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PAMD moves back home

14 August 2017
Products, Misc

BOWMANVILLE, Ontario – Two-and-a-half years after fire devastated their head office, Phoenix AMD International finally came home to settle into a new working environment its ownership team believes will drive the added-value resource to the next level of success and the one after that.

“This building is a reflection of how we see the future,” says Albert Marrache, president of the company he co-founded with Dawn Rowe, who serves as Phoenix’s vice president, some 26 years ago. “It was designed to create an environment that people want to be in – one that makes them look forward to coming to work every day.”

On August 21, 2015, a fire broke out on the second floor of the structure. While no one was hurt, the building was destroyed. However, the company didn’t lose much ground and was fully operational within days as all of their computer systems were totally backed up, so valuable customer data wasn’t lost.

Albert Marrache and Dawn Rowe, founders of Phoenix AMD International, are seen here in the renovated reception area of their headquarters building. Until they began moving back into the renovated headquarters building, the company camped out in temporary quarters, which Marrache admitted were less than ideal. But, he praised his team for hanging in through the transition and believes the new space will make up for the inconveniences suffered.

Covering 24,000 square feet in total, the two-level facility contains a number of team-building features including a full kitchen with an outdoor barbeque kept on an adjoining private patio. It also a work-out room with showers, bicycles for riding and an indoor golf simulator for those anxious to practise their long game.

Laid out in an open concept, the upstairs bull pen has areas set aside for impromptu meetings with more private meeting and training rooms positioned around the outside wall. The space brags a lot of natural light and has ample space for holding large gatherings from receptions and other social events to more formal occasions.

There are also a lot of plants and the walls are adorned with works of art and other collectibles – such as Albert’s collection of hockey jerseys signed by members of the National Hockey League (NHL). There’s not been space to display them until now.

In fact, Marrache and Rowe hope that in the not-too-distant future they can host training and briefing sessions for their retail network in the new space.

Seen here is the exterior of the renovated and improvement headquarters building of Phoenix AMD International in Bowmanville, Ontario. The space is also as technically advanced as they can make it with a gigabyte of Internet bandwidth to support the team’s activities. “Our team can use the Internet to do remote training and for a variety of other purposes that will make their work more efficient,” Marrache said.

“Dawn and I did a lot of research when we were planning the renovation. We visited a lot of different places before the work began,” he added. “This is a place where we want people to think about the future.”

Indeed, one long-time Phoenix staff member – who is on the U.S. sales team – remarked, “in many ways this is more like a home than a workplace.”

Rowe and Marrache said the future is very much on their minds and are getting ready to roll-out a number of new initiatives across their product line over the coming weeks and months. “Retailers need to make more money and there are few customers walking through their doors,” Marrache said. “Now that the distraction is behind us, we’ve putting all our focus into helping them be successful. That way, Phoenix will continue to be both relevant and successful.”

Related Story: The drive to grow profit
Related Story: Fire strikes Phoenix head office

Leon’s sees growth in Q2

14 August 2017
By the Numbers, Retail

TORONTO – Leon’s Furniture Limited (LFL), this country’s largest full-line furniture retailer reported upticks in sales and earnings for both the second quarter and the first half of 2017.

Total system sales for the three months ending June 30, 2017 were $636.1 million, up 4.9% from the $606.4 million for the same period of 2016.

Corporate store sales were $527.6 million compared to $516.2 million – an uptick of 4.1%. Same store sales edged forward a modest 1%.

Sales by its 99 franchise stores were $98.6 million, up 9.2% from $90.3 million.

Net earnings for the second quarter were $18.8 million or 26 cents per basic share, compared to $16.9 million or 24 cents per basic share for the comparable period – a gain of 8.3% on a per share basis.

“The second quarter provided further evidence that the consistent and successful execution of our strategy is translating into strong financial performance for shareholders,” LFL chief operating officer Edward Leon said in a statement. “Leon’s is Canada’s largest home furnishing retailer with bricks and mortar locations coast-to-coast and a growing significant online presence.

“The company is well-positioned to gain market share through its national distribution network, he continued, adding the company has taken possession of it new state-of-the-art distribution centre in Delta, British Columbia and expects to begin operations there next month.

“We are confident that the continued judicious implementation of our strategy will drive significant value for shareholders over time,” Leon said.

For the six months ended June 30, 2017, LFL system sales were $1.21 billion, a 5.0% gain over the $1.15 billion for the first half of last year.

Corporate store sales were $1.02 billion, a 4.3% gain on the $979.6 million recorded for the comparable period as same store sales advanced 1.1%.

Franchise store sales were $188.4 million, up 8.7% from $173.3 million.

Net earniings for the first half were $27.5 million or 38 cents per basic share, compared to $12.2 million or 17 cents per basic share last year – a gain of 123.5% on a per share basis.

During the first six months of the year, LFL closed a franchise operating under The Brick as well as a corporately owned Brick Mattress Store, bringing the total store count down to 303 from 305 at the beginning of the year.

Edward Leon told shareholders he was optimistic about the company’s performance for the rest of the year.

“With the expansion of nine new retail locations and our continuing strong growth in e-commerce, we expect to see continued growth in sales for 2017,” he said. “Along with the growth in sales, we intend to maintain gross margins and continue to drive efficiencies.”

