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What’s your pot policy?

21 January 2019
People, Retail

In mid-October, the Government of Canada set social policy and the criminal justice system on their collective ears when it made cannabis – often referred to as marijuana or just plain ‘pot’ – legal for the first time since before World War Two. Whatever the rationale for doing so, most observers agree this has been perhaps the most drastic change in social policy and practise since the legalisation of abortion almost 40 years ago. In the new legal ‘pot’ environment there certainly has been a fair amount of economic disruption, but the move will also have consequences and implications across the rest of society.

One of the burning questions has been the impact this new development will have on the work place – whether its factory floor or the retail showroom.

Paula Allen, vice-president of research and integrative solutions at Morneau Shepell, urged employers of every size to develop policies on the use of cannabis in their workplace.

Along with making cannabis legal, the regulations surrounding the use of hemp as a fabric has also been loosened. At last year’s Canadian Furniture Show, Dream Time Bedding introduced the Canna Bed (seen here), whose ticking is cut and sewn using hemp fibre which covers a gel and open cell foam that is compressed for shipping as a bed-in-a-box.“Given the introduction of new legislation and emerging issues that arise from those changes, it’s important that employers don’t remain static and continually look for ways to adapt to changing environments. The legalization of recreational cannabis is just one of these steps,” she wrote, adding that during a recent research project, her firm found that 12% of employees and 14% of manager reported using cannabis.

“The largest group of current users, employees (23%) and managers (32%) aged 18-34, use cannabis at least occasionally,” Allan said.

“Upon legalisation, cannabis usage is expected to increase,” she continued. “Among current users, 68% indicated they will use more often, while 16% of past users said they would resume using to some extent. Of those who have never tried or used cannabis, 4% reported that they would be more likely to use cannabis.

“This increased usage will affect the workplace, resulting in a need for employers to develop policies that define what constitutes impairment, how to monitor for impairment and respond to employees who are using cannabis,” she added.

The different uses of cannabis
Allen points out employers need to remember cannabis is used in two ways: medically for the treatment of certain ailments and conditions, mostly revolving around the management of stress and pain; and, recreationally, which places different onuses on the employer. Therefore, the employer needs to have policies to cover both scenarios.

“If the health condition impacts an individual’s work, it’s up to the employer to work with the employee to determine the best mechanisms of support and the necessary accommodation,” she said. “For recreational use, where an individual is not under the care of physicians, it’s the responsibility of the employer to ensure that there is no impairment in the workplace.”

Click here to read the rest of our report in the Winter 2018 HGO Merchandiser…

Marshall to launch new pocket coil system at LVM

21 January 2019
Events, Mattresses

TORONTO – Marshall Mattress, the inventor of the pocket coil spring mattress system will unveil its newest design of the well-regarded sleep technology when the Winter 2019 edition of the Las Vegas Market opens for its usual five-day run this coming Sunday morning (27 January).

The Canadian bedding producer – which was acquired by the Flex Group of Madrid, Spain last week – is located in building ‘B’ of the World Market Center, space 922.

“The new pocket coil system is completely adjustable friendly and is extremely responsive, offering a greater degree of body conforming support and pressure relief,” company president and lead designer Brad Warner said in a statement. “Our family has been working with and designing pocket coil spring mattresses for over 100 years and we are incredibly proud of the new Marshall pocket coil innovation to be premiered at market.”

Marshall will introduce the Luxury Absolute mattress collection at this week’s Las Vegas Market – the first featuring its redesigned pocket coil system that will offer enhanced comfort regardless of body type and weight.He also said the new system will offer enhanced comfort and support no matter the body type and weight. It will not negatively impact the company’s price list.

Marshall introduced two collections in 2018, including a five-model Bespoke by Marshall collection featuring a hand-tufted style characteristic of the turn of the 20th century. These models incorporate eucalyptus-lyocell fibre, New Zealand wool, cotton and natural latex, along with the company’s patented, cotton-wrapped pocket spring system.

The company also introduced its foam-free Sleepmaker Harmony collection offering sleep solutions for customers with sensitivities and allergies. Its design incorporates a new and resilient fiber upholstery blend which forgoes the use of traditional foam materials. When combined with the underlying pocket coil spring system, the result is great comfort and pressure-relieving support.

All Marshall Mattress products are handcrafted without foam encasement or gels and use the best of natural and new manmade materials in their manufacture.

Marshall is one of about 51 Canadian companies expected to exhibit at this edition of the Las Vegas Market and one of two mattress resources showing, the other being Signature Sleep – a division of Dorel Home Products. The market closes 31 January.

Related Story: 51 Canadians to show at LVM
Related Story: Flex Group buys Marshall

Zucora restructures leadership

21 January 2019

LONDON, Ontario – Zucora Home has restructured its leadership team in a move designed to support a rapidly evolving market being fueled by changes in technology, lifestyle trends and shopping behaviours. It will also bolster the company’s priorities in terms of customer experience, service support and technological innovation as it expands its home service programs for furniture, appliances, bedding and home systems for both consumers and retailers.

“We have strategically positioned Zucora Home for the future by creating a more effective online framework that integrates our retail partners, today’s busy families’ and tomorrow’s digitally connected homes; while enhancing our highly personalised customer service and partner relationship model,” Brad Geddes, president and chief executive officer of Zucora Home, said in a statement.

