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PayBright named Canada’s FinTech Company of the Year

6 December 2019
By the Numbers, Misc

TORONTO – Paybright was was named FinTech Company of the Year at the fifth annual Canadian FinTech & AI Awards, held here in late November. PayBright was selected from among 37 nominees for the award, which was presented by ICICI Bank.

Organized by the Digital Finance Institute, the Canadian FinTech & AI Awards recognize banks, credit unions, innovators, investors, advisory firms, technology companies, and thought leaders across Canada in financial services and related technology. International experts judged the awards this year from leading organizations that included Credit Suisse, the World Bank, Rolls-Royce, NASA, Lloyd’s Bank, Amazon, Standard Chartered Bank, Airbnb, Hulu, Google, Cineplex, and LG Electronics.

“The Digital Finance Institute’s Awards recognize Canadian innovation and innovators in financial services and AI in Canada and help promote Canada as a leading hub for technology innovation and research,” Ellis Odynn, executive director of the Digital Finance Institute said in a statement.

This year’s gala ceremony was attended by over 660 people in technology and financial services from across Canada.

“We were honoured to be chosen from among such a large and impressive group of nominated companies,” Wayne Pommen, Paybright president and chief executive commented. “This award is a reflection of the hard work of the PayBright team over the past few years. We are grateful to our customers and over 5,000 retailer partners who have trusted and supported us, and we thank the judges and the Digital Finance Institute for this recognition.”

The ICICI Bank FinTech Company of the Year Award is for an established fintech company in Canada that has been providing financial products or services for over four years and is actively engaged in innovation. Success is measured by several factors, including partnerships with banks, providing services directly to consumers, significant growth or adoption, and name recognition or marketplace leadership.

Based here, PayBright is a Canadian consumer payments platform focused on instant point-of-sale installment payment plans for both e-commerce and in-store transactions that have been valued to-date at $1.25 billion. It has partnered with several big-ticket retailers including Wayfair, Samsung, Casper, The Source, Endy and Sleep Country.

Related Story: PayBright raises $34M in equity funding from GoEasy
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Pantone selects Classic Blue as 2020 Colour of the Year

6 December 2019
Products, Misc

CARLSTADT, New Jersey – Haling it as a timeless, enduring blue hue and elegant in its simplicity, Pantone 19-4052 Classic Blue has been selected as the company’s Colour of the Year for 2020.

In a statement, the company said it’s a colour that is suggestive of the sky at dusk and possesses a number of reassuring qualities including a reminder of peoples’ desire for a dependable and stable foundation on which to build as we cross the threshold into a new era.

The Pantone Color Institute has selected Classic Blue as the 2020 Colour of the Year.Classic Blue was also described as a restful color that brings a sense of peace and tranquility to the human spirit while aiding concentration and bringing laser like clarity.

“A boundless blue evocative of the vast and infinite evening sky, Pantone 19-4052 Classic Blue encourages us to look beyond the obvious to expand our thinking; challenging us to think more deeply, increase our perspective and open the flow of communication,” Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of Pantone Color Institute said in a statement.

“We are living in a time that requires trust and faith,” she continued. “It is this kind of constancy and confidence that is expressed by Pantone 19-4052 Classic Blue, a solid and dependable blue hue we can always rely on.”

As technology continues to race ahead of the human ability to process it all, it is easy to understand why we gravitate to colors that are honest and offer the promise of protection, Eiseman remarked, adding its is non-aggressive, easily relatable and lends itself to relaxed interaction.

For over 20 years, Pantone’s Color of the Year has influenced product development and purchasing decisions in multiple industries including fashion, home furnishings and industrial design as well as product packaging and graphic design.

The Pantone Color of the Year selection is the result of research by the Pantone Color Institute, that looks at a number of influences such as the entertainment industry and films in production, traveling art collections and new artists, fashion, all areas of design, popular travel destinations, as well as new lifestyles, playstyles, and socio-economic conditions. Influences may also stem from new technologies, materials, textures, and effects that impact colour, relevant social media platforms and even upcoming sporting events that capture worldwide attention.

Ikea Canada sales up 6.1%

2 December 2019
By the Numbers, Furniture, Retail

BURLINGTON, Ontario – IKEA Canada has reported sales for its latest fiscal year climbed 6.1% on a year-over-year basis to $2.53 billion. It also noted e-commerce sales of $261.2 million, 8.2% uptick over the prior year as visits to its web site,, jumped 12% to 117.2 million. It is also planning to open a small ‘city centre’ store in downtown Toronto.

The home furnishings retailer’s fiscal year ended on 31 August 2019. It is part of the IKEA Group, which is headquartered in The Netherlands and is believed to be the world’s largest furniture and home furnishings retailer.

At $2.53 billion, IKEA Canada remains this country’s second largest furniture retailer, behinds Leon’s Furniture Limited (LFL), the publicly-held operators of Leon’s and The Brick. While the company didn’t provide any colour as to its sales mix, IKEA is classified as a furniture store by Statistics Canada and is a member of their Group of Large Retailers. The agency defines a furniture store as any retail establishment that generates 51% or more of its annual revenue from the sale of furniture, including mattresses.