LFL operates a total of six banners including: Leon’s, The Brick, Appliance Canada, The Brick Mattress Store, United Furniture Warehouse and The Brick Clearance Centre.

Summit will aid retailers build their e-commerce business

14 August 2017
Events, Retail

ORLANDO, Florida – Retailers specialising in products and services tied to the home, from hardware and houseware to furniture, mattresses and appliances are lagging woefully behind the giants of e-commerce such as Amazon and Wayfair. But, the organisers of the second annual Home Improvement eRetailer Summit are planning an event they believe will help brick and mortar store operators develop winning e-commerce strategies.

The event is being held at the Rosen Shingle Creek resort and conference centre here from September 13 to 15. It is being organised by a group led by Michael McLarney, the publisher and editor of Hardlines, an Internet-based news service for Canada’s hardware industry based in Toronto.

“This event will focus on helping the hardware and tools, home decor, paint, housewares, lawn and garden, furniture, outdoor living, and flooring sectors develop winning e-commerce strategies,” McLarney said in a statement. “For suppliers looking to build business with top eRetailers, the event will offer face-to-face private meetings between eRetail decision-makers and suppliers. For everybody, the eRetailer Summit will feature amazing networking and learning, all in an intimate, business-ready setting.”

Since Home Depot grew online sales 20% last year, McLarney believes there’s no reason why other brick and mortar retailers can’t up their game as well.

Expanding the summit’s reach to serve sectors ranging from housewares to household furniture is a reflection of the overwhelming dominance of online selling in every facet of the today’s shopping experience, he said, adding the event will focus on one of e-commerce’s largest challenges – delivery, whether it’s a small item the needs to be received in a timely fashion or to accommodate big ticket items.

“Having attended the first Home Improvement eRetailer Summit, I saw first-hand the value of getting together with both vendors and other online sellers face to face,” said Elizabeth Ragone, senior vice president of direct to consumer for Lenox, a leading seller of luxury tableware and gifts. “It was a valuable, business-building experience – one that I am happy to return to this year as one of the event’s keynote speakers.”

Along with a host of top e-commerce experts, this year’s speaker lineup will feature a powerful keynote by Alyssa Steele, e-Bay divisional merchandise manager for home and garden.

Retailers looking to understand the e-commerce space and vendors who wish to make real connections with leading e-retail decision makers will find this ground-breaking forum a way to meet, share ideas, and develop concrete strategies for growing online sales.

The event’s web site can be found at Contact Sonya Ruff Jarvis at [email protected], for more information.

Home Goods Online is a media sponsor of the Home Improvement eRetailers Summit.

IKEA publishes 2018 catalogue

14 August 2017

BURLINGTON, Ontario – IKEA Canada will distribute some seven million printed copies of its 2018 catalogue over the coming week, saying its pages will offer large selection of new products as well as lower prices on many of its existing products.

Canadians living in markets with IKEA stores and pick-up and order points are expected to receive their copies this week.

In a statement, the company said the theme of this year’s catalogue – one of the few still published in Canada for mass distribution – is Make Room for Life and focuses on the living room, which it describes as “the hardest working room of the home and one that is full of different activities throughout the day.” The catalogue will present a new take on this multi-functional space.

The 2018 IKEA Canada catalogue“The IKEA catalogue continues to be an integral part of our marketing communication plan and a means to enable and inspire a better everyday life at home,” IKEA Canada head of marketing Lauren MacDonald said. “It is iconic, synonymous with inspiration, and highly anticipated by our customers every summer.”

She noted IKEA gathers extensive knowledge to truly understand how customers live their lives at home through market research, home visits and customer surveys. Last year, 250 home visits were conducted in Canada alone. These insights help to inform on product design to meet the changing needs of the consumer. As a result, two key trends were discovered to have the biggest impact on how people use their living room today: urbanization and technology.

“The world has seen more change in the last 20 years than in the 200 years before that,” said Kathy Davey, IKEA Canada’s head of interior design. “Urbanisation and technology have reformed our lives and our homes, creating an opportunity to break conventions around the traditional living room and redefine this space.”

In addition to the shift in theme this year, new features of the 2018 IKEA Catalogue include:

  • A 12-page insert that includes discounted offers for specific dates in the remainder of 2017, new items, new lower prices and affordable accent pieces;
  • Feature pages for the five most popular IKEA product families: HEMNES, BESTÅ, MALM, PAX, KOMPLEMENT & KIVIK;
  • Bright, colour-coded chapters to enable an easy overview of the content;
  • Navigation in the digital IKEA Catalogue is also colour-coded, making it more intuitive and user-friendly;
  • This year's IKEA catalogue app provides deeper content, including films connected to the printed version that provide more information about the solutions presented;
  • 14 feature stories around three aspects of Make Room for Life: life at home, the societal impact of IKEA and design & innovation.

The IKEA Catalogue is available in three formats: print, digital and in an app called IKEA catalogue, which will be free to download on both the App Store and Google Play later this week. The digital catalogue is available now at: It is also available in French.

Physical copies will be available in IKEA stores across Canada as of August 26.

For the first time, the catalogue will be delivered to homes in and around Halifax, where IKEA will open its newest full-size store later this year.

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