I find myself on the CANADIAN side of stunning Niagara Falls for the annual HARDLINES Conference with 150 industry professionals from Canada, the US and other markets. Speakers include Ace International, ORGILL, Lee Valley Tools and eBay Canada. Everyone is in good spirits this morning thanks to the Blue Jays victory over Cleveland last night to stay alive in the ALCS.
Steve is in the Cologne (Germany) area today for follow up meetings with 2 of Germany’s largest DIY retailers. OBI is the market leader with around 400 stores in Germany and Eastern Europe. Some stores are a franchise and many are corporate owned.
Toom is the DIY division of the REWE corporation (over 3000 stores). They have recently begun rolling out a new hardware area in their largest stores.
We are at the Marvins head offices today co-located with those of Central Retail Network Group (CNRG) introducing one of our Presidents Council member suppliers from Poland. CNRG is an interesting and relatively new concept. It was developed by a group of industry veterans with the idea to acquire family owned retail operations allowing the business to continue, take care of employees and themselves to retire.
They currently own 81 hardware stores, contractor stores and home centers including the brands: Town & Country Hardware, Marvins, Home Hardware Center and many more. They offer increased purchasing power as well as professional management support throughout their brands to help them grow and thrive.
I also learned that the audio announcements at the Birmingham Airport are the voice of Morgan Freeman.
Interested in selling into Menards? Come to our Menards Buying Day: August 4th 2016 – Registration will open soon.
In the meantime check out our YouTube channel and learn more about Menards here!
Where in the world is Steve?
In Toronto today to help an Eastern European supplier begin discussions with Home Depot here in the Great White North.
One key point to remember when approaching overseas business is that often times, direct container FOB is not the only way to get started. If distribution is needed and the retailer isn’t inclined to take the inventory risk, it’s often possible to work with an existing distributor on a cost-plus arrangement to solve the issue.
Another key thing to remember in Canada is how much they love their Tim Horton’s. This one is just across the street from the innovation center so had to stop in for a pre-meeting high octane coffee.
Our Home Depot Canada Buying Day event in mid-April was quite a successful event – all of the merchants (including online merchants!) in one room for a 1/2 day+, meeting with potential new suppliers in pre-scheduled, 20-minutes Face-To-Face meetings. Lots of happy hand shakes where witnessed. If you haven’t participated in a Buying Day event yet, it’s time! Check out our upcoming events here
From the desk of Paul A. Berto
Director, Corporate Communications, External Affairs and Sustainability at The Home Depot Canada:
“We look forward to meeting prospective suppliers at The Home Depot Canada Buying Day on April 13, 2016. Our merchants are always on the lookout for new and innovative products and programs, and over the past three years we have had great success with many of the new suppliers we’ve met during this event. We encourage you to attend, and take advantage of this opportunity to meet face to face with your Home Depot Canada merchant and discover the potential of your product(s) in our stores. – Paul A. Berto”
ADEO is Europe’s largest DIY retailer with over 900 stores, several formats and operating under several banners including Leroy Merlin, Aki, Weldom and BricoMan.
Their 3 year old corporate headquarters is right out of the future. 1000 people work in the building, it uses no external heat or electricity and is nearly fully automated.
FREE SEMINAR for exhibitors of the Eisenwarenmesse 2016 in Köln.
Join us for a FREE SEMINAR for exhibitors of the Eisenwarenmesse 2016 in Köln on Monday, March 07 2016 at 9AM at the Congress Centre East, Congress Saal Sec 3 (4th level).
“Selling Into The North-America DIY Market” by Steve Powell
“Canada – Your Gateway to North America” by Michael McLarney
I am in frigid Helsinki today to introduce a Presidents Council member to the Category Manager and buyer at RAUTAKESKO.
They have one of the more interesting corporate structures of any retailer in the industry. They are essentially the DIY division of the KESKO Group and operate 300+ stores under various banners (K-Rauta is the most well known) in Finland, Norway, Sweden, Latvia, Estonia, Russia, Belarus and Lithuania. Annual turnover is near $3 Billion USD.
We stopped at a K-Rauta store on the way to the headquarters this morning. I should mention that the coffee here is much stronger than what I’m used to…
Today we are in Estonia. A small market of around 1.3 million people has a “homegrown” 13 store retailer that is part of the Brico Alliance Group. They operate a mix of big stores in populated areas and smaller stores in the rural. It’s an impressive store attached to the corporate headquarters – very large, big box format… with a coffee shop complete with a beer cooler!
Well, it took a good 30 seconds to figure out where I was waking up this morning but once the jet lag cobwebs cleared, I found myself in Wermelskirchen, Germany (home of OBI) beginning another week of meetings with a Presidents Council member and leading European DIY retailers.
OBI is Europe’s original Home Center. They added 60 stores in 3 weeks at the end of 2015 taking over many former BAUMAX locations in Austria. Today they are Germany’s largest DIY chain operating 589 stores in Germany, Italy, Austria, Hungary, Bosnia, Czech Republic, Russia and Switzerland with an annual turnover of around $5.3 Billion USD.
We head west this afternoon toward Belgium and France.
Almost four years ago, the home improvement retailer Lowe’s set off a political storm in Quebec with a hostile bid for Rona, a Canadian chain headquartered in that province.
On Wednesday, Lowe’s was back again, this time with a friendly deal to acquire Rona for 3.2 billion Canadian dollars, or $2.3 billion, in cash.
Read more here: