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Wayfair adds bed-in-a-box

20 October 2017
Mattresses, Retail

BOSTON, Massachusetts – Online furniture powerhouse Wayfair has jumped into the bed-in-a-box segment with the launch of Nora, offering consumers living in the Greater Toronto Area free, two-day delivery.

In a statement, the e-commerce specialist said Nora will provide “the best quality sleep experience at the best value backed by Wayfair’s commitment to customer service excellence.”

The rolled-foam mattress offers 12 inches of comfort – including four support and breathable layers – at a retail price point of $719 for a queen size bed. It is also being offered with 100-day trial, a no hassle return policy and a ten-year warranty.

Wayfair has launched Nora, its own bed-in-a-box program promising consumers in the Greater Toronto Area free two-day delivery.“In the past, shopping for a mattress was complicated. It meant visiting a store and testing dozens of options, while also comparing prices to see which retailer offered the best value,” said Steve Oblak, Wayfair’s senior vice president and general manager. “As a leader in e-commerce, we’re focused on simplifying the way people shop for the home – whether it’s for furniture, décor or a new place to sleep. With Nora, we’ve eliminated the guesswork and made it easier and fun to shop for a premium mattress. In two days or less, Nora arrives on doorsteps and can be easily unboxed in minutes.”

Although the actual producer wasn’t identified, Nora is made exclusively for Wayfair and is composed of two layers of high-density foam to provide an optimal balance of support and pressure relief, while a cooling layer of Jade-infused fabric regulates body heat, providing a cooler surface for sleep.

Wayfair introduced Nora after conducting a consumer survey about their sleeping and mattress buying habits. The company noted 39% of respondents said their keep their mattress for between 10 and 15 – which is longer than the U.S. National Sleep Foundation’s recommendation of nine to ten years – while 67% said the cost of a new mattress has kept them buying one.

In another fun fact, Wayfair noted that 34% of respondents – that’s one in three – admitted to having had a disagreement with the partner over the comfort of a mattress while 47% have kept a mattress after spilling food or drink on it and 33% have kept it after someone had an accident on it and 23% after someone has gotten sick on it.

Available to Wayfair shoppers in both Canada and the U.S., Nora comes in all standard sizes ranging from Twin XL to California King.

Wayfair joins a growing list of Canadian furniture and mattress retailers adding a bed-in-a-box to their assortments. Sleep Country Canada launched Bloom this past May while Leon’s offers the Squeeze collection from Kingsdown Canada on its web site. There are also a number of pure play e-commerce players operating in the Canadian market including Endy Sleep, Novosbed and Naked Mattress. Casper has been active in the Canadian market since late 2014.

While publicly-held, Wayfair doesn’t disclose its sales in Canada in its filings to the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC). Canada, along with Germany and the United Kingdom make up its ‘international segment’ which had combined sales of US$228.6 million for the first six months of 2017, compared to US$95.7 million for the first half of 2016.

Total company revenue for this year’s first half was US$2.08 billion with a declared net loss of US$95.4 million or US$1.10 per share.

In its report to the SEC, Wayfair noted for the first six months of 2017, it had slightly more than 9.5 million active customers. It delivered some 8.5 million orders during that period with an average order value of US$241.

The company launched its Wayfair.ca operation in January 2016.

Related Story: SCC launches Bloom and unveils e-commerce platform
Related Story: The boxed bed: selling the mattress online

BSH recalls dishwashers

20 October 2017
Appliances

OTTAWA – In cooperation with Health Canada, BSH Home Appliances has expanded its recall of several models of dishwashers made under the Bosch, Thermador, Gaggenau, Kenmore, Kenmore Elite and Jenn-Air brand names due to a fire hazard relating to their power cords.

In a statement, the company said the dishwashers were manufactured between September 2012 and January 2015.

According to Health Canada, the power cord can overheat which poses a fire hazard although when the recall was issued on October 16, there were no reports of property damage or injury in Canada although BSH received five reports of property damage in the United States. No injuries have been reported.

Approximately 61,000 units of the affected products – which were manufactured in both the U.S. and Germany – were sold in Canada and approximately 408,000 were sold in the United States between January 2013 and May 2015. In Canada, they were sold by an unspecified number of retailers including appliance and specialty retailers, department stores, authorized builder distributors, home improvement stores as well as online.

The dishwashers that are part of the safety recall expansion can be identified by matching the model number and serial number listed in the safety recall notice. The model and serial numbers are located inside the dishwasher either on the top of the dishwasher inner door panel or on the side of the dishwasher panel. To confirm if a dishwasher is included, consumers can visit the brand web site for more information:

Bosch: www.bosch-home.ca  or www.bosch-home.ca/fr
Thermador: www.thermador.ca  or http://fr.thermador.ca/
Gaggenau: www.gaggenau.com/ca/en
Kenmore: www.kenmore.com
Jenn-Air: www.jennair.ca

Consumers can also call the safety recall hotline toll-free at (888) 965-5813 from 8am to 8pm Eastern time EST Monday through Sunday.

BSH has a network of trained service technicians ready to schedule an appointment and replace the power cord at no charge. The repair should take less than one hour.

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.


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