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Endy partners with Urban Barn

19 February 2019
Furniture, Mattresses, Retail

TORONTO – Consumer wishing to try out an Endy Mattress can do so in one of 37 Urban Barn locations across the country, under a new alliance signed between the new e-commerce division of Sleep Country Canada Holdings and the Vancouver-headquartered contemporary furniture and accessory specialist.

“We are thrilled to partner with Urban Barn to roll out showrooms across the country,” Endy chief executive officer Mike Gettis said in a statement. “Through this partnership, we look forward to expanding our reach to even more Canadians. Now, customers can experience Endy online as well as in physical Urban Barn locations for a truly omni-channel shopping experience, with all Endy customers able to enjoy our in-home 100 Night Trial.”

Endy mattresses and pillows will now be sold at some 37 Urban Barn locations across the country, thanks to a new partnership the two companies have signed. “As a Canadian owned and operated company, we are thrilled to partner with Endy as they share our values and drive to deliver quality products to Canadian consumers,” Ainslie Fincham, director of marketing for the 55-unit Urban Barn, added. “Endy’s reputation and fan-favourite products are a wonderful addition to our assortment of furniture and home décor. We are excited to offer our customers official Endy showrooms across the country, alongside endless design inspiration within our stores.”

Although Urban Barn has an extensive assortment of linens and other bedding products both online and in-store, this is believed to be the first mattress they’ve featured on their floor.

Many e-commerce mattress brands have been forging brick-and-mortar partnerships in recent months. For example, Casper has entered alliances with Indigo, as well as EQ3 and Hudson’s Bay. Simba, the U.K. e-commerce mattress purveyor recently signed on with Sleep Country Canada.

While customer will be able try out Endy mattresses and pillows at Urban Barn, should she decide to buy, she will be given a unique promotional code to use when placing her order at endy.com.

In announcing the venture, Endy and Urban Barn described themselves as two proudly Canadian companies that share similar founding stories and brand values. Both were launched by childhood friends who built companies focusing on bringing premium products to Canadian consumers.

Both are also committed to community giving and charity partnerships. Among other social initiatives, Endy works with dozens of charity partners to donate new and gently-used mattresses to families and individuals in need, including new refugees to Canada, women and children exiting the shelter system, and youth transitioning out of homelessness.

Urban Barn has engaged in numerous social programs, including the Shelter Rejuvenation Project, where they transformed spaces within five Canadian shelters, and the Blanket the Country campaign, where they raised funds and awareness in support of animal shelters and SPCAs across the country.

When Endy was acquired by Sleep Country Canada Holdings, execs for both firms stressed each would remain separate and wouldn’t be working together on a day-to-day basis. The agreement with Urban Barn is an example of that, as Endy could have used Sleep Country and Dormez-vous to enter the physical retail space.

Gettis and Rajen Ruparell, Endy co-founder and chairman told BetaKit – the online technology news service – when the acquisition was announced late las year that Endy would look at brick-and-mortar in its own way and in keeping with its own approach to the market.

“The spirit of the deal was the fact that we have a lot of respect for their heritage and the stuff [Sleep Country] has built, but they have a lot of respect and understanding that we are experts in our field, which is building an ecommerce brand,” Ruparell told BetaKit. “That is very different than the Sleep Country brand. So, what made this easy for both of us was the neutral aspect and the ability to allow us to continue on our own path without the interference of the other. I think there’s an opportunity to lean on each other with learning but that will come over time.”

Related Story: SCC closes Endy purchase
Related Story: Sleep Country buys Endy
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Tony Melis named CFS director

19 February 2019
Events, People

MONTREAL – Seasoned event executive Tony Melis has been named show director of the Canadian Furniture Show (CFS), by its owner and operator, the Quebec Furniture Manufacturers Association (QFMA).

He succeeds Simon Harris, who was recently appointed associate director of event operations for the Palais des congrès de Montréal, one of this city’s largest event venues.

“Tony believes strongly in the face-to-face experience and he is a tremendous addition to the Canadian Furniture Show team,” QFMA president and chief executive officer Pierre Richard said in making the announcement.

Tony Melis has been named director of the Canadian Furniture Show.Prior to joining CFS, he was head of client success for Greencopper, a Montreal-based event technology company. Melis also held senior management positions at Sponsorium and Key7Events International after serving for a number of years as vice president of business development for Showcare Event Solutions and director of global accounts for Laser Registration (now part of Showcare).

Fluent in four languages, he is also a graduate of the John Molson School of Business at Montreal’s Concordia University.

“The golden thread in my career has always been live events – from trade shows to conferences, sponsorship activations and live concerts,” Melis told Home Goods Online. “It has always been about optimising the face-to-face experience by understanding and balancing of the needs of stakeholders (organisers, sponsors, exhibitors and attendees) and gaining a deep understanding of how decisions made during the planning stages of an event can impact the event experience for everyone involved.”

He also noted there have been enormous changes in the events industry over the past 20 years. “Instead of looking only at ROI (return on investment), I’ve become a big fan of looking at ROO (return on objectives),” he explained. “Times have changed, and today’s business environment is too complex to have just one reason to exhibit. There is more than one reason to attend an event (such as CFS) and each reason should have an objective that is measurable and weighted for its importance.

“The market has told us the Canadian Furniture Show is important to the industry,” he continued, “It is the only event of its kind that brings together all stakeholders in the industry from coast-to-coast. My role is to ensure we continue to optimize the face-to-face experience and balance the needs of all stakeholders.”

