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Leon’s brings Delta D.C. online

An exterior view of Leon’s Furniture Limited newly opened state-of-the-art distribution centre in Delta, British Columbia.
18 October 2017
Appliances, Distribution, Furniture, Mattresses, Retail

DELTA, British Columbia – Leon’s Furniture Limited (LFL), this country’s largest retailer of furniture, mattresses and major appliances has opened its long-awaited state-of-the-art distribution centre here in this suburb of Vancouver as part of its drive to achieve cost savings and efficiencies now that it needs a truly national distribution network.

In a statement, the publicly-held parent of both Leon’s and The Brick, said the 432,346 square foot facility is the largest capital investment the company has made on a single property in its 108-year history and it will significantly increase its inventory capacity in this country’s western-most province.

Two existing warehouses in British Columbia will be consolidated into the Delta facility, which is expected to generate meaningful cost savings and efficiencies over the next several years as the company’s online and bricks and mortar businesses in the province continue to grow.

When at capacity, Leon’s new Delta distribution centre can hold approximately $40 million in inventory at real and features state-of-the-art equipment, systems and processes to ensure maximum efficiency.LFL announced it was building the Delta distribution centre in February 2016 when it secured the leases of four Sears Home stores from the soon-to-be-defunct Sears Canada in the Greater Vancouver Area. These stores were renovated and reopened under the Leon’s banner seven months later.  Their opening gave the Leon’s banner a truly national presence for the first time ever.

“Our new Delta facility represents an important milestone on our ongoing journey to generate meaningful efficiencies throughout our network,” said Edward Leon, LFL president and chief operating officer. “This new DC will enhance product availability and shipping times within the province of B.C. while generating meaningful cost savings over time as we continue to ramp-up our west coast presence.

“This is the first time since our acquisition of The Brick that a distribution facility in our network has been positioned to handle product for both of our primary banners,” he added. “Furthermore, this is an example of a model that we could replicate in other areas of the country to enhance our industry-leading, national distribution capabilities.”

LFL owns 50% of the Delta DC – which is already in operation – while the other half is owned by Beedie Development of Vancouver and represents an investment of over $65 million. At full capacity, the facility can hold approximately $40 million in inventory at retail and features state-of-the-art equipment, systems and processes to ensure that product is moving efficiently through its more than 100 doors. It will be the primary conduit for the company’s its 40 brick and mortar stores as well as its online businesses for the province of British Columbia.

Related Story: Leon’s to take over eight Sears Home leases across Canada

Resale house market shrinks

18 October 2017
By the Numbers

OTTAWA – The resale housing market shrank in September on a year-over-year basis, according to the latest data published by the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA), although it did bounce back slightly from August and the national average price continued to climb. The number of new listings also climbed from August to September.

However, sales also remained lower than the peak struck in March 2017.

Most analysts noted the uptick was larger driven by sales in the Greater Vancouver Area (GVA), the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) and the two larger Ontario markets of London and Kitchener-Waterloo. There were smaller improvements in other markets such as Calgary, Winnipeg, Saint John and Sherbrooke.

The realtors association reported the number of homes sold via its Multiple Listing Service (MLS) edged up 2.1% in September on a month-over-month basis – building on an even smaller increase in August, but leaving national home sales almost 12% below the record set in March.

On a month-over-month basis, activity was up in about half of all local markets.

Chart courtesy of the Canadian Real Estate Association.Actual activity was down 11% in September 2017 compared to the record set for the month in 2016. Sales were down from year-ago levels in close to three-quarters of all local markets, led by the GTA and nearby housing markets.

“National sales appear to be stabilising,” CREA president Andrew Peck said in a statement. “While encouraging, it's too early to tell if this is the beginning of a longer-term trend. The national result continues to be influenced heavily by trends in Toronto and Vancouver but housing market conditions vary widely across Canada.”

“Further tightening of federal regulations aimed at cooling housing markets in Toronto and Vancouver risks creating collateral damage in markets elsewhere in Canada,” CREA chief economist Gregory Klump added. “It also jeopardises Canadian economic growth, which is already showing signs of fading.”

The number of newly listed homes rebounded by almost 5% in September following three consecutive monthly declines, largely the result of a jump in new supply in the GTA.

