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The Brick now coast-to-coast with first store in Newfoundland

18 October 2021

JOHN’S, Newfoundland – Already this country’s largest full-line furniture banner, The Brick became a truly national retailer with the opening of its first brick-and-mortar store here in Canada’s easternmost province. They are one of the few retailers to have stores in every province across the country.

The Edmonton-based merchant brought its latest store online just as its parent company – the publicly held Leon’s Furniture Limited (LFL) – opened a new distribution centre in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, its first facility of its kind in Atlantic Canada.

“As we celebrate The Brick’s 50th Anniversary this year, I am incredibly proud of our continued growth to serve communities across the country,” company president Dave Freeman said in a statement. “Building a stronger presence in Atlantic Canada has long been a goal for our company. With the opening of our new store in Newfoundland, The Brick is now truly coast-to-coast, serving Canadians in every province.”

An exterior view of The Brick’s recently opened corporate store in St. John’s, Newfoundland, its first in Canada’s easternmost province.Opening the new corporate store here follows last summer’s opening of two others in Fredericton and Saint John, New Brunswick, giving The Brick a total of ten outlets throughout Atlantic Canada, including four franchise locations.

LFL’s other full-line furniture retail banners – Leon’s Furniture – operates three stores in Newfoundland, including one in Labrador City.

The Brick’s new St. John’s store boasts over 40,000 square feet of showroom space and carries the retailer’s full product assortment including furniture, mattresses, appliances and electronics. With the on-site warehouse and dedicated delivery team, the store can arrange pick-up, delivery and in-home setup of its products promptly. The location has created over 50 new jobs for the local community.

In addition, the brand-new distribution centre located in Dartmouth will provide service and store inventory for The Brick and Leon’s locations across Atlantic Canada, with the capacity to support future expansion in the region. The 168,000 square foot distribution centre will provide faster fulfillment to customers on many top-selling products and has created over 60 new jobs locally.

“The impressive distribution centre features the latest technology and equipment to seamlessly meet the growing needs of our customers,” said Dave Freeman. “As we continue to expand our operations across Atlantic Canada, a cutting-edge facility of this scale has the capacity to service the many divisions within the LFL organization, while providing a safe environment for our employees to work in.”

At press time, The Brick operated some 209 stores across the country including The Brick, The Brick Mattress Store and The Brick Outlet. 

Related Story: The Brick adds three stores in Atlantic Canada

Related Story: The Brick unveils new technology driven WEM flagship store

Dorel to upgrade factories, buys Danish e-commerce firm

18 October 2021
By the Numbers, Flooring, Manufacturing

MONTREAL – Dorel Industries will invest some US$10 million to upgrade the equipment at three of its Dorel Home factories in both Canada and the United States as well as the acquisition of Notio Living, an e-commerce home furnishings firm based in Holstebro, Denmark.

The move follows the company’s recent decision to its Dorel Sports segment to Pon Holdings B.V., a Dutch mobility group, for US$810 million in cash, approximately C$1 billion, payable when the deal closes sometime before the end of the first quarter of 2022.

In a statement, the publicly held manufacturers said the equipment improvements, designed to facilitate production flexibility, will be at the two ready-to assemble (RTA) furniture Ameriwood plants in Tiffin, Ohio and Cornwall, Ontario, as well as at the Dorel Home Products (DHP) facility here.

The upgrades – expected to cost approximately US$10 million – will bring back some production from Asia, helping to offset the industry-wide supply chain issues and will better position the segment for growth with value added innovative new products.

Seen here is the home page of Notio Living, a Danish-based e-commerce furnishings business which was just acquired by Dorel Home, the furniture segment of Dorel Industries.“One of the key benefits of the production investment will be our ability to better serve our e-commerce partners with on-trend products made in North America. The additions at the Ameriwood facilities will drive efficiencies and greater volume of higher value product lines such as entertainment units, storage organization, fireplaces and wall beds, all of which are growing consumer categories,” Dorel Home chief executive officer Norman Braunstein said in a statement.

Dorel Home has long been a major player in the mattress business, known for its lines of futon and baby crib mattresses as well as its Signature Sleep brand of imported mattresses. The new machinery at Montreal’s DHP facility will permit the expansion into coiled spring mattresses, previously imported from Asia. The new machinery at all facilities should be up and running by the first quarter of 2022.

“We are constantly investing and innovating in our Dorel Home business, which has consistently performed well over the years,” Dorel president and CEO Martin Schwartz said. “Given the continuing industry-wide supply chain issues, it was necessary to bring greater stability to our supply chain by upgrading our factories. Once resources are fully ramped up early next year, Dorel Home will be able to increase its production of locally produced higher-margin value added items.” 

Notio Living acquisition
Dorel Home is also buying Danish-based Notio Living for approximately US$19 million. The company, which markets thousands of products sourced from around the world, has been in the home furnishings business for 25 years and operates throughout Europe with a strong presence in the e-commerce market.

“The Notio Living acquisition provides a tremendous advantage for further European expansion due to its strong distribution network. The combination of Dorel Home’s strong portfolio of products and brands with Notio’s distribution capabilities in mainland Europe will materially augment Dorel Home’s European business,” Schwartz said.

“We currently have a successful presence in the United Kingdom. The addition of Notio Living is an exciting opportunity for the segment to rapidly increase its reach in Europe and we are anxious to get started. Dorel remains fully committed to taking a disciplined approach to value creation as it sees significant upside in its Dorel Home business. Today’s announcements will accelerate our strategy for growth,” he added.

The transaction is subject to customary regulatory approvals and is expected to close later this year. 

Related Story: Dorel Home sees 2Q revenue fall as demand softens

Related Story: Ameriwood launches wall bed line under Signature Sleep brand

Warm Hugs named BeautiTone colour of the year for 2022

18 October 2021
Products, Misc

BURFORD, Ontario – BeautiTone, the Canadian-made retail paint brand owned by Home Hardware, has named Warm Hugs (D43-0-1598) as its Colour of the Year for 2022. The hue is described as a mid-tone shade of red-pink with an influence of orange that offers hope and comfort in one exquisite hue.

Warm Hugs (D43-0-1598) is Canadian paint brand BeautiTone’s 2022 Colour of the Year. The brand is owned and sold by the member retailers of Home Hardware across the country.Warm Hugs is the comfort we’ve been missing – our longing for closeness and touch,” BeautiTone Paint and Home Products creative manager Darryl Allen said in a statement. “Our feelings about colour are often deeply personal and reflect our experiences and culture. While perceptions of colour can be subjective, colour has the power to enhance our lives and influence our emotions in a positive way. Using the right colours in our homes and spaces is essential to any project, big or small.”

Warm Hugs is part of the 2022 Colour Trends Palette which tells a story of recovery and healing, composed of comforting, nature-inspired tones thoughtfully designed to bring warmth and well-being back into everyday lives and is offered in all four of BeautiTone’s paint lines.

The palette features six colours in all that can be used to create beauty throughout the home – walls, furniture, floors, and accents.

The other colours include Beyond Beautiful (DR123-4), Sanctuary (DR112-3), Mirror Brown (FD055-0), Kup of Kindness (WB082-1), and Make a Wish (DR105-1).

The 2022 Colour Trends Palette is available exclusively through all three hardware banners operated by the St. Jacob’s, Ontario-based Home Hardware.

Actual housing starts up in September, CMHC reports

18 October 2021
By the Numbers

OTTAWA – While actual housing starts climbed on a both a year-over-year basis for the month of September and for the year-to-date 2021, the Canada Mortgage & Housing Corporation (CMHC) maintained they declined when considering their two other measures for assessing this key driver of furniture, mattress and major appliance sales.