“Customer service excellence has been a core operating principle at Zucora Home for decades and is a key component to our growth as Canada’s ‘smarter living’ company. The introduction of new Smarter Living programs and Smarter Home products complement our classic appliance, furniture, and mattress protection programs provided by our retail partners. It’s a very exciting time and we’re organising for continued growth and success,” he continued.

All are company veterans and include:

Ashleigh Geddes has been named senior director of partner programs by Zucora Home.Michelle Mahovlich has been named senior director of operations. She will manage Zucora’s ordering processes and fulfillment services for both retailers and consumers as well as product development and merchandise management for its Smarter Home solutions.

Mark Geddes has become senior director of business development and will lead both corporate and retail sales associate initiatives in support of the new Smarter Living programs.

Ashleigh Geddes has been promoted to senior director of partner programs and will provide Zucora’s independent retail partners with the support and services needed to ensure success using their classic protection programs for home furnishings.

Rebeca Lopez has assumed the role of director of customer success, leading a team that will continue to deliver highly personalised solutions to customers in solving their appliance, furniture or home systems problems.

To ensure retailers also receive the best possible service and support, Oksana Tchoutchman has assumed the newly created role of director of retailer solutions with a mandate to enhance the collaborative experience of the company’s retail partners.

As director of national sales, David Cohn will continue to support Zucora’s national network of sales agents who serve hundreds of independent retail partners as the company expands its presence in this market segment across the country.

David Cohn will continue as diretor of national sales for Zucora Home.Trevor Brimson will continue to lead the company’s technology evolution as director of digital transformation with the introduction of new services to meet both internal and external requirements.

As director of financial service, Magda Everett will continue to provide leadership for managing the company’s financial, reporting and risk management activities.

To ensure continued delivery of company products to retailers and consumers, Jim Brower will become director of production and logistics to lead its product and merchandise management teams.

As director of marketing and communications, Colleen Babenko will continue to lead her team with the development of innovative brand awareness and marketing initiatives that will emphasise Zucora Home’s leadership position in the Smarter Living space in Canada.

“These leadership adjustments will also support the national introduction of our Smarter Living plans and Smarter Home products in 2019,” Brad Geddes said.

Founded in 1979 as a small manufacturer of furniture protection products, Zucora Home currently administers some two million active protection plans and manages thousands of service requests every month from homeowners when their major appliances fail or their furniture becomes stained or accidentally damaged. It is also the Canadian distributor for the PureCare line of mattress protectors and pillows.

SEC unveils lifestyle TVs

21 January 2019
Electronics, Products

MISSISSAUGA, Ontario – Samsung Electronics Canada (SEC) introduced its 2019 line-up of lifestyle televisions at the recently concluded Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The Frame and Serif TVs combine an innovative design that complements the home’s décor with superb QLED picture quality and smart features to provide consumers with seamless and intuitive TV functionality.

In a statement, the company said the Frame and Serif go beyond the traditional concept of a television set to become pieces of home décor that elevate the design of a home or living space. At CES 2019, they were featured in the lifestyle TV exhibition zone of Samsung’s booth to showcase their design, performance, and how they seamlessly blend into daily life.

Samsung Canada’s 2019 models of it lifestyle televisions – the Frame (left) and Serif (right) – were featured at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.“The Frame and Serif TV have been pivotal in introducing a new platform that blends the TV into Canadians’ decor and everyday lives,” Pat Bugos, SEC vice president of sales and marketing for home entertainment, said. “The new addition of QLED technology in our lifestyle TVs now creates an even more immersive viewing experience.”

The Frame
When it is not being used to enjoy TV or movie content, the Frame’s ‘art mode’ displays digital pieces of artwork, including paintings and pictures to turn an everyday living space into an art gallery. In addition, its luminance sensor adjusts colours on-screen to fit the ambient brightness of the room, delivering the optimal settings to display artwork on screen.

This year’s model also features the pristine picture quality of QLED, which offers deeper contrasts, deeper and darker blacks and 100% colour volume. With these enhancements, users can both enjoy content in premium picture quality and appreciate artwork when the TV is turned off.

In addition, the Frame’s art store is building on its partnerships with some of the world’s most prestigious galleries and museums by providing access to over 1,000 pieces of art. The library includes masterpieces from the Uffizi Galleries in Italy, the Van Gogh Museum in The Netherlands and Te Papa in New Zealand, all of which have recently been added. Samsung will continue to expand its partnership with museums in the future to strengthen the art distribution ecosystem.

Customers who purchase a new Frame TV are eligible for a free subscription to the art store for their first six months. After that, the fee is $7.99 a month. Art can also be purchased a la carte.

The Frame also features Bixby, Samsung’s AI-powered voice control platform, transforming it into a truly smart TV. Users can control the TV and access streaming platforms through simple voice commands giving users an enhanced content experience.

Serif TV
The Serif was developed as an aesthetic-focused television in collaboration with Paris-based design brothers, Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec, two of the world’s most celebrated furniture designers. It won the prestigious 2016 iF Design Award, the 2016 Wallpaper Design Award in the United Kingdom and the 2016 Good Design Award in Japan – making it the first Samsung TV to win these prestigious accolades.

The 2019 model comes with cutting-edge QLED technology to deliver excellent picture quality. Ambient Mode, an award-winning feature in Samsung’s QLED TV line-up that provides information such as news headlines and weather updates was also added to enhance functionality and provide the ability to display imagery or blend into the living space when the TV is off.

In the past, the Serif was sold almost exclusively in furniture shops and department stores given its focus on interior décor, but it will be available for purchase later this year in consumer electronic stores to reach a wider base of consumers.

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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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