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LBB celebrates grand opening of Ottawa store

21 October 2020
Retail

OTTAWA – High-impact promoter Lastman’s Bad Boy recently celebrated the grand operating of its first brick-and-mortar store here, noting it won’t be the company’s only outlet in the nation’s capital.

In a recent telephone interview with Home Goods Online, Samantha Lastman, the retailer’s director of business development (and daughter of chief executive officer Blayne Lastman), was more-than enthusiastic about the store’s potential, which at 30,000 square feet is one of the largest in its now 12-unit chain.

Blayne Lastman (left), chairman of Lastman’s Bad Boy, is seen here with the company mascot and his son, Brad, at the grand opening of the retailer’s first brick-and-mortar in Ottawa. The store – located on Merivale Road in this city’s Nepean suburb – had a soft opening in June after being slightly delayed by the Ontario government order that saw retail across the province shut down as part of fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Ottawa is a good fit for us,” Lastman said, adding “It has a lot of big box stores and all of our competitors are here. They’re doing, so we know we’ll do well here too.”

In addition to Lastman’s Bay Boy, also every Canadian furniture, mattress and appliance retailer has a presence somewhere in the National Capital Region including Leon’s, The Brick, Brault & Martineau, Leon’s, Sleep Country Canada, Best Buy and Canadian Appliance Source.

She noted Ottawa is one of the most affluent markets in the country. In addition to the public service, local residents are employed in a variety of higher-paying jobs ranging from academia to technology. “There are over a million hard working people here,” she pointed out.

Slightly larger than most other Bad Boy locations, the new Ottawa location has a staff of 50 people – bringing the company’s employment rolls to about 350 – and carries its complete product assortment. Its opening follows on the heels of the store opened in Kingston, Ontario last fall.

Although the date has yet to be determined, Samantha Lastman said Ottawa will probably get a second Bad Boy location at some point in the future. The privately held retailer, which was re-founded by her father in 1991, is currently planning on opening a new store every two years or so. They currently have their sights set on the Toronto suburb of Newmarket.

In addition to its virtual e-commerce store, the chain currently operates a total of 12 stores throughout Ontario ranging from Ottawa in the east to London in the west. It also has a distribution centre in the Toronto suburb of North York. 

Related Story: Bad Boy opens Kingston

Related Story: Nooobody does it like a Lastman

IKEA Canada to launch sustainable Black Friday campaign

21 October 2020
Community, Furniture, Retail

BURLINGTON, Ontario – IKEA Canada is planning to take a different approach to Black Friday, the retail phenomenon that began in the United Stares as a kick-off to the Christmas selling season on the day after their Thanksgiving holiday in November. It spread to Canada a few years later.

In an announcement made last week, this country’s second largest home furnishings retailer said it will put sustainability at the core of its offer, highlighting products and services that are better for both people and the planet. This year, Black Friday will fall on November 27.

Instead of door crasher deals, IKEA said it will invite its Canadian customers to sell back their gently used IKEA products and will offer as much as double its sell back value (which is determined by store staff after reviewing the item) in store credit during the campaign period.

The retailer said it wants to make sustainable living more accessible and affordable. It will also stage furniture donation drives and offer special promotions of ‘as is’ products as well provide inspiration for extending the life of second-hand IKEA furnishings, both in-store and online.

As part of its new alternative Black Friday campaign, IKEA Canada will promote more sustainable living by creating increased awareness of its ‘as is’ furniture assortment, along with other measures.“On one of the biggest shopping days of the year, we want to change the conversation from one of mass consumption to mass circularity, and show how sustainable living can be easy and affordable for everyone,” IKEA Canada’s head of sustainability, Melissa Barbosa said in a statement. “This Black Friday, we will redefine savings by inspiring and enabling Canadians to save not only money, but also water, energy, waste and resources.”

In its announcement, the company said it’s transforming its business model – in every are from furniture to food, production to home delivery and energy to investments – as part of its drive to become fully circular and climate positive by 2030. “This includes designing only with renewable and recycled materials; offering new ways for customers to acquire, care for, prolong the life of and pass on IKEA products; and joining forces with other organizations and individuals who share the same determination for change,” the retailer said.

To help reduce the number of home furnishing products thrown away each year, the IKEA Sell-Back program enables customers to return gently used items back to the retailer in exchange for store credit. Furniture is then given a second life through resale in the local store’s ‘as is’ section or through donation.

Barbosa said since it was launched in early 2019, the sell-back program has seen strong engagement from its Canadian customers. To expand its circular offer, IKEA is piloting a mattress donation program with Furniture Bank and offering a kitchen recycling program with Habitat for Humanity where customers can donate pre-loved kitchens for a tax credit.

IKEA has phased out single-use plastics from its home furnishing range and recently launched a ‘green dot’ product guide to help consumers live more sustainably at home.

“Every year, IKEA products and services are part of millions of Canadians homes and we have a responsibility to support our customers to live a better everyday life within the limits of our planet through affordable, straightforward solutions,” Barbosa said. “We are committed to helping our customers reduce their household climate impacts by continuously evolving the products and services we offer to help reduce energy use, water consumption and waste.”

The IKEA Canada Black Friday campaign will run from mid-November through until the end of the month.

Part of the Ingka Group, IKEA Canada operates 14 stores across the country and welcomed 31 million visitors last year. Its virtual store at IKEA.ca hosted some 117 million visitors.

