation of Mr. Dutton's contribution to the success of this event, the CHHMA was pleased to make a donation in his name to his charity of choice - Fondation pour l'alphabetisation (the Literacy Foundation).

Canadian Hardware & Housewares Manufacturers Association | 1335 Morningside Ave., Suite 101, Scarborough, ON M1B 5M4
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