With new listings up by more than sales in September, the national sales-to-new listings ratio eased to 55.7% compared to 57.2% in August – well within what CREA deems ‘balanced’ territory as ratios below 40% indicates a buyers’ market while one over 60% suggests a seller’s market. About two-thirds of all local markets were in balanced market territory in September.

The number of months of inventory is another important measure of the balance between housing supply and demand. It represents how long it would take to liquidate current inventories at the current rate of sales activity. There were five months of inventory on a national basis at the end of September 2017, unchanged from August and broadly in line with the long-term average for the measure.

The actual (not seasonally adjusted) national average price for homes sold in September 2017 was just over $487,000 – up almost 3% from one year ago. The national average price is heavily skewed by sales in the GVA and GTA, Canada’s most expensive markets. Excluding them reduces the national average price to just above $374,500.

In his note, Michael Dolega, director of TD Economics, suggested some of the uptick in sales during September was driven by people jumping into the market as mortgages rates begin to rise.

“The GVA, in particular, is once again showing signs of heating conditions with sales up strongly and prices nearing record levels. Still, we expect rising mortgage rates will take some steam out of this market given the affordability pressures, with slower price growth on the horizon,” he said, adding, “Quebec’s housing markets are also showing signs of improvement, alongside the strong economic growth and near record-low unemployment in the province. As far as the Greater Golden Horseshoe and the GTA in particular are concerned, rising mortgage rates will keep these markets from rebounding too quickly, with the recent rebalancing of conditions still on relatively fragile ground.

“Lastly, the energy-rich provinces have seen some rebalancing of conditions, and while still elevated unemployment rates pose a risk going forward, we expect conditions will continue to gradually to improve with the economic backdrop.”

He also pointed out that after raising rates twice of the summer, the Bank of Canada is expected to hike them again later this year, with another two likely next year. New mortgage regulations from the Superintendent of Financial Institutions are also expected to dampen housing sales once implemented, probably over the coming months.

“Having said that, after some near-term weakness, likely to last into mid-2018, activity should begin to rebound thereafter given the fundamentally supported demand related to strong job growth and strengthening wage dynamics,” Dolega said.

IKEA going to London

13 October 2017
Furniture, Retail

LONDON, Ontario – IKEA Canada will open its 15th full-size store and the third since it announced its aggressive expansion campaign in late 2015 here this southwestern Ontario city of 388,000. It is expected to open in the fall of 2019.

The company – a subsidiary of the global home furnishings giant headquartered in the Netherlands – said in a statement the new 270,000 square foot facility will be built as part of a new retail and commercial complex at the intersection of Highway 401 and Wellington Road in the south end of the city. It will feature a showroom, market hall, a restaurant, the company’s SMALAND children’s play facility and will offer its complete range of services such as home delivery, assembly, planning and exchanges.

An artist’s concept of the new IKEA Canada store set to open in London, Ontario in the fall of 2019. It will be the company’s 15th full-size store and part of its aggressive decade-long expansion project.“We know our loyal customers in the London area and beyond have been passionate supporters of the IKEA brand,” IKEA Canada president Marsha Smith said. “We look forward to welcoming many more customers to the new IKEA store when it opens in fall 2019.”

IKEA opened the first full-size store in the expansion drive two weeks ago – a 330,000 square foot outlet in Halifax, Nova Scotia. It is currently building a 340,000 square foot store in Quebec City that is scheduled be online next summer.

A few months after kicking off the expansion drive, IKEA opened a ‘pick-up and order point’ in London. Customers who order product online or at a different IKEA store can pick-up their purchases in these mini-stores. They are also able to buy services to support their purchases, sit at a computer station to browse the range online and have to 99 of IKEA’s most popular products available for immediate takeaway – these displays have a heavy emphasis on furniture.

IKEA believes the new store will have a positive contribution to the London-area economy. In addition to construction jobs, the store will be staffed by between 100 and 150 new IKEA co-workers, in addition to those working in the city’s existing pick-up and order point.

“This is so exciting and much anticipated for many, many Londoners. I am pleased to say a full-size IKEA store will open in London in 2019,” Matt Brown, mayor of the City of London said. “This will create jobs, growth and a regional draw to our city. London is pleased to have a community-minded partner like IKEA set up shop here.”