He also acknowledges his learning survey will be steep, as he faces organising two events in the space of eight months – the first this coming May and the second when CFS moves to its new January timeslot.

“His wealth of experience drawn from more than 20 years in the trade show industry, both at the national and international level, will greatly contribute to the on-going evolution and success of the show,” Richard said. “I am convinced that exhibitors have already realised Tony is personable and approachable while being organised and business driven at the same time.”

The 2019 edition of the Canadian Furniture Show will be held at the International Centre in Mississauga, Ontario from 24 to 26 May.

GoEasy strikes earnings record

19 February 2019
By the Numbers, Retail

MISSISSAUGA, Ontario – GoEasy, parent to this country’s largest big-ticket leasing merchant, hit new highs in sales and earnings for both the fourth quarter and the full 2018 fiscal year, driven almost entirely by double-digit growth in its consumer lending arm, EasyFinancial.

Revenue for the three months ending 31 December 2018 was $138.2 million, up 28.8% from the $107.2 million generated for the three months ending 31 December 2017. Overall same store sales were up 28.5%.

Fourth quarter revenue from EasyFinancial – it’s short-term consumer lending arm – was $103.3 million, a 41% leap from $73.2 million for the same period the year prior. Its consumer loan portfolio ended the year valued at $834 million, up 58% on a year-over-year basis.

Meanwhile, revenue from EasyHome – a leasing merchant specialising in furniture, appliances and electronics – totalled $34.9 million for the last three months of the year, up 2.5% from the $34.0 million for the corresponding period. Same store sales for this segment were up 7.1%.

The company also reported EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation) climbed 36.8% for the fourth quarter to $37.8 million – from $27.7 million for the comparable period.

Net earnings were pegged at $15.9 million or $1.02 per share, up from $5.4 million or 38 cents per share – an uptick of 168.4% on a per share basis.

Revenue for the full 2018 year was $506.2 million, up 26.0% from $401.7 million for 2017 as same store sales grew 25.7%.

Easyfinancial revenue for the year was $368.3 million, a 39.3% advance from the prior year’s $264.5 million.

EasyHome generated revenue of $137.9 million for the year, advancing 0.4% over the $137.3 million for 2017 as same store sales gained 6.4%.

EBITDA climbed 33.8% to $131.6 million.

Net earnings were $53.1 million or $3.56 per share, compared to $36.1 million or $2.56 per share – a gain of 39.1% on a per share basis.

In its announcement, GoEasy noted the October to December period represented its 35th consecutive quarter or same store sales growth and 70th consecutive quarter of positive net income. Since 2001, the publicly-held company has recorded compound annual revenue growth of 13% and net income growth of 29%.

It also announced the annual dividend payable to shareholders would be increased for the fifth consecutive year to $1.24 per share – up 38% from 90 cents per share.

The company also said it intends to add at least ten – and as many as 20 – EasyFinancial locations to its network this year as well as in each of the next two years. It anticipates in gross loan portfolio will top the $1 billion mark sometime in 2019 and could be as high as $1.7 billion by the end of 2021.

At the end of the year, GoEasy operated a total of 165 EasyHome stores across the country, including 31 franchise and 134 corporate locations. That’s down from 171 at the end of 2017 as six corporate stores were closed one was converted into a franchise. There were 241 EasyFinancial locations in operation, up to 228 at the end of 2017.

Zucora Home named one of London’s ‘Best Places to Work’

19 February 2019
Events, People, Products

LONDON, Ontario – Added value product and service resource Zucora Home has been named one of this city’s ‘Best Places to Work’ for 2019 by London Inc. magazine.

More than 90 local companies were nominated, and 14 companies were selected for the honour following an employee survey that was independently administered by Carswell Partners, a local human resources and talent management firm.

“At Zucora Home, our entire team is known as ‘Zucorians’ and it’s their enthusiasm, energy, and desire to help our customers that best illustrates the essence of our company culture,” company president and chief executive officer Brad Geddes, said in a statement. “All Zucorians are encouraged to be a changemakers with opportunities for their ideas to contribute to a number of employee-driven initiatives, ranging from community fundraising to making an impact on the environment. Employees are encouraged and rewarded for ideas and suggestions for how Zucora Home can be better and do better.

The staff of Zucora Home, which was named one of London’s ‘Best Places to Work’ for 2019 by London Inc. magazine.“This recognition is an honour for us and I’m very proud of our team and the work we do everyday to serve customers across Canada,” he added.

Employees from all nominated companies were asked to complete an assessment that measures their company on values such as trust in leadership, personal engagement, collaborative culture and satisfaction of individual needs.

When asked what makes Zucora Home a great place to work, Chantelle VanPuymbroeck, Zucora Home ambassador said, “Zucora Home is a place to build your career and have fun at the same time, a work hard, play hard environment. From the moment you step in the door, you’re welcomed by a group of people that are truly here to help you succeed!”

“I love the sense of community, comradery and partnership that has been instilled by our leadership team and has trickled down through each team. We are a brand that is trustworthy and reliable which gives us a sense of pride for who we are as Zucorians. I love the environment and above all, I love that we are one big family,” added Stephanie Berube, team lead/customer solutions, added.

The program organisers also noted that Zucorians enjoy full health benefits program, participate in a generous profit-sharing plan, have the option to participate in a company-sponsored registered retirement savings program and have funding available for personal education and training. In addition, Zucora Home has employee-driven committees that integrate Zucorians from all areas of the company to help build a family atmosphere so change can be made by sharing ideas, experiences and working together.

Founded in 1979 as Magi Seal Corporation, Zucora Home currently has a roster of 48 employees.

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