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SCC expands Bloom

18 June 2018
Mattresses, Retail

TORONTO – In a bid to solidify its leading market position and strengthen its e-commerce presence, Sleep Country Canada (SCC) has unveiled A Bloom for Every Room, an aggressive bid to gain share in the industry’s fast growing product category by rounding out its Bloom bed-in-a-box collection.

The publicly-held sleep specialist added three models to the line-up – Air, Mist and Earth – priced at $395, $595 and $795 in queen to round out their original Bloom at $995.

In a statement, SCC said that since its launch in May 2017, Bloom has become one of its top performing mattresses and the expansion gives them product for every room in the home and every budget – from the master suite to the dorm room.

Bloom Cloud is Sleep Country Canada’s original bed-in-a-box. At $995 for a queen, it features enhanced lumbar support with advanced gel memory and latex foam. It recently added three new mattresses to its e-commerce offering."Sleep Country has always prided itself on bringing quality bedding to all Canadians ‘one bed at a time’,” said Stewart Schaefer, SCC chief business development officer. “With the launch of our original Bloom, our Sleep Innovators took their time to create the best mattress-in-a-box in the world. Their focus was on designing a very comfortable bed, with premium layers of comfort, that not only was affordable, but convenient to order either online or in-store with free shipping. It has been a real success, and now by popular demand, due to our customers’ requests, we have decided to expand the line up to include a range of Blooms that will appeal to all budgets and for all rooms in your home.”

In early June, SCC announced it has entered into an agreement to be the exclusive distributor of Simba, one of the largest bed-in-a-box purveyors in Europe. Made in the United Kingdom, Simba is a unique hybrid mattress-in-a-box that combines responsive memory foam with the support of 2,500 patented conical pocket springs.

SCC said it’s a great complementary product to Bloom and with a retail price point of $1,400 occupies the high-end of its e-commerce effort.

“At Sleep Country, we believe that we must always put our customers' needs first, and in these fast paced times, being able to service them any way they would like to shop is integral. As leaders in the mattress industry in Canada, the mattress-in-a-box market is a strategic growth opportunity for us,” Schaefer said. “We are excited to introduce our brand to a whole new segment of consumers that are looking for affordability, convenience and trust when buying a new bed.”

He then cited a recent RBC survey that found approximately 69% of respondents would purchase a mattress online – but some 43% or so of them would only do so after trying it first in a store.

With over 250 convenient locations across the country and growing, Schaefer said SCC has an advantage in the category as few of its competitors can offer the consumer the ability to take a nap in store before ordering their bed on location or online – besides which he said with their 100 Night Comfort Guarantee and ten year warranty, theirs’s is the only 100% risk-free option for buying a bed-in-a-box.

Each Bloom is available in twin, twin XL, full, queen, and king sizes.

At $395 for queen, Bloom Earth is the entry-level mattress and is crafted with gel memory foam plus an additional foam support layer.

Next up is Bloom Mist at $595 for queen.  It features an extra inch of gel memory foam for comfort, while an upgraded charcoal-infused base foam provides enhanced temperature regulation.

Bloom Air offers a combination of plush gel memory foam and aerated memory foam for additional support and comfort at $795 for a queen-size mattress.

Bloom Cloud is SCC’s original bed-in-a-box. At $995 for a queen, it features enhanced lumbar support with advanced gel memory and latex foam.

As of June 7, Sleep Country operated 252 stores and 16 distribution centres across the country. In Quebec, it operates under the Dormez-vous banner.

Related Story: SCC signs with Simba
Related Story: SCC 1Q sales up 8.9%
Related Story: SCC launches Bloom and unveils e-commerce platform

Tepperman’s opens Sarnia

18 June 2018
Retail

WINDSOR, Ontario – Regional full-line powerhouse Tepperman’s has opened its new concept store in Sarnia as it celebrates its 25th anniversary in this city on the border with Michigan.