Like its counterparts in Halifax and Quebec City, IKEA London will be LEED certified. The building will have a rooftop solar photovoltaic installation and a waste management equipment to maximise material recycling and diversion from landfill. Every single light source throughout the property will use LED lighting.

“While the store will operate in a sustainable manner, it will also provide inspiration and solutions that will enable customers to live a more sustainable and healthier life at home,” Smith said. “For example, visitors will find solutions that will help them reduce and sort waste, save water and energy and encourage healthier living.”

She also noted each new store is designed to present local, inspirational home solutions customers can relate to and implement in an affordable way. In order to best represent London and surrounding area customers in the new store, home visits will be conducted during the planning and design process. These will allow IKEA to interview people in their homes to get an understanding of their needs, dreams and frustrations in and around the home. “It is IKEA’s intention with this research not to mirror what people already have in their homes, but to help people live a better everyday life at home,” Smith said.

The expansion campaign will see IKEA Canada double its store count from 12 in 2015 to 24 a decade later while also doubling its sales to an estimated $3.8 billion in 2015.

Related Story: IKEA planning full size store opening for Quebec City in 2018
Related Story: IKEA publishes 2018 catalogue
Related Story: IKEA rolls out 4 collection points
Related Story:
IKEA to open Vancouver D.C.

LVM registration desk opens

13 October 2017
Events

LAS VEGAS – The registration desk for the 2018 winter edition of the semi-annual Las Vegas Market (LVM) has opened for retail buyers, interior designers and other industry professionals, its organisers have announced. Held at the World Market Center here, the event is scheduled to run for five days beginning on January 28, 2018.

“Las Vegas Market truly allows buyers to ‘Discover the Extraordinary’, with more than 4,000 resources presented on one easy-to-shop campus with world-class amenities,” Robert Maricich, chief executive officer of International Market Centers (IMC), said in a statement.  “Las Vegas Market is the most comprehensive gift, furniture and home décor market in the Western U.S., and its breadth and depth will expand again this winter with the opening of a third Pavilion and the first-ever co-location with Artexpo Contemporary Las Vegas.”

Winter 2018 Market highlights include continued expansion of gift, home décor and furniture resources in both permanent showrooms and temporary exhibits. Within home décor, there will be a continued focus on better goods, as well as ongoing development of casual and outdoor offerings in the furniture category. Additionally, the top 14 bedding manufacturers in the United States will exhibit at the market.

LVM’s temporary exhibits continue to expand with the opening of a new 15,000-square-foot pavilion. In total, the winter market will present 500-plus temporary gift and home décor exhibitors in three pavilions – occupying 165,000 square feet of exhibit space – and another 100-plus temporary home furnishings exhibitors on the second floor of building ‘B’ and floor 13 of building ‘C’.

The Pavilions will also feature the first semi-annual Artexpo Contemporary Las Vegas, featuring some 100 suppliers of fine art, sculpture, wall art, prints, and one-of-a-kind creations – a synergistic category expansion organisers believe will appeal to the market’s growing base of interior designers, architects, hospitality executives, and upscale retailers.

In addition to product sourcing, the LVM will offer a variety of special events and industry networking opportunities. Its signature First Look trend display and seminar will offer directional trend insights, and a full slate of educational sessions will address colour trends, retailing strategies and more. The event also hosts a full slate of buyer amenities such as fully-equipped Internet lounges, a dedicated international lounge, grab-and-go breakfasts, mother’s lounges and more.

In advance of the event, its web site – lasvegasmarket.com – offers several online tools to make market preparation easier and more efficient. The #LVMKT app also makes at-market navigation easier and provides on-the-go access to information and schedules.

Las Vegas Market offers many hotel options for market-goers, from budget-friendly to luxury as well as gaming or non-gaming. The 27 hotel options feature rates ranging from $31 to $219 per night, including 12 hotels with rates of $100 or less per night. For details visit lasvegasmarket.com/hotels.

The dates for the winter 2018 edition of the Las Vegas Market are January 28 through February 1. The permanent showrooms will be open from 8am to 6pm from Sunday to Wednesday and close at 4pm on Thursday.

The market’s web site can be found at www.lasvegasmarket.com.


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