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New investor group to acquire Bouclair out of bankruptcy

13 November 2019
Furniture, Retail

MONTREAL – Alston Investments Inc., a new company formed by a group of Canadian investors with significant retail experience, has announced it has offered to acquire Bouclair Inc., a home furnishings and décor chain with some 92 stores across the country, most in Quebec and Ontario.

In a statement, the Potential Purchaser – as the investment group referred to itself in a filing to the Quebec Superior Court – will focus on Bouclair’s successful experiential retail concept while continuing to invest heavily in the retailer’s online presence. “Efforts to promote Bouclair internationally will also be expanded,” Alston said in its statement.

Shareholders of Alston include the current Bouclair president, chief executive officer and owner Peter Goldberg, who acquired the company in 2003.

Seen here is the exterior of Bouclair’s new retail concept store in Brossard’s Quartier Dix30 power centre. The company plans to convert as many as two dozen existing stores over the next two years while actively searching for new sites. (CNW Group/Bouclair)“It is no secret that retailers have faced significant challenges in recent years and have had to reinvent themselves in the digital world. Bouclair is no exception,” Goldberg said. “This proposed transaction would allow a new Bouclair to reorganize and focus on the enterprise’s strengths and to expand e-commerce and digital capabilities.”

In its court filing, the company revealed revenues for the fiscal ending 26 January 2019 were $145.2 million, down about 2% from the prior fiscal’s $149.2 million. Net income for the 2019 fiscal year were $1.1 million, reversing the prior year’s net loss of $773,000.

Revenues for a truncated fiscal year ending 28 September 2019 were $96.6 million, with a recorded net loss of $1.2 million.

The court filings – made under the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act – noted Bouclair has assets with a book value of approximately $49.2 million, mostly inventory valued at $31.6 million. Liabilities were assessed at $42.2 million, the biggest single item of which was a loan of $18.8 million owed to the National Bank of Canada. Approximately $10.3 million id owed to suppliers.

Under the proposed transaction, Alston would purchase a substantial portion of Bouclair’s assets, including maintaining more than 60 store locations, its head office in the Montreal suburb of Pointe-Claire and the most of its national employee base, which currently numbers about 1,150. As many as 29 “underperforming and non-strategic stores” will be shuttered to reposition Bouclair’s retail footprint.

Goldberg noted a key priority over the next 24 months will be converting as many as two dozen existing stores to Bouclair’s new retail concept which was first launched in the Quartier Dix30 power centre in Brossard late last year.

“Looking forward, Bouclair plans to convert as many as two dozen existing stores over the next two years while actively searching for new markets and sites for the new concept, while continuing to invest in the company’s e-commerce platform, which has consistently yielded 30% year-over-year growth,” he added.

Alston said the proposed transaction is also designed to maintain the maximum level of employment going forward and to protect the business relationship with as many suppliers, landlords and other stakeholders as possible.

The Montreal office of Deloitte Restructuring Inc. has been named trustee.

Subject to obtaining approval from the Superior Court, the closing is expected to take place before the end of the year.

Wiltshire joins Stickley

13 November 2019
Furniture, People

MANLIUS, New York – Canadian furniture industry veteran Mark Wiltshire as joined L. & J.G. Stickley, a manufacturer of solid wood furniture and upholstery based here, as vice president of sales and marketing.

In a statement, the privately held company said in his new position, he will be responsible for all its sales channels and will be a member of the senior management team. He will report to Stickley president Edward Audi.

Mark Wiltshire is the new vice president of sales and marketing for Stickley.Before joining Stickley, Wiltshire most recently reserved as president of global sales for Palliser, where he oversaw sales and marketing worldwide for all the Winnipeg-based producer’s product brands. He previously served as president of the North American retail division of La-Z-Boy; as president of Furniture Brands International, Canada; and vice president of business development of Natuzzi America.

He has served as chairman of the Canadian Home Furnishings Alliance (CHFA).

“Mark’s vast experience, insight and strategic leadership will enable us to respond to the fast pace of change in our industry, broaden the reach of our brand and capitalize on the enormous opportunities that lie ahead,” said Aminy Audi, chairman and chief executive officer of Stickley.

Stickley has product on the floor of a number of Canadian retailers including James Reid Furniture in Kingston, Ontario; McArthur Furniture in Calgary; and, Jordans Interiors in Vancouver.

Flexiti places high on 2019 Technology Fast rankings

13 November 2019

TORONTO – Point-of-sale financing provider Flexiti has made the top ranks of Deloitte Canada’s Technology Fast 50 and Deloitte’s North American Technology Fast 500 programs, in recognition of its rapid revenue growth and innovative approach to retail financing. Flexiti was ranked seventh on the Fast 50 and 40th on the Fast 500 with 3,245% in revenue growth from 2015 to 2018.

The Deloitte Technology Fast 50 program winners consist of public and private companies in the Canadian technology sector. The program runs alongside the broader North American Technology Fast 500, which provides a ranking of the fastest growing technology, media, telecommunications, life sciences and energy tech companies – both public and private – in North America.

