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HPM launches The Point with robust line-up for April

20 March 2018

HIGH POINT, North Carolina – The High Point Market Authority (HPMA) will inaugurate its new venue, The Point with a robust lineup of personalities and programming for the upcoming spring edition of the semi-annual High Point Market (HPM).

A ribbon cutting event will be held on Friday, April 13 at 12pm (just prior to opening day) with a special welcome by comedian and television personality Jeff Foxworthy, who is also launching a licensed line of furnishings with upholstery producer Man Wah U.S.A. during the five-day furniture trade event.

The spring market will run from April 14 to 18.

The Point – located on Commerce Ave, between S. Main and Wrenn streets – is the first freestanding, High Point Market-branded venue conceived to enhance the buyer experience.

Comedian and television personality Jeff Foxworthy will cut the ribbon to mark the opening of The Point, the new meeting place for valid badge holders attending the spring edition of the High Point Market. “Survey results indicate that networking and access to actionable information for building their businesses are top factors in the buyer’s decision to attend market, in addition to sourcing new products,” HPMA president and chief executive officer Tom Conley said in a statement. “We invite attendees to maximise their travel investment by visiting The Point to learn and to make valuable connections.”

The Point is open daily to all market attendees with a valid pass. Hours are 8am to 6pm from Saturday through Tuesday with an early closing on Wednesday. During the hours of operation, a team of Market Advisors will be on hand to offer one-on-one consultations to attendees in need of information or support. Attendees are encouraged to drop in throughout market dates for specific events, or to utilise the lounge area.

Each morning, a gourmet coffee and organic juice bar opens from 8 to 10:30am. The schedule of events and programming changes daily, beginning at 10am with roundtable discussions focused on industry-relevant topics by well-known experts.

The Point will host nine roundtables, led by The Antiques Diva, Toma Clark Haines, and designer Chad James; Julia Noran Johnston and the Editor at Large team; interior design business expert Kimberley Seldon (the only Canadian on the schedule); trend consultant Jaye Anna Mize of Fashion Snoops; a panel of Dynamic Women in Design, including design stars Stacy Kunstel, Michelle Nussbaumer and Mary McDonald; Consort co-founders Mat Sanders and Brandon Quattrone; a panel of Style Spotters alumni, including Michelle Wiebe, Kati Curtis and Erika Ward; the Sustainable Furnishings Council (SFC) speaking with retailer Peggy Burns and designer Aviva Stanoff; and Todd Nifong, chair of the International Textile Alliance (ITA) Educational Foundation speaking with Caroline Hipple and other textile experts.

The full listing of programs and events for The Point is located in the Tips and Insights section of the High Point Market website:

From 11:30am to 2pm each day, the Parson’s Table will offer a pop-up version of their homemade lunch service, coinciding with the Fashion Snoops Innovation Square schedule.

Fashion Snoops Innovation Square celebrates innovation in design and will hold demonstrations from Saturday through Tuesday from 11am to 2pm. Technology experts, artists and makers featured include augmented reality specialists Obsess AR, artist and designer Aviva Stanoff, the makers of Norwalk Furniture, and The Trim Queen, Jana Platina Phipps.

The afternoons will feature a mix of programming including celebrity meet and greet events and industry mixers. Visitors may enjoy friendly therapy dogs via Crypton’s Pooch Pop-Up on Saturday and Sunday.

On the networking front, American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) welcomes all to their member meet-up on Friday, and the Black Interior Designers Network (BIDN) will host a mixer in The Point on Saturday.

Celebrity licensees Drew and Jonathan Scott of Scott Living, Mark Badgley and James Mischka of Badgley Mischka Home, and Donny Osmond of Donny Osmond Home will all make appearances in The Point to meet and greet with market attendees. The Point will additionally host a book signing event for authors Amy Flurry, Jason Oliver Nixon and John Loecke on Monday afternoon.

Related Story: HPMA launching The Point and Third Night at spring event

MLS sales fall again in February

20 March 2018
By the Numbers

OTTAWA – Sales of existing homes via the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) fell for the second consecutive month in February while the national average price declines by 5%, according to the latest figures from the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA). However, the number of homes listed for sale recovered by 8.1% in February over the prior month.

The realtors’ group said sales were down 6.5% in February from January and reached their lowest mark in the past five years. Sales fell on a month-over-month basis in almost three-quarters of all local housing markets, with large declines recorded in both the Greater Vancouver (GVA) and Greater Toronto (GTA) areas – the two largest and hottest real estate markets in the country.

