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CFS 2020 cancelled

9 September 2019
Events, Furniture, Mattresses

TORONTO – The organisers of the Canadian Furniture Show (CFS) have announced they will not proceed with the 2020 edition of this country’s only national industry trade event, which was originally scheduled to be held at the International Centre here next from 16 to 18 January.

“Since the relaunch of the show in 2015, we have implemented many suggestions brought to us by various collaborators. We invested a lot of time, money and effort but the results simply didn’t justify continuing in this direction,” Tony Melis, who was named CFS director earlier this year, said in a statement.

The Quebec Furniture Manufacturers Association has announced the 2020 edition of the Canadian Furniture Show will not be held. First held in 1972 and owned and operated by the Montreal-based Quebec Furniture Manufacturers Association (QFMA), the show – commonly known as the Toronto Market – helped shape the Canadian furniture industry and brought buyers and sellers together under one roof.

The cancellation means there will not be an open furniture trade event held in this country, at least for the foreseeable future. Cantrex Nationwide, the Montreal headquarter buying group is expected to hold its Cantrex PrimeTime event in Ottawa for three days over the weekend of 21 September. While it will host a buying show for the last day of the convention, it is only open to group members.

For the past few years, the Canadian Home Furnishings Alliance (CHFA) has held an informal event called the Toronto Winter Furniture Show in January at roughly the same time as the winter edition of the Toronto Gift Show. Exhibitors in this event have permanent showrooms in reasonable proximity to the International Centre and the Toronto Congress Centre, where the gift show is held.

“Both the furniture and the tradeshow landscapes have changed tremendously over the years. Our decision reflects this change,” said Gilles Pelletier, president and chief executive officer of both CFS and the QFMA. “It was a difficult decision, but one that had to be made. After surveying stakeholders since May, we came to the conclusion that the show could not continue in its current format.”

Held this past May, the 2019 edition of CFS was perhaps the smallest in its history, hosting only about 135 or so exhibitors.

At press time, it wasn’t known whether the CHFA will organise a winter show for its members with permanent showrooms in Toronto. The social highlight of CFS each year has been the Canadian Home Furnishings Gala, which introduces that year’s recipient of the Retailer of the Year and Lifetime Achievement awards. A new platform will have to found for that event.

“The show team cares deeply about the industry and knows this news will be disappointing to some,” Pelletier added. “We would like to thank everyone who has contributed to the show over the years: exhibitors, visitors, show partners, collaborators and team members.”

Furniture store sales up in 1H

9 September 2019
By the Numbers, Retail

OTTAWA – Furniture store sales proved to be one of retail’s best performing sectors for both the second quarter and first half of 2019, according to the latest figures from Statistics Canada. While their performance wasn’t as strong, home furnishings stores gained momentum. But electronics and appliance stores lost ground during the first six months of the year.

The federal bean counter set furniture store sales for the month of June at a preliminary $1.04 billion (actual, not seasonally adjusted). While that was down slightly from the $1.08 billion rung-up in May, it brought the total for the second quarter of 2019 to $3.07 billion – a gain of 5.1% from the $2.92 billion for the comparable three months of 2018.

Furniture store sales for the opening six months of the year were pegged at $5.67 billion – an uptick of 4.6% over the $5.42 billion for the same period a year ago.

Statistics Canada defines a furniture store as any brick and mortar retail establishment that generates 51% or more of its annual revenue from the sale of furniture (including mattresses). Furniture store sales, therefore, include all product categories sold to Canadian consumers during that period. Pure play e-commerce or direct-to-consumer (DTC) merchants are not including in the survey.

Furniture stores were one of the top performing location-based retail categories during the first half. Statistics Canada noted all retail stores had combined sales of $294.3 billion for the January to June period – a year-over-year gain of 1.6%.

Other categories didn’t perform as well. For example, gas stations were off 4.5% for the first half – reflecting the volatility of prices at the pump – while both shoe and book stores also saw declining sales for the period.

Ed Strapagiel, the Toronto-based retail consultant, said that for the trailing 12 months ending 30 June 2019, furniture store sales were approximately $11.8 billion – a gain of 2.2%.

Meanwhile, home furnishings stores – which sell everything from lamps and lighting to floor covering, wall art and other decorative accessories – saw sales for the month of June dip 2.1% to $570.8 million.

However, home furnishings store sales for the second quarter posted a 2.7% uptick to $1.79 billion, compared to $1.74 for the same period in 2018.

For the year-to-date, these merchants had sales of $3.30 billion, a modest 0.8% advance from the comparable $2.78 billion.

For the trailing 12 months, home furnishing store sales were pegged at $7.1 billion – essentially unchanged on a year-over-year basis.

Electronics and appliance stores have continued to lose ground as 2019 retail campaign continues.

For the month of June, sales were set at a preliminary and actual $1.04 billion – down 11.5% from the $1.18 billion rung-up in June 2018.

For the second quarter, white and brown goods merchants have total sales of $3.11 billion, down 9.2% from the $3.43 billion for the comparable period last year.

Meanwhile, sales for the year-to-date were set at $6.11 billion, down $9.7% from $6.76 billion for the first half of 2018.

Overall, most analysts were pleased with June’s performance by all location-based retail and noted the figures will bode well for Canada’s overall economic growth. However, there are some dark clouds on the horizon.