Seen here is the exterior of the new concept IKEA city centre store in the Tottenham Court Road district of London. The retailer plans to open a similar store in downtown Toronto.This gives IKEA Canada an estimated 22% share of the country’s furniture retail market.

In its 2019 Summary Report, the retailer also reported some 31 million customers visited its 14 stores across the country, up uptick of 2.7%.

“We continue to see positive growth in the Canadian market, all while innovating and developing our business for the future. We want IKEA to be there for our customers, whenever and however they choose to meet us, IKEA Canada chief executive officer and chief sustainability officer Michael Ward said in a statement. “Our success in 2019 is a result of the hard work of our many co-workers across the country. As we transform, we continue to lead the business from our purpose, to create a better everyday life for the many people.”

Globally, over the past year IKEA has opened city centre locations in major cities like New York, Paris, Moscow and London. Unlike its full-sized stores – which average 340,000 square feet – the smaller city centre units are usually cover between 5,000 and 27,000 square feet, depending on the product assortment being feature. The first Canadian location will open somewhere in downtown Toronto sometime over the next 24 months, although no location has been confirmed.

In his statement, Ward said the new city centre approach, in addition to making IKEA more accessible to more Canadian consumers, will be inspired by how Torontonians live at home and will be based on their decades of experience in the market.

“As one of the fastest growing and most diverse cities in North America, Toronto is a natural first choice for us to target growth in the city,” he added. “With a growing demand for convenience, there is a strong market potential for solutions that are more accessible and personalized. This new city approach will complement our existing stores in the market, enabling customers to shop seamlessly across all touchpoints, based on their individual needs and preferences.”

During its 2019 fiscal year, IKEA Canada said it took significant steps on its journey to be more affordable, accessible and people and planet positive. The retailer grew its fulfilment network with new distribution centres in Richmond, British Columbia and the Toronto suburb of Kleinburg. It introduced services such as $5 Click & Collect, TaskRabbit in-home assembly and lower price delivery. IKEA also created new in-store experiences including large-scale events like the IKEA PJ Party, inspirational workshops and new planning services.

In moves to into integrate sustainability throughout its retail operations, the company took more steps toward its commitments to be a circular and climate positive business by 2030, such as its new Sell-Back program, where gently used products see a second life in exchange for store credit. This past May, they phased out plastic straws in Canada, months ahead of its global commitment to eliminate all single-use plastics by 2020. With the introduction of more sustainable food items like the plant-based veggie hot dog, IKEA Food saw a sales lift of 10% to $113 million.

In 2019, IKEA workforce grew to 7,300 nationwide. Aiming to be one of Canada’s top employers, IKEA introduced a new benefits program with a focus on wellness and an enhanced retirement program to better take care of its co-workers. IKEA believes embracing diversity, equality and inclusion is more than just the right thing to do, it is essential for long-term, sustainable growth. In 2019, the retailer reaffirmed its commitment to hire 250 refugees and rolled out its Refugee Employment Program to all units from coast to coast. IKEA co-workers proudly marched in Pride celebrations nationwide and the company contributed nearly $50,000 to LGBT+ organizations. Additionally, to support a child’s right to play, IKEA partnered with Women’s Shelters Canada to create needed play areas in shelters across the country.

Related Story: IKEA Canada donates $50K to build play areas for kids
Related Story: IKEA celebrates Pride with $50K in donations to LGBTQ groups
Related Story: IKEA opens Kleinburg DC

Store sales slide in September, Statistics Canada says

2 December 2019
By the Numbers

OTTAWA – Canadian consumers cut back their spending in furniture, home furnishings and electronics and appliance stores in September, according to the latest figures from Statistics Canada. Sales in all three big ticket categories fell on both a month-over-month and year-over-year basis.

This report covers sales by brick and mortar stores only – it doesn’t track sales by e-commerce specialists such as Endy, Article or Wayfair Canada.

Furniture store sales were pegged at a preliminary and actual $1.04 billion for September, essentially unchanged from the total rung-up in the same month last year. However, it was down slightly from the $1.11 billion sold in August. On the positive side of the ledger, it was also the sixth consecutive month when furniture store sales were above the $1 billion mark.

For the first nine months of 2019, furniture store sales totalled $8.87 billion, a gain of 3.8% from the $8.55 billion for the same period last year. This gives Leon’s Furniture Limited (LFL), this country’s largest full-line furniture, mattress and appliance retailer a market share of 22.3% for the first nine month of the year.

Meanwhile, home furnishings stores – which cover everything from floor covering to lamps and lighting, decorative accessories and wall art – had preliminary and actual sales of $530.1 million in September, which was down 2% from $592.1 million in September 2018. It was also down considerably from August’s tally of $630.3 million.

For the year-to-date, home furnishings store sales were $5.12 billion – a 1.4% advance from $5.05 billion for the comparable period of 2018.

Electronics and appliance store sales also fell on both a month-over-month and year-over-year basis, according to Statistics Canada. Store sales here were pegged at a preliminary and actual $1.13 billion in September – down 12.1% from the $1.28 billion for the same month last year as well as off substantially from the $1.22 billion sold in August.

For the first nine months of the year, white and brown goods store sales were tallied at $9.54 billion, down 9.9% from the $10.6 billion rung-up for the first three quarters or 2018.

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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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