Actual (not seasonally adjusted) sales were down 16.9% year-over-year and hit a five-year low for the month of February, while falling 7% below the ten-year average for the month. Sales were below year-ago levels in 80% of all local markets, including those nearby and within Ontario’s Greater Golden Horseshoe (GGH) region.

Chart courtesy of the Canadian Real Estate Association.“The drop off in sales activity following the record-breaking peak late last year confirms that many homebuyers moved purchase decisions forward late last year before tighter mortgage rules took effect in January,” CREA chief economist Gregory Klump said. “Momentum for home sales activity going into the second quarter is also likely to weighed down by housing market uncertainty in British Columbia, where new housing policies were introduced toward the end of February.”

After plunging 20% in January, the number of newly listed homes recovered by 8.1% in February although they remained lower the levels recorded in every month last year except January, and came in 6.4% below the ten-year monthly average and 14.6% below the peak reached in December 2017.

New supply was up in about three-quarters of local markets, led by B.C.’s Lower Mainland, the GTA, Ottawa and Montreal. However, CREA noted these markets either remain balanced or continue to favour sellers.

With sales down and new listings up in February, the national sales-to-new listings ratio eased to 55% compared to 63.7% in January – within what the association considered the balanced range.

The actual national average price for homes sold in February 2018 was just over $494,000, down 5% from one year earlier. Excluding the GVA and the GTA – the country’s two hottest housing markets – the national average price falls to just under $382,000.

In his research note, Michael Dolega, director of TD Economics, said those buyers who rushed to buy before new mortgage regulations kicked-in are now out of the market and the overall existing housing market is faced with lingering uncertainty in the face of rising interest rates as well additional regulations that are being introduced in British Columbia.

However, there were some modestly encouraging details. “While sales did drop, the pace of decline eased considerably relative to January,” he said, adding the uptick in listings suggest rising confidence on the part of sellers now that the new rules are in place.

“All in, we expect policy-related turbulence and higher rates to negatively impact sales in the near-term, before some stabilisation in activity begins to take hold mid-year,” Dolega wrote. “We look for prices to drop, on average, this year, though balanced-market conditions across much of the country should mitigate the magnitude of the decline. We expect conditions to improve next year, with price growth returning to the market alongside a rise in transaction activity.”

QFMA launches buy local campaign

12 March 2018
Community, Furniture

MONTREAL – The Québec Furniture Manufacturers Association (QFMA) has published the second edition of its Web Magazine, a tool consumer can use to glance at some 100 product made by its members. Publication is part of a strategy to promote Quebec-made furniture to Quebec consumers that will be rolled out in several stages over the coming months.

The association launched the project after the results of a survey it commissioned from Léger, the well-known polling firm also located here, reported while 98% of its 1,000 or so respondents have a positive or very positive view of Quebec-made furniture, 86% say they have a hard time finding it.

“To better meet the needs of consumers, we created a new Québec Furniture logo to be deployed in collaboration with furniture manufacturers and retailers. With this logo, it will be easier to identify Québec-made furniture in retails stores, on web sites, in flyers, and other communication tools,” QFMA president and chief executive officer Pierre Richard said in a statement.

The cover of the QFMA's second Web Magazine.Adapting the logo, which will be distributed to retailers throughout the province on request, was recommended in a consumption barometer published by UQÀM’s Observatoire de la consommation responsable (OCR) in November 2017. It suggests 83% of Québec consumers are influenced in their furniture selection by logos or branding displaying Québec-made origin, including the fleur de lys insignia.

Richard said the association’s promotion strategy builds on the ‘buy local’ trend which is gaining ground in a number of product categories beyond food, where it started.

“Buying Quebec furniture also becomes a job-creating choice: the furniture industry totals 30,000 jobs in some 1,500 establishments in Quebec, which makes it one of the seven largest employers in the manufacturing sector in the province,” Richard said. “The purchasing habits of consumers, businesses, and public organisations are essential to the success and prosperity of our local businesses.”

He also said only a few consumers know that buying Québec-made furniture also means having the possibility to choose the fabric, leather, wood or metal finishes, and other materials, through customisation, so each piece can be adapted to her personality and decor. The QFMA’s Web Magazine was designed to give the consumer an introduction the diversity of the industry’s product offerings and its potential for customisation.

The campaign will peak this fall with the launch of a new bilingual web site – to be called – devoted exclusively to Quebec-made furniture.