MLS sales set another record in September: CREA

21 October 2020
By the Numbers

OTTAWA – Housing sales through its Multiple Listing Service (MLS) set another record in September 2020, with gains recorded both over the month of August and on a year-over-year basis, according to the latest figures from the Canadian Real Estate Association. While the national average price also grew, the number of new listings fell from the prior month.

The realtors’ group reported home sales rose 0.9% in September over August and 45.6% from the number sold in September 2019. Sales edged upwards on about 60% of local markets, including Ottawa, the Greater Vancouver Area (GVA), Vancouver Island, Calgary and Hamilton-Burlington. These were offset by declines in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) and Montreal.

CREA also pointed out “activity in the two largest Canadian markets (the GVA and GTA) is still historically very strong” while noting the new September record had a margin of some 20,000 transactions over the previous high – “the equivalent of a normal month of September with an entire month of December tacked on.”

For the 2020 year-to-date, CREA said 402,578 homes have traded hands over the MLS, up 5.8% from the first nine months of 2019. Based on established norms, each of those transactions is expected to generate an average of $6,500 in furniture, mattress and appliance sales over the next three years.

Chart courtesy of the Canadian Real Estate Association."This is starting to sound like a broken record (about records being broken), but Canadian home sales and prices set records once again in September amid record-tight overall market conditions, as they did in July and August,” CREA senior economist Shaun Cathcart said in a statement.

“Reasons have been cited for this – pent-up demand from the lockdowns, government support to date, ultra-low interest rates, and the composition of job losses to name a few,” he continued, “I would also remind everyone that sales were almost setting records and markets were almost this tight back in February so we were already close to where things are now, as far away from Goldilocks territory as we had ever been before.

“But I think another wildcard factor to consider, which has no historical precedent, is the value of one’s home during this time. Home has been our workplace, our kids' schools, the gym, the park and more,” Cathcart added. “Personal space is more important than ever.”

The number of newly listed homes fell back by 10.2% in September, reversing the surge to record levels seen in August. New supply was down in two-thirds of local markets, led by declines in both the GVA and GTA.

There were just 2.6 months of inventory on a national basis at the end of September 2020 – the lowest reading on record for this measure. At the local market level, a number of Ontario markets are now into weeks of inventory rather than months. Much of the province of Ontario is close to or under one month of inventory.

The actual (not seasonally adjusted) national average home price set another record in September 2020, topping the $ 600,000 mark for the first time ever at more than $604,000. This was up 17.5% from the same month last year.

Excluding the GVA and GTA – the country’s largest and most active housing markets – the national average price falls by about $125,000.

In her research note, Rishi Sondhi of TD Economics, said the strength of the resale market in September was the result of a number of factors, including low borrowing costs, the relative mix of employment and incomes losses suffered because of the pandemic, and the release of pent-up demand.

“The question now becomes whether this momentum is sustainable,” she said, adding, “In our view, home sales are set to cool from their unsustainable third quarter pace over the next few quarters. Regarding prices, we think they’ll hold up at these record levels in the fourth quarter, a view given credence by the fact that markets were the tightest they’ve been in nearly 20 years in September. However, some easing is anticipated thereafter, reflecting intensifying affordability challenges.”

HGO survey to determine priorities for Canadian retailers

13 October 2020
Retail, Opinion

BRIGHTON, Ontario – Those who have been following this publication know Home Goods Online (HGO) has always been interested in presenting the highest quality market research and articles on best practises for Canadian home goods retailers, particularly those selling furniture, mattresses, major appliances and home theatre electronics. The opinion of our readers is critical in helping guide those efforts, which is why we are conducting the first of what will hopefully become a series of nationwide surveys about your business priorities, interests and challenges.

Your participation in this anonymous survey will help HGO develop and share highly valuable information and analysis everyone in our industry will find useful in achieving their business goals.

The first two questions of this – the first survey – are dynamic and designed to qualify the respondents to ensure each fit the scope and intent of this research, who are independent furniture, mattress and major appliance retailers.

A caveat, this survey is fairly and, at times, will feel a little bit repetitive. The first section, for example, asks respondents to answer 21 different questions by selecting the most and least important options from a choice of five fields. Some of the answer fields are repeated under different questions. They have much the same feel as your last eye exam, when the optometrist asked if the lens you are peering through is ‘better or worse’ than the prior one. I heard that ‘better or worse’ for a week after my last exam. But here, as during that eye exam, repetition bring clarity.

I’ll admit many busy store owners might abandon the survey but I urge you to power through and get to the fun questions that come later as you will be asked to rank your perceptions on several issues as well as your opinions of the buying groups.

The survey shouldn’t take more than 10 to 15 minutes to complete. When compared to a lot of other surveys I’ve seen and participated in, that’s fairly long. But I believe this is an important survey and the length is necessary. This is, after all, a rare opportunity for retailers to share what their business goals and priorities are, particularly in the wake of what may well be the first wave of an unprecedented global experience that has permanently altered the way we all live and work.

HGO believes it’s important to properly identify and define the priorities of Canadian furniture, mattress and major appliance retailers. We need to see where they have shifted and what gaps need to be filled. I’m confident the results of the survey – which will be released later this year – will be able to determine what types of contents and services will be most useful to these vitally important Canadian retailers. The survey will be available until the close of business (5pm Eastern) on Friday, November 6, 2020.

Click here to participate in the survey. 

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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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