“Over the past 25 years we’ve grown with the City of Sarnia – at the same time, the way consumers shop has also evolved,” Andrew Tepperman, third generation president of the family owned-and-operated retailer, said in a statement. “Our new Sarnia store will be larger with a more extensive selection, focusing on enhancing our customers’ experiences in areas like the coffee bar, kids’ colouring and movie section, state-of-the art customer drive thru pick-up and free electric car charging station.”

Andrew Tepperman (holding scissors) and Mayor Mike Bradley (in red tie) are seen here cutting the ribbon to mark the opening of Tepperman’s newly and relocated store in Sarnia, Ontario. Bradley is Ontario’s second longest serving mayor and this is the third Tepperman’s store he has opened.“We’ve added our store-within-a-store concept, The Bargain Annex, which is a mix of brand new factory sealed products at bargain prices and discontinued merchandise at prices local consumers will love,” he continued, adding, “We’ve also hired a number of new individuals to complement our incredible team and support the additional growth. With the recent positive local economic news, this is a perfect time to make an investment in Sarnia and Lambton County.”

The replacement store is located in the London Road Shopping Plaza, which has undergone a complete redevelopment over the past several months.

Tepperman told Home Goods Online the move was needed for several reasons. The lease on the old store in Lambton Mall was set to expire and there wasn’t enough room available for the addition of a Bargain Annex which Tepperman’s really wanted as Sarnia was the only store in the chain without one.  They also wanted to improve the customer pick-up system at the store.

Tepperman’s new store in Sarnia, Ontario features a free electric car charging station for its customers.“The Bargain Annex continues to be growing part of our business targeting newcomers to Canada, younger consumers and those people looking for a great deal. We use different suppliers than in the Tepperman’s store,” he explained.

The new store is also slightly larger, covering 40,000 square feet – versus 33,000 square feet for the old location – and has an attached 40-foot high, 4,000 square foot warehouse, something that “allows us to increase our inventory without taking up a lot of square footage,” Tepperman said, adding the Bargain Annex occupies about 5,000 square feet.

Sarnia also boasts a free electric charge station, an enhanced customer pick-up drive-thru, a free phone charge kiosk, help yourself candy jars (borrowed from Bob’s in the U.S.), defined pathways, enhanced track lighting, and credit kiosks to apply for their in-house financing.

Tepperman said several good things happened on the Sarnia economic front shortly after the decision to move was made. “A number of very positive things were announced – from a multi-billion dollar petro-chemical investment to expansion of both the area health network and the local college,” he noted.

“Sarnia has about 70,000 people and the surrounding area around 100,000. It’s always been a steady market for us,” he continued. “The final reason why we moved was after seeing the consumer response to our new store look in Kitchener we knew it was time to update our store experience. That would have been difficult in the mall location.”

The new Sarnia located will employ about 35 people as some new sales and warehouse positions were added to support the opening. The entire company now employs some 400 people across its five locations, which in addition to Sarnia include Windsor, Chatham, London and Kitchener.

Making waves

18 June 2018
Furniture, People

Online shopping and furniture seems to have gone from outright fear on the part of many retailers to some semblance of acceptance. Many retail executives and other industry insiders have transitioned from questioning and even belittling its importance to fully embracing the phenomena – including several recently profiled in the pages of this magazine. Some of the more forward looking have even updated their business models or created entirely new ones to cater to the consumer’s new way of shopping and, by extension, decorating their homes.

One of those blazing a trail across this bright, new digital world is Samantha Simonton, who until a few months ago was a marketing specialist with Ashley Furniture Industries in the Greater Vancouver Area. She was also a 2017 recipient of the prestigious Rising Star award from the International Home Furnishings Representatives Association (IHFRA).

Samantha Simonton is seen here conducting a product knowledge training session as a marketing representative for Ashley Furniture Industries in the Greater Vancouver Area.After years in the industry, Simonton has launched a company called AMY (Amazing Memorable Year). AMY’s focus is to, in Simonton’s words, to make it “fun, easy and affordable to make over homes.”

As for how AMY works, the design-oriented app is an AI-driven augmented reality platform that offers customers whole room makeovers based on their unique personality and likes for about $100 a month. The web site – amyinspired.com – encourages people to, as Simonton says “stay inspired.”

