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Mega sets conference agenda to buy, sell and learn

6 September 2023
Events, Retail

MONTREAL – Mega Group will welcome shareholders, retail members and vendor partners from across the country to the Bonaventure Hotel here for their annual conference on September 16. This year’s keynote speaker will be Jennifer Botterill, who was a member of the Canada’s national women’s hockey team for 14 years, winning 17 gold medals during her tenure, including three Olympic championships.

“This is Mega’s signature event and as Canada’s largest buying group, we are bringing together our members and vendors to provide opportunities to maximize success, work on their business, celebrate together, and have fun!” group president and chief executive officer Chris West told Home Goods Online. “Our Mega Hall of Fame inductee will be honored at this event, which is part of the proud legacy of our company.”

The event kicks off on the evening of September 16 with a welcome reception hosted by Mega chairman Richard Walls and vice-chairman Michel Goudreau.

According to the posted agenda, Sunday’s program begins with what the group is calling ‘member huddles’ before hearing an address from West, who took over as Mega Group CEO last November.

Jennifer Botterill, a member of the Canadian women’s hockey team and four-time Olympic medallist and five-time World Champion, will be the keynote speaker at this year’s Mega Group Conference. The rest of the day will be devoted to a members-only product fair, which West said will feature “a record number” of participating vendors, who have pledged to bring ‘show only’ prices to the product they display. In fact, three of the group’s better known vendor partners – Tempur Sealy Canada, Whirlpool Canada and Ashley Furniture – will make 30-minute presentations to the group at various times on the Monday and Tuesday of the conference.

Sunday evening will feature the group’s traditional gala dinner. This year’s event will also contain a salute to Konrad Kozan, the now retired Mega retail member, board member and chairman who was named as the first inductee of the Mega Fall of Fame earlier this year.

Launched in 2022, the Mega Hall of Fame honours the most influential and significant contributors to the success of member-owned buying group. Each year, a committee will select an inductee based on the impact of their achievements on Mega, its members and the home goods industry as a whole. Mega members, staff and vendors are eligible for selection.

Keynote speaker
Jennifer Botterill is one of Canada's most successful athletes. A member of the Canadian Women’s Hockey Team for 14 years, she is a three-time Olympic champion and an in-demand analyst in both Canada and the U.S., regularly appearing on Hockey Night in Canada.

When she is not sharing her knowledge and expertise of sport on air, she is empowering others to pursue excellence as an engaging keynote speaker and peak performance coach.

A graduate of Harvard University, Botterill is the only two-time winner of the Patty Kazmaier award, which honours the top player in women’s college hockey. Botterill debuted for the national team in 1997 and was named to the first ever Canadian Olympic women’s hockey roster in 1998. Throughout her collegiate career and beyond, Botterill amassed 17 gold medals for Canada. She is a four-time Olympic medalist (with three gold medals), a five-time World Champion, and a twice-named MVP of the World Championships.

In addition, Botterill is the CEO of Excel in Life Inc. and Journey to Excel Inc., where she continues her pursuit of excellence while inspiring and coaching others. She also sits on the board of directors for CCM Hockey and is an ambassador with Right to Play.

Her presentation will be on Monday morning.

The rest of the day will be devoted to other educational opportunities. John White of AVB, the U.S. buying group, will discuss the power of integrated digital marketing in a session entitled Customer First Web Strategies.

Allison McLellan, a well-known Mega member and owner of McLellan BrandSource Home Furnishings in Woodstock, New Brunswick, will team-up with Kevin Leier, the group’s long-time chief financial officer to lead a session themed Passing the Torch – Nurturing Future Leaders for Success.

Albert Marrache, president and founder of Phoenix AMD International will follow with a 30-minute session entitled Beyond the Transaction – Maximizing Revenue in Retail where he will focus on how to get the most out of every encounter with the customer.

Mega’s vice president of human resources, Erica Fox, will speak on People Power – Building a High-Retention Workforce on Monday, right before the start of the group’s ever-popular Stampede.