Peter Kalen, founder and CEO of Flexiti Financial.“It’s such an honour to be recognized by Deloitte as one of the fastest growing companies not just in Canada, but North America,” Peter Kalen, Flexiti founder and CEO said in a statement. “I want to thank the team at Flexiti who have worked tirelessly to deploy our solution to nearly 5,000 retail locations, as well as ecommerce sites across Canada, growing our Flexiti Network, and positioning us as one of the leading flexible payment providers in Canada."

“In an era of rapid and constant change, Fast 50 companies should be incredibly proud of the impact they are making across all industries, as they foster the economic prosperity and success of our country,” said Erica Pretorius, partner and national leader for the Technology Fast 50 program at Deloitte Canada. “Their bold vision, unrivaled growth and true commitment to innovation allow them to not only improve today’s world, but also shape tomorrow’s, and I can’t wait to see where they take us moving forward.”

To qualify for the Deloitte Technology Fast 50 ranking, companies must have been in business for at least four years, have revenues of at least $5 million, be headquartered in Canada, own proprietary technology, conduct research and development activities in Canada and invest a minimum of 5% of gross revenues in R&D.

Flexiti provides consumer financing for a number of furniture, appliance and flooring retailers including Lastman’s Bad Boy, EQ3, Ethan Allen, Coast Appliances, Trail Appliances and Alexanian Carpet and Flooring.

Peter Kalen was also named one of the 25 finalists in the annual Leaders in Lending Awards, organized by the Canadian Lenders Association.

The Deloitte Technology Fast 50 program has a web site at

U.S. tariffs drag down Dorel performance in third quarter

12 November 2019
By the Numbers, Furniture, Manufacturing

MONTREAL – The tariff regime imposed by the United States on imports from the People’s Republic of China negatively impacted both sales and earnings for Dorel Industries not just for the third quarter of 2019 but for the year to date as well, the publicly held company said last week. The drag was felt across all three of the Canadian consumer goods giant’s operating segments.

Revenue for the three months ending 30 September 2019 was US$685.7 million, up 2.3% from US$670.4 million for the same period last year.

However, Dorel reported a net loss for the period of US$4.3 million or 13 cents per diluted share, reversing the comparable net income of US$9.6 million or 29 cents per diluted share. Adjusted net income was US$2.4 million or seven cents per diluted share, down from US$11.0 million or 34 cents per diluted share a year ago.

For the nine-month period also ending 30 September 2019, revenue was US$1.98 billion, an increase of 2.3% from the US$1.94 billion for the comparable 2018 period.

The net loss year-to-date was US$9.8 million or 30 cents per diluted share, up from the US$400,000 or one cent per diluted share in 2018. Year-to-date adjusted net income was US$14.5 million or 44 cents per diluted share, compared to US$29.2 million or 89 cents per diluted share a year ago.

Although a Canadian company based here, Dorel reports in quarterly and annual financial results in U.S. dollars.

“As expected, and previously communicated, the third quarter was a difficult one primarily due to various issues related to U.S. imposed tariffs. We raised prices in the quarter, and this has had several negative consequences. Retailers altered their purchasing decisions, which resulted in a considerable product mix imbalance. In addition, some of our large U.S. customers delayed holiday orders from September to October,” Martin Schwartz, the company’s long serving president and chief executive officer, said in a statement.

“All Dorel segments have done an excellent job of holding the line on most expenses and creative product development has resulted in many new exciting introductions,” he continued, adding, “Inventory reduction across all segments is a strong focus and is on track, and new sourcing strategies are being implemented where appropriate.”

The company’s furniture segment – Dorel Home – saw third quarter revenue fall 4.1% to US$212.5 million as operating profit declined 19.7% to US$15.7 million.

“Despite the challenges in the market conditions, e-commerce sales increased to 61% of total segment gross sales, compared to 58% last year,” the company reported.

Revenue for the first nine months of 2019 were US$630.7 million, an increase of 6.0% over the same period last year. However, operating profits fell 16.1% to US$44.2 million.

Meanwhile, Dorel Sports reported revenue advances of 14.2% to US$250.3 million for the third quarter and 3.9% to US$675.9 million for the year-date-date. However, operating profit for the third quarter fell 14.8% to $6.0 million, once again thanks to the tariff barrier. For the year-to-date, they advanced six-fold to US$20.6 million.

Dorel Juvenile, the company’s remaining segment, saw a third quarter revenue decline of 2.9% to US$222.9 million. It recorded an operating loss of US$4.6 million, reversing the prior year’s operating profit of $1.0 million. For the nine months, revenue was off 2.3% to US$674.7 million although it halved its operating loss to US$9.3 million from the comparable period’s $18.8 million.

Looking ahead, Schwartz said the company expects to see continued improvement in the fourth quarter, particularly for Dorel Sports and Dorel Home but waters will continue choppy for Dorel Juvenile in markets outside of North America.

“At Dorel Home, we are expecting similar earnings for the fourth quarter as throughout 2019,” he said. “We are now seeing an easing of the pressure created by tariffs imposed in the U.S. Demand is growing again, our warehouse service levels are improving, and our inventory is being re-balanced to the right levels.”

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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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