“AMY is an AI interior designer, and I have an interior designer who is doing the design work. I’m in prototype development with virtual reality, diminished reality (making a chair or dresser disappear, etc.), and artificial intelligence (AI),” explains Simonton, adding that the app isn’t available for users just yet.

The app doesn’t just help people layout and design their space, it literally creates the room for them while providing the necessary accents and furniture for a period of three years – something that works well with shoppers who like to keep their homes modern and fresh.

“I do furniture leasing and people own it for three years,” she says. “After that period, they can either purchase it or replace it with something else. The used furniture is then sanitized and refurbished and sold back into the market. Nothing is thrown out.”

Simonton says the app, which is ambitious but incredibly timely, is a response to changes in consumer buying patterns.

“The whole business is designed around how the next generation is buyers rather than savers,” she says. “They have monthly subscriptions to everything and they don’t own anything. It’s for millennials and generation zed, better known as the iPhone generation.”

If you think AMY sounds more like a tech company than a furniture one, you’re not necessarily wrong. The company fuses décor and design with innovative, state-of-the-art technology that allows the user to take pictures of her room and then see how those furniture pieces look in the space using augmented reality imaging.

So while one might be forgiven for thinking Simonton is leaning more towards the tech business, it should be noted she knows her way around a furniture showroom and is more than capable of marketing on-trend and classic pieces of upholstery and case goods to the consumer.

Click here to read Ashley’s NexGen profile of Sam Simonton in the HGO Merchandiser.

Editor’s Note: With this issue of the Merchandiser, we introduce a new series of articles devoted to profiling the next generation of leaders in Canada’s furniture, mattress and major appliance industry. For the most part, these are men and women under the age of 40 who have chosen to make their fortunes and establish their careers in this our business. For the most part, they are not only heralding change, they’re making it and setting new standards for the rest of us to follow.

Real estate drives BMTC earnings

18 June 2018
By the Numbers, Retail

MONTREAL – The sale of its Brault & Martineau store in this city’s suburb of Repentigny pushed BMTC Group firmly into the black for the first quarter of its revised 2018-2019 fiscal year as top line revenues advanced a modest 1.2%.

For the three months ended 30 April 2018, BMTC revenues were $162.2 million, up 1.2% from the $162.0 million for the three months ended 31 March 2017.

The company said same store sales climbed 3%.

Net earnings were $4.8 million or 13 cents per share, compared to $57,000 or zero cents per share for the comparable period.

During the period, BMTC sold the Repentigny store for $9 million, resulting in an after-tax gain of $4.5 million.

The company – Quebec’s largest furniture, mattress, appliance and electronics retailer – announced last December it was shifting its fiscal year end from 31 December to 31 January. Moving forward, the BMTC’s fiscal quarters will end on 31 July and 31 October with its current fiscal year ending on 31 January 2019.

Marie-Berthe Des GroseillersAll of the other publicly-held companies working the furniture, mattress and major appliance segment have fiscal years ending on 31 December. This includes Leon’s Furniture Limited; Hudson’s Bay Company; Sleep Country Canada; GoEasy, the parent of Easyhome; and, consumer goods producer Dorel Industries.

In his report to shareholders, Yves Des Groseillers, BMTC chairman, president and chief executive officer said the implementation of a distinct e-commerce platform for its Brault & Martineau and EconoMax banners has been completed and are now operational. The upgrading of its IT systems across all of its banners is ongoing.

In conjunction with its first quarter earnings, BMTC announced the promotion of company veteran Marie-Berthe Des Groseillers to president and chief executive officer. She was previously vice president and chief operating officer. She has also sat on the company’s board of directors for several years. Her father, Yves Des Groseillers retains his position as chairman of the board.

BMTC Group’s common shares are listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange. Through its subsidiary Ameublements Tanguay, and its two divisions, Brault & Martineau and EconoMax, it operates some 32 stores across the province of Quebec.

Related Story: BMTC changes fiscal year
Related Story: BMTC revenue up 1%


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Home Goods Online.ca 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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