“Looking ahead, we expect that household debt levels will continue to put a damper on retail sales and consumer spending growth,” Omar Abdelrahman of TD Economics, said in his research note. “That said, the recent surges in wage growth, stabilizing housing markets, and declining borrowing rates will serve to ease some of the existing headwinds to the sector.”

Meet Parry Gallagher

9 September 2019
Furniture, People

Few think he or she will end up a sales associate, let alone an incredibly successful one. Sales can be challenging, not to mention stressful at the best of times, but it’s particularly difficult when one’s industry is working hard to grapple with evolving customer needs and major technological disruptions. But for some, the calling can’t be denied – especially when he is selling something everyone needs: furniture.

Parry Gallagher, the soft-spoken and friendly owner Coombs Junction Furniture, not only loves the industry he’s been proud to be a part of for three decades, but he’s also happiest when serving who walk through the door of his Vancouver Island store. That’s why he selected as this year’s Retail Sales Professional Award recipient for the Pacific Region, which covers British Columbia.

You can hear more from Parry Gallagher, who speaks to our contributing editor, Ashley Newport, in this interview held during this year’s Canadian Furniture Show.“I've been in the business over 30 years and I’ve owned my furniture store for the past ten and I love it here,” he told HGO in an interview after he was feted at the Canadian Home Furnishings Awards gala this past May, who was quick to add he loves what he does for the simple reason he gets to meet incredible people. “I love the people and making them happy with the goods and services that we offer. It’s mainly all about the customer. It makes me happy to help them.”

Gallagher also said he was honoured and humbled by the recognition. “I felt honoured to be recognized by my peers in the furniture industry,” he says.

It was Gallagher’s people-oriented approach that prompted Scott McEachern, a sales representative for ZucoraHome – the award’s Presenting Sponsor – to nominate him. “I nominated Parry because of his dedication to his business, his employees and especially his family. No one in the industry works harder on those three categories than Parry. I was so happy to hear that Parry had won. He deserved it,” McEachern said.

“Parry is a ‘one man’ show,” his nomination reads. “Living in a small community, Parry is responsible for everything, display, sales, delivery, after sales service, and most of all, he does this seven days a week. What you don’t know is that his wife has been very ill for the past couple of years, in and out of hospital but Parry never missed a day of work, and he saw his wife everyday as well. She is doing much better now. This little store does just shy of one million dollars a year, all because of Parry, who cares about everyone.”

Click here to view Ashley Newport’s video interview with Parry Gallagher on HGO.tv

While most sales associates do their best to make the customer’s experience perfect, Gallagher works hard to ensure his clients benefit from their time in the store – which is located in the small town of Coombs, on the eastern shore of Vancouver Island, just north of Nanaimo – and walk away with the perfect piece of furniture.

“We make the buying experience a good one by having the knowledge to help the customer make the best buying decision,” he says. “I think it’s very important. It’s all about making customers happy and providing the best customer service.”

A good, fruitful buying experience doesn’t just make the customer happy in the moment – it encourages them to tell friends and family about their experience, therefore creating more clientele.

Gallagher works to provide a good experience by listening carefully to what the customer wants and needs. “I’m listening to what they need to suit their needs. I’m providing a good buying experience and showing them the best buys and how they can benefit the best from the products that we sell.”

Coombs Junction Furniture offers locally sourced products, which he believes keeps customers coming through the door. “Our products are all mostly Canadian and B.C. made – 90% of our products are made in Canada and 75% of what we carry is made right here in B.C.,” he says. “It’s a valuable asset and the customers love it.”

It also helps he loves the product he sells just as much his customers. “I also love B.C. made products because they’re such good quality and everybody benefits from that.”

Life outside the store consists of family, sports and walks on the beach (in precisely that order, according to McEachern). His advice for the budding sales associate is straightforward. “Treat your customers really well and give them the best customer service possible. That will always reap the benefits in the end.”

Gallagher isn’t done yet, saying, “I hope to continue to grow a successful business and be a leader in the community. I would like to stay in the business until I am ready to retire.”

Click here to read all about the Retail Sales Professional Awards
program in the latest edition of the HGO Merchandiser.

Beaudoin names sales agency

9 September 2019
Furniture, People

DAVELUYVILLE, Québec – Bed frame manufacturer Julien Beaudoin has named AMCA Sales & Marketing to represent the company in Atlantic Canada.

“Since 1963 we have built strong relationships with retailers across Canada,” Pascal Roberge, Beaudoin’s director of sales said in a statement announcing the appointment. “We value that relationship and understand the important role our sales team play in communicating the key features of our product categories.

“AMCA Sales &Marketing is an exceptionally well-established sales organization with more than100 years of representing quality brands in Atlantic Canada, in a variety of retail segments,” he continued. “We believe that with their experienced and focused sales team, we can service the furniture and bedding retailers of Atlantic Canada and help them grow their business.”

Based in Darmouth, Nova Scotia, AMCA Sales & Marketing is an employee-owned agency that was founded in 1913 and specialises in serving the foodservice industry, including grocery stores. It also works in the drug store sector. It also clients in the beverage and alcohol industries.

In a letter to Beaudoin’s retail network in Atlantic Canada, Roberge said, “We are confident that our continued focus on product quality and customer service will pair well with the culture of  execution excellence of the AMCA team to provide you with great products that you will be thrilled to present to your customers.”

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