The new Quebec Furniture logo.“By creating this new website, the QFMA wishes to offer a unique option among the range of digital alternatives available to consumers who are pre-shopping online for furniture. The website will showcase products created by our manufacturers, and identify the retailers who offer them in their stores, all of this to better meet the needs of consumers,” Richard said.

In an interview with Home Goods Online, Richard expects the site will be online on October 1 and hopes it will do a lot to improve the industry’s top-of-mind awareness, especially with consumers in their own province.

“We know we are as well-known as we should be,” he admitted. “We’re working with retailers and encouraging them to use the logo.”

The site is also going to link manufacturers with retailers, so if a visiting consumer finds a piece of furniture she likes, she should be able to find where to buy it. “This is going to be an exciting project,” Richard said. “This is going to be an additional tool for the consumer to find out more about Quebec-made furniture.”

Part of the Family campaign wins two CASSIES for Leon’s

12 March 2018

TORONTO – The Part of the Family campaign waged nationally across several media by Leon’s Furniture over the 16-month period ending in July 2017 earned two CASSIES for excellence in advertising from the Institute of Communication Agencies (ICA) and Strategy magazine.

The furniture retailer – whose in-house team was led by marketing managers Lewis Leon and Andrea Graham and content marketing manager Autumn Hachey – and its Toronto-based agency, Taxi, picked up two bronze awards: one, in the ‘building brand equity’ category and the other in the ‘new brand positioning’ category.

“For years, Leon’s relied on promotion-based advertising to drive store traffic. However, this created the perception of discounts and outdated styles. The retailer needed to reposition itself with younger shoppers for future growth,” the organisers said in announcing the award.

“Running nationally from March 2016 to July 2017 and supported by a $5-plus million budget, the Part of the Family campaign by Taxi shifted Leon’s from promotions to communicating its role in Canadian homes,” they continued.

This upholstery group was part of the CASSIE Award winning Part of the Family campaign created by the Taxi advertising agency for Leon’s Furniture. The campaign was for those Canadians who feel overwhelmed and intimidated by design and feel style can be a bit of a gamble. “People don’t want precious design, they want homes that are styled for real life. Leon’s wanted to show that it offers furniture that is part of the family,” the organisers noted.

Traditionally, Leon’s – one of two banners (the other is The Brick) operated by the publicly-held Leon’s Furniture Limited – was entirely promotion-focused in its advertising but in recent years the competitive environment changed and the company wanted to improve its image in the eye of the consumer.

In its submission to the organisers, the team from Taxi also noted Leon’s needed to reposition for future growth.

“Leon’s had relied heavily on price promotions for years, and though their product has improved significantly of late, little investment had been made to shift perceptions about the brand beyond pricing. On top of that, they faced more competition than ever before,” they said. “In order to grow, Leon’s loyal, but aging consumer base needed to be augmented with younger shoppers who were moving into their prime furniture buying years. This group perceives Leon’s as a store that’s quite out of step with the times.”

In fact, these younger consumers have different and higher expectations. While value is still important to then, they don’t want to forgo style and quality. “They’ve grown up in a new age of accessible design and won’t trade off style for value. If we couldn’t challenge the perception that Leon’s was the store of brown puffy couches, we’d never make it onto their list,” the agency explained. “So, we needed to evolve the brand, to challenge deeply held perceptions, in order to be relevant with this new generation of consumers. We needed to move beyond promotions and build deeper emotional connections. But we knew we couldn’t win on style or inspiration alone – we needed to find a distinct point of view for the brand.”

As consumers primarily associated Leon’s with furniture, they wanted stretch the brand to include mattresses, appliances, outdoor furniture and other product categories. They need to create a high-level brand message that would support specific product, drive tactical promotions and work across all media channels.

TV spots were created to show Leon’s products across a range of living scenarios, such as the whole family (including the dog) sleeping on a mattress, or kids and dads playing on a cross-sectional sofa.

Part of the Family was introduced to consumers with in-store signage, videos and flyers. The agency also said that as of mid-July 2017, sales increased 4.6% over the prior period with a 5% increase in store visits among consumers in the targeted 30 to 40 age bracket.

Now held annually, the CASSIES is Canada’s premier advertising award program and the only one focused on the effect advertising has on driving advertisers’ business.

The program requires the agencies entering to submit case studies showing that advertising is a prudent investment that pays out against measurable criteria. The case study supporting the Part of the Family campaign can be found on the award’s web site at

Leon’s was the only furniture retailer recognised in this year’s competition. It won a silver award in 2017 for its Moving Day campaign in Quebec.

To see one of the Part of the Family television commercials, click here:

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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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