The agency reported its trend in housing starts was 271,068 units in September 2021, down 4.8% from 284,757 units in August 2021. This trend measure is a six-month moving average of the monthly seasonally adjusted annual rates (SAAR) of housing starts.

“The six-month trend in housing starts declined from August to September, with total starts continuing to pull back from their earlier 2021 levels,” CMHC chief economist Bob Dugan said in a statement.

“Single-detached and multi-family SAAR starts were both lower in Canada’s urban areas in September, which led to a decline in overall SAAR starts for the month. On a trend and monthly SAAR basis, however, the level of housing starts activity in Canada remains high in historical terms,” he continued, adding, “Among Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal, Vancouver was the only market not to register growth in total SAAR starts in September, due to a decline in the multi-family segment.”

CMHC uses the trend measure to complement the monthly SAAR of housing starts to account for the often-considerable swings in the monthly estimates, which are caused by the multi-unit segment that can vary significantly from one month to the next.

Chart courtesy of the Canada Mortgage & Housing Corporation.The standalone monthly SAAR of housing starts for all areas in Canada was 251,151 units in September, a decrease of 4.4% from 262,754 units in August. The SAAR of urban starts decreased by 4.5% in September to 223,055 units. Multiple urban starts decreased by 4% to 165,861 units in September, while single-detached urban starts decreased by 5.9% to 57,194 units.

Rural starts were estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 28,096 units.

However, actual housing starts paint a slightly different picture as they climbed on a month-over-month and year-over-year basis.

The federal housing agency pegged actual starts of single-family homes – in urban centres with populations of more than 10,000 – at a preliminary 5,452 units in September. While down from the 5,796 units started in August, it’s a 9% gain from the 4,989 units started in September 2020. Starts were up in every region of the country except Quebec, where they fell 11%.

For the first nine months of the year, actual starts of single-family homes totaled 48,328 units – up 39% from the 34,849 units started over the same period last year. The uptick ranged from 23% in British Columbia to 55% in the Prairies and 44% in Quebec.

Starts in the multi-unit segment – which includes apartments, townhouses and other linked dwellings for both the rental and ownership markets – were pegged at a preliminary 14,750 units in September. That’s a gain over the 13,898 units started the prior month and up 12% over the 13,180 units begun in September last year. Advances recorded in Quebec, Ontario and the Prairies were partially offset by declines in Atlantic Canada and B.C.

For the year-to-date, multi-unit starts were tallied at 133,998 units, up 22% from the 109,827 units for the comparable period last year. Starts were up in every region of the country, ranging from 12% in Ontario to 35% in B.C. except Atlantic Canada where they dipped a measly 1%.

Total actual housing starts for the month of September climbed 11% to 20,202 units from the 18,169 units in September 2020. Gains were reported in every region of the country, except Atlantic Canada where they fell 18%.

Total housing starts for the first nine months of 2021 were up 26% to 180,382 units. Advances were made in every region of the country.

In her research note, Rishi Sondhi of TD Economics observed, based on the trend and seasonally adjusted figures, “the pace of housing starts continues to inch lower from the near-record highs observed earlier in the year. For the third quarter overall, starts were down 6.1%, with moderating permit issuance signaling some further near-term cooling ahead.

“As home sales also fell steeply, a third quarter contraction in residential investment is looking very likely, and it’s worth noting that the construction industry appears to be grappling with labour shortages,” she continued, adding the six-month trend in housing starts was measured at 210,000 units prior to the pandemic, compared to 271,000 units now. “And, with housing demand now turning around after a brief correction, prices still rising at a rapid rate, and population growth likely to pick up, home building should remain well supported.”

Related Story:  Prices jump as home sales fall in September: CREA

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Home Goods and its accompanying newsletter - HGO This Week - covers the furniture, bedding, appliances, consumer electronics, accessories, lamps and lighting and floor coverings product sectors of the big ticket home goods market in Canada. HGO is also a forum for the dissemination of market research and hard-hitting articles on best practices for Canadian retailers.

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