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Urban Barn donates blankets to shelters across Canada

14 November 2017
Community, Furniture, Retail

VANCOUVER – Contemporary furniture and accessory retailer Urban Barn has donated some 15,000 blankets to 33 shelters across Canada with the successful conclusion of its sixth annual Blanket the Country in Warmth initiative.

From October 5 to November 5, Urban Barn collected $5 donations from its customers both in-store and online at With their help, the privately-held company said it exceeded its blanket donation goal of 15,000 and will confirm a final count over the coming weeks.

Urban Barn donated in excess of 15,000 blankets to 33 shelters across the country as part of this year’s Blanket the Country in Warmth campaign. Blanket the Country in Warmth represents many things that are core to Urban Barn,” chief executive officer Linda Letts said in a statement. “We are a community-focused company, and this initiative allows us to directly support the communities where our customers and employees live and work. It also represents one of our core values – be respectful. The most vulnerable people in our communities can often feel forgotten. In our own small way, Blanket the Country in Warmth is about showing these people that they are worthy of respect and support.”

In the six years the campaign has been active, the campaign has achieved much more than its donation numbers, she added. It has rallied Canadians to show community support and spread warmth, donating more than 73,000 blankets since 2012. For the second year in a row, the program gave Canadians another way to spread warmth through the option of adding a ‘warm wish’ on its web site as well as on social media by tagging @UrbanBarn and #BlankettheCountry.

To date, more than 150 warm wishes have been shared as a part of the campaign.

In 2016, the Canadian Observatory on Homelessness estimated that 35,000 Canadians are homeless on any given night and at least 235,000 Canadians experience homelessness in a year.

According to Statistics Canada, 3,491 Canadian women and their 2,724 children sleep in shelters on any given night because it isn't safe at home.

Founded in 1990 and owned by Stern Partners, a private equity group based here, Urban Barn currently operates 52 stores from British Columbia to Quebec.

Related Story: Urban Barn rejuvenates shelters

Sunpan furnishes ET Canada

14 November 2017
Distribution, Furniture

TORONTO – Sunpan Modern Home has been selected by Corus Entertainment to be the exclusive on-set furniture provider for a series of its television programs, a move the contemporary furniture resource believes will generate nation-wide media exposure.

“Sunpan pieces look great on camera and are as stylish and chic as the television sets that Corus Entertainment is using them for,” Kat Tsoi, the company’s senior sales executive, said in a statement. “The partnership is a natural fit and we’re looking forward to working together for many seasons to come.”

The Viper loveseat, Toro chairs and Allister coffee table from Sunpan Modern Home decorate the set of ET Canada, seen weeknights on Global TV across the country.The partnership was launched during the recently concluded 2017 Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) as Sunpan provided furniture for the ET Canada TIFF lounge. Hollywood talent sat alongside ET Canada hosts on its Viper sofa and armchair. Other pieces that furnished the set included a sleek Allister end table and Gotham coffee table.

As ET Canada launched a new prime time television season this fall, Sunpan was also on hand to elevate and reinvigorate the set. On-set furniture includes the Viper loveseat and Toro chairs, Allister coffee table and Stafford adjustable stools. Tsoi believes these Sunpan pieces align with the show’s A-list celebrity glam while offering stylish comfort. ET Canada airs weeknights on Global TV at 7:30pm Eastern.

Another set that Sunpan has already furnished is the Bachelor Canada After Show. The program follows Bachelor Canada where hosts and guests discuss Chris Leroux’s journey to find love. The on-set pieces seen on TV include the Matisse sofa and armchair, and Cielo coffee and end tables. The Bachelor Canada After Show premiered on October 11 and will run every Wednesday at 10:30pm Eastern on the W Network until December 6.

Starts climb in October

13 November 2017
By the Numbers

OTTAWA – Housing starts continued to climb in October, driven mainly by upticks in the multi-unit segment. The trend measure was 216,770 units in October, according to the latest report from the Canada Mortgage & Housing Corporation (CMHC), up slightly from the prior month’s 215,153 units. Starts were also up on both an actual and seasonally adjusted basis.

The trend measure is a six month moving average of the monthly seasonally adjusted annual rates (SAAR) of housing starts. CMHC uses the trend measure as a complement to the monthly SAAR to account for considerable swings in the monthly estimates, which are driven by the multi-unit segment of the market which can vary significantly from one month to the next.

“The trend in housing starts essentially held steady in October following a decrease in September,” CMHC chief economist Bob Dugan said in a statement. “Nevertheless, new home construction remains very strong in 2017, as the seasonally adjusted number of starts has been above 200,000 units in nine of ten months so far this year.”

Canada’s housing market continues to be highly regional in nature.