To close out the conference on Tuesday morning, West, Leier, Fox and Don Burnett, vice president of retail sales and service, will spend an hour with the membership discussing the group’s strategies and plans for the coming year.

“Our vendors are bringing exclusive ‘show only’ special offers and we are offering incredible learning opportunities for Mega members. That’s why it’s important for them to attend,” West said.

Click here for more information about the three-day event.

Leon’s reports sales, earnings drop for first half of 2023

6 September 2023
By the Numbers, Retail

TORONTO – Citing macro-economic factors that led to a decrease in consumer demand, Leon’s Furniture Limited (LFL), this country’s largest full-line furniture retailer recently reported declines in both sales and earnings for both the second quarter and first half of 2023.

The publicly held parent company of both Leon’s and The Brick – among others – reported system wide revenue of $717.6 million for the three months ended June 30, 2023. That’s down 8.5% from the $784.6 million for comparable period last year.

Leon’s Furniture Limited reported declines in both sales and earnings for the second quarter and first half of 2023, citing macro-economic factors that led to a decline in consumer spending and demand.Corporate store sales were $593.8 million, down from $647.0 million – an 8.2% decline as same store sales fell 8.1%. “The decline is primarily driven by a macro-economic environment that has continued to pressure consumer household spend, along with comparing to a very strong quarter in Q2 2022 where same-store sales were up 10%,” the company maintained in its report to shareholders.

While LFL management didn’t address the segment directly, second quarter e-commerce sales are believed to have fallen 15.8% from an estimated $77.6 million last year to $65.3 million – that is, from an estimated 12% of sales in 2022 to 11% this year. Observers note this is still much higher than 5% pre-pandemic.

Sales by its 101-unit strong franchise network were $123.8 million, down 10% from the previous quarter’s $137.6 million.

Adjusted net income for the three months ended June 30, 2023 was $28.0 million or 41 cents per share, compared to $47.5 million or 71 cents per share – a decrease of 42.3% on a per share basis.

“While macro-pressures remain and have impacted our results in the quarter including lower sales and higher financing costs, they seem to be stabilizing. Exiting Q2 we began to see some improvement in consumer demand, which has carried over into early Q3, giving us a more positive outlook for the second half of the year,” LFL president and chief executive officer Mike Walsh said in a statement.

“LFL is very well positioned going into the balance of 2023. Our team’s efforts to manage the cost of incoming inventory despite continued inflationary pressures contributed to solid gross margins while allowing us to offer value to our customers,” he continued, adding, “Our organization has a long history of leveraging challenging environments to gain share, emerge stronger and drive results as cyclical pressures abate.”

Second Quarter – Five Year Financial Performance of Leon’s Furniture Limited.

For the six months also ended June 30, 2023, LFL system-wide revenues were $1.34 billion, down 7.2% from $1.45 billion for the same period last year. 

Corporate stores contributed $1.11 billion, down 7.3% from $1.19 billion as same store sales declined 7.2%.

“Despite the overall reduction in revenue, the mattress product category has shown encouraging results for the first six months of 2023, which can in part be attributed to our partnership with Resident, the largest direct-to-consumer mattress company in North America,” the company noted.

Franchise sales were $236.4 million, down 6.7% from the previous year’s $253.3 million.

Net income for the first six months was $40.3 million or 60 cents per share, compared to $74.9 million or $1.09 per share – a 45.0% decline on a per share basis.

Despite the drop in both sales and earnings, Walsh told shareholders LFL’s management remains optimistic about the company’s performance in the second half of 2023 and beyond.

“Despite the prevailing consumer environment during the second quarter, the market is showing resilience and the company began to see a more constructive demand picture emerge during the final weeks of Q2 that has continued into early Q3, giving the company a more positive outlook for the second half of 2023,” he said. “Over the long-term, we remain focused on our commitment to effectively manage our costs but to also continuously invest in the business to drive growth initiatives that will drive more customers to both our online e-commerce sites and our 304 store locations across Canada.”