Chart courtesy of the Canada Mortgage & Housing Corporation.For example, after four years of declining construction activity, population growth has helped push New Brunswick’s housing starts up 28% year-to-date. Starts have been strong across the province, with much of the activity concentrated in the Moncton area, where multi-unit starts have been particularly strong, up 49% year-to-date.

Montréal saw the highest level of residential construction ever recorded for the month of October, with close to 3,500 housing units started – half of them on the Island of Montréal. As seen elsewhere, condominium and rental housing construction has driven this growth. Lower inventories of completed and unsold condominiums and the lower vacancy rates in newer rental buildings seem to have prompted developers to ramp up construction projects this year.

Low-rise housing starts trended higher in Ottawa last month, supported by improved employment and earnings this year. This increase was just enough to offset the effect of the sharp decline in apartment starts this month. For the year-to-date, housing starts were 27% higher than in 2016 – driven by a doubling in apartment starts following three years of declining high-rise construction as the number of completed and unsold condominiums has trended down considerably since peaking in mid-2016.

Meanwhile, total housing starts in Toronto trended lower in October, with the most pronounced declines occurring in single-detached home and apartment starts.

While labour market conditions and housing demand in Calgary improved this year, the trend has been slowing over the last couple of months as listings in the competing resale market combined with elevated inventories in the new home market have climbed. Despite the decline, total actual housing starts to the end of October were still up 24% compared to the same period a year earlier.

Starts trended higher in Vancouver last month, with seasonally adjusted monthly starts reaching a 12-month high. The increase was primarily driven by a significant uptick in condominium apartment starts in Burnaby, Coquitlam and Surrey, where the demand is strong for more affordable multi-family dwellings. Year-to-date starts remain below 2016 levels, mostly due to fewer projects getting underway in the City of Vancouver and on the North Shore this year.

The standalone monthly SAAR of housing starts for all areas in Canada was 222,771 units in October, up from 219,293 units in September. The SAAR of urban starts increased by 2.5% to 205,935 units. Multiple urban starts increased by 12.5% to 149,593 units in October. Single-detached urban starts decreased by 17.1% to 56,342 units.

Actual starts of single family homes in all of Canada’s urban centres – which CMHC defines as towns with populations greater than 10,000 – 5,144 units in October, an 11% decline from the 5,752 units started in October 2016. However, for the year-to-date, single family starts totalled 53,069 units – a 7% uptick from the comparable period’s 49,545 units.

Actual starts of multi-family units – where apartments, townhouses or some other form of linked housing whether for the rental or condominium markets – were preliminarily set at 12,945 for October, leaping 32% from the 9,829 units for the same month last year. For the year-to-date, multi-unit starts totalled 112,016 units, a 10% gain from the 100,298 units for the first ten months of 2016.

Total starts for the month were set at 18,089 units, up 16% from October 2016. For the year-to-date, CMHC said starts totalled 165,085 units – up 10% from the comparable period.

In his note to clients, Dina Ignjatovic of TD Economics said recent interest rate hikes plus the strong possibility of another coming in early 2018 combined with new government regulations governing mortgages could drag down demand and lead to declines in new home construction.

“Indeed, we expect starts to gradually trend down toward the 190k mark over the next year, roughly consistent with demographic demand,” he said.

Dorel names juvenile president

13 November 2017
Manufacturing, People

MONTREAL – Consumer goods giant Dorel Industries has named Nicolas Duran as president and chief executive officer of Dorel Juvenile. He has been serving as interim president since last November.

Duran joined Dorel in 2012 and was responsible for overseeing all aspects of the Latin American and Canadian juvenile businesses. Prior to Dorel, he held various management positions across several geographies at Reebok International and the Adidas Group.

Nicolas Duran“Nicolas successfully doubled the size of the business in Latin America as well as implemented much needed change in Canada, allowing for a successful turnaround and significant improvement in our operating performance. Since taking over Dorel Juvenile on an interim basis late last year, he has been refocusing the segment toward a more agile and closer to market business model to better react to consumer needs and opportunities,” Dorel president and CEO Martin Schwartz said in a statement announcing his appointment.

“Over the past 12 months our emphasis has been to simplify the way we operate while challenging and reshaping Dorel Juvenile into a consumer centric organization. These changes, combined with a new laser focus on agility will deliver a robust innovation pipeline in 2018.  I am proud to be leading the most passionate team in the industry. Our organisation is committed to delivering improved shareholder value,” Duran said.

One of publicly-held company’s three operating segments and the producer of car seats, strollers, monitors and other products for the baby and child market, Dorel Juvenile has operations worldwide, with 2016 revenue of close to US$1 billion.

Related Story: Dorel 3Q sales fall although home segment shows uptick

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