At the end of June 2023, the company operated under the following banners: Leon’s; Appliance Canada; The Brick; Brick Outlet; and The Brick Mattress Store. It also operated six e-commerce sites:,,,, and

The simple truth about value

6 September 2023

Whatever you sell, your market is over-served and under-differentiated. There are too many other businesses selling what you’re selling and most of you look alike, sound alike and charge about the same price. Ultimately, customer ownership and business profitability is about creating, delivering and communicating compelling value that grabs your target customers, clearly differentiates you from your competitors, makes you famous and grows your bottom line.

Customers demand value and every business promises it but there’s a huge lack of clarity about what value really is. Let’s keep it simple; there are only three kinds of value: functional, emotional and financial. That’s it

We deliver functional value when we:

  • sell extraordinary products, services and experiences that actually work for our target customers.
  • are open or available when they need us.
  • provide the information, coaching, support and encouragement they need to wisely choose and effectively use what we sell. In other words, be their ‘caring coach’.
  • create policies, systems and processes that make us easy, efficient and consistent to do business with.

So, how can we improve our functional value in the four areas listed above?

Next is emotional value. Most businesses struggle with this one. They think it’s some airy-fairy thing that can’t be defined – and they’re dead wrong!

Quite simply, we deliver emotional value when our customers feel better about themselves and the world every time they do business with us, and every time they use what they bought from us. That’s it!

If we’re not delivering emotional value, we’re not connecting with our customers on an emotional level, which is where most buying decisions are made, or strongly influenced.

Making people feel good, on its own, may not earn you the business, but making them feel lousy, will likely lose you the business.

So, how could we deliver more emotional value? How could we make prospects and customers feel valued, respected and safe? How could we brighten their day with simple acts of kindness, joy and gratitude? Whatever we sell, people come to us for that, plus joy! We must never underestimate the power of joy. It may sound corny, but it will make a big difference in their day.  People will always remember how we made them feel.

Financial value is number three. Most businesses put it as number one but it has to be three, because it’s a function of the previous two.

We deliver financial value when our customers believe they have paid a fair and competitive price for all the functional and emotional value they got from us. If we don’t deliver extraordinary functional and emotional value, there’s no price low enough to be good enough.

So, the question is, are we delivering the compelling combination of functional, emotional and financial value that makes us the clear, wise choice for our target customers? If not, what needs fixing in our business, who will fix it? And by when?

Then, when we’ve done the work, we need to effectively communicate our compelling value story in everything we do. There’s no point being the best if we’re also the best kept secret. 

Note: If you’d like a little coaching help with this important process of creating, delivering and communicating compelling customer value, I’m easy to find at

Here’s something else to think about:
A recent survey states 40% of newly promoted first-time managers fail within the first 18 months. My guess is that this number is low.

Doing is fundamentally different from managing. But in business, we often take our best doer, make him or her a manager, without the extensive training required to successfully manage things and lead people and then wonder why it doesn’t always work out.

If you don’t have the time, resources or ability to do the proper training, don’t make the move.  Either they’ll muddle along creating problems, inefficiency and frustration for all concerned or they’ll leave. Either way, you’ll lose a great doer and still be down a great manager. And, in the process, you may have severely damaged their life.

The solution is simple: develop an effective training course for first-time managers or send your people with potential to such a course somewhere in the outside world. Then, ask them if they even enjoyed the management stuff they learned. Did it turn their crank? If not, nurture and cherish them as great doers and don’t promote them to be failures.

New car prices have gone crazy. As of June 2023 the average price of a new vehicle in Canada increased by 21% year-over-year, to a record high of $66,288.

Add on higher interest rates and the average monthly finance payment on a new car was $797 as of June, up 38% from June 2019. Because of all this, the price of used cars has also skyrocketed.

Ford Model T fun facts. By constantly improving production efficiency, the Model T price fell from $825 in 1908 to just $360 in 1917. While the price was coming down, quality, features and performance improvements were constantly added or improved. Fifteen million Model Ts were sold by 1927, resulting in a 61% market share.

So, what are you doing to constantly improve the quality and performance of the products or services you sell, while continually improving operational efficiency?

That’s it for this week. Live brilliantly!

Cozey launches outdoor collection, enters U.S. market

1 September 2023
Furniture, Retail

MONTREAL – The past few weeks have been busy for direct-to-consumer (DTC) furniture start-up, Cozey. It not only expanded its product offerings with its first outdoor modular sofa collection but did so the while entering the consumer market south of the border.

Cozey burst on to the scene in June 2020 as a sofa-in-a-box specialist based on a concept created by company founder and chief executive officer Frédéric Aubé, who announced its entry into the United States this past June.

“For Cozey, entering the U.S. market is a natural progression towards our long-term objective of becoming the best furniture company in the world,” he told Furniture Today, the U.S. furniture industry trade journal. “We have had lots of success so far in Canada, and we feel that we have a lot to offer in the U.S. market with a tremendous value proposition and the best customer service in the industry. Thousands of U.S. customers have already reached out and signed up on our e-mail lists.

“It’s been three years since I launched Cozey, and I feel that we are at the right place today in terms of product, team and infrastructure to support our next phase of growth,” he continued. “t’s a very exciting time for our organization.”

The Montreal-based direct-to-consumer specialist Cozey has expanded into outdoor furniture with its Mistral collection. Seen here is its five-seater corner sectional with ottoman.Cozey is calling its first outdoor modular sofa collection the Mistral. Aubé noted the Mistral was designed – as are all of its products – with comfort, elegance and convenience in mind and at a very attractive retail price point. With its tool-free and patent-pending assembly approach, Cozey customers will also be able to quickly disassemble their outdoor furniture and store it inside small spaces during the Canadian winters.

“We wanted to take another approach to outdoor furniture. For us Canadians, outdoor furniture needs to be stored inside our homes for half of the year and it is usually very space consuming to do so,” Aubé said.

“In true Cozey fashion, we developed the ultimate outdoor sofa collection that will allow our customers to reconfigure, adapt and expand their product to tailor their needs while being elegant, comfortable and easy to store flat pack during colder months. You can then re-assemble it tool-free next spring,” he continued, adding, “Outdoor furniture is also usually very cheap or very expensive. Due to our direct-to-consumer model and innovative shipping solutions, we can afford to cut through all sorts of costs and afford to offer a top-of-the-line quality product at a very reasonable price.”

The company said the three-seat Mistral sofa will retail for $1,495 on its web site and will be offered in five cushion colours. The high-density foam cushions are wrapped in a waterproof bag inside water-resistant covers containing strips of Velcro that attach to the UV-resistant aluminium frame to stay in place with high winds.

The product also comes with a five-year warranty, a 30-day risk-free trial and in easy to transport boxes. Fabric swatches can also be ordered for free to feel the fabric and see the colours in real life.

“We want to deliver great furniture products and amazing customer experiences,” Aubé maintains.

In addition to Mistral, Cozey currently offers three indoor seating collections called Atmosphere, Ciello and Altus (the original model). Late last year, the company launched a series of coffee and side tables and has since added media units as well as accessories such as pillows and throws.

It has also launched a refurbished program where customers can return furniture, which is then refurbished (if needed) and made available on Cozey’s refurbished site at a discounted price. The DTC retailer also supports several local charities such as homeless and women’s shelters and rehabilitation programs.

The company also announced it intends to open its first brick-and-mortar retail location sometime in the near future, a move enabled thanks to a $15 million investment round led by the CDPQ (Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec), the Quebec City-based institutional investor that manages several public and private pension plans and insurance programs.

Related Story: Cozey adds tables

Related Story: Cozey raises $2M to fuel expansion

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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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