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Home Depot Canada holds buying day

BY Brae Canlen

Home Depot Canada held its annual "Meet the Buyer" day in Toronto on Nov. 7, an event that brought 22 small and medium manufacturers from Quebec and Ontario face-to-face with the retailer’s merchants.  Now in its third year, Meet the Buyer is a partnership between The Home Depot Canada, the Ontario Ministry of Economic Development and Innovation, and the Quebec Ministry of Economic Development, Innovation and Export Trade.

Manufacturers who catch the interest of Home Depot’s buyers are awarded a trial in select Home Depot locations, with the ultimate goal being sold across Canada. As a result of last year’s "Meet the Buyer" event, held in November in Ottawa, there are 25 new products now available at select Home Depot locations in London, Ottawa and online, according to the retailer. These products include organic waste bins, a two-in-one generator and a collapsible rain barrel.

"We were very impressed with the caliber of product submissions,” said Jeff Kinnaird, VP merchandising, The Home Depot Canada. “At The Home Depot Canada, we’re committed to nurturing small and medium-sized manufacturers as they build the capacity they need to do business with a large-scale retailer."

To qualify for a trial, a product must be innovative, made for retail sale to home improvement customers, and designed, manufactured or assembled in Ontario or Quebec. Since the program started in 2010, 115 manufacturers have participated, with 40 offered in-store trials.

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FMI releases 2013 construction outlook

BY Brae Canlen

FMI, the Raleigh, N.C.-based provider of management consulting and investment banking to the engineering and construction industry, has forecast an 8% increase in construction activity for 2013. Robust growth in residential construction, as well as a few strong markets in nonresidential and non-building construction, will contribute to the expansion, the report said.

“The focus for 2013 will be on the movement of private money back into the markets,” FMI said. Total construction put in place for 2013 is forecast to be $892 billion, a solid improvement over the last few years, but still just edging out 2003 levels of construction activity.

In the residential market, rising housing starts bode well for 2013. In non-residential, power-related construction will continue to be one of the strongest growth sectors, along with communications, which is being powered by an insatiable need for speed and to send and store large amounts of multimedia files over the Internet. New healthcare construction will include a growing number of renovation projects to update current facilities for modern hospital design, using more technology in the rooms, as well as for improving air quality and reducing energy usage.

In the commercial sector, FMI expected more rethinking of construction space to accommodate smaller stores and combining in-store sales with online shopping. “Look for increasing multiuse projects,” the report said. New construction activity in the education and hospitality industries will be weak, FMI predicted. 

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Market Recap: RISI Crow’s Construction Materials Cost Index

BY HBSDEALER Staff

A price index of lumber and panels used in actual construction for Nov. 9, 2012

*Western – regional species perimeter foundation; Southern – regional species slab construction.

Crow’s Market Recap — A condensed recap of the market conditions for the major North American softwood lumber and panel products as reported in Crow’s Weekly Market Report.

Lumber: Early sales activity in the SPF lumber market gave mills the opportunity to again raise prices. Order files extending into the last week of this month also provided impetus for the single-digit price gains. Western mills continued to ship significant volumes overseas to Asian markets. Southern Pine lumber producers noted a slower pace early, but the totality of sales made for a fairly strong week. Mill order files, stretching into or through the Thanksgiving week, contributed to strong price hikes. Coastal species lumber buyers again purchased enough volumes to force mill prices higher. A number of buyers finished purchasing early, prior to leaving for the NAWLA Traders Market. This generated a slower pace to the market later in the week. Inland lumber producers, like most others, had a slight temporary reaction to the election, but the market disregarded any negativism and continued to forge stronger numbers. Ponderosa Pine industrial lumber is stable, from P99 through Mldg&Btr. Prices are unchanged, and even the #2 Shop, which has struggled all year, is less dramatic in its weakness. Neither Ponderosa Pine nor Eastern White Pine boards showed any change in prices, and wholesalers report that their activity is similarly slow for the time being. A number of market mavens in Western Red Cedar made their way early in the week to the NAWLA Traders Market. For those that stayed behind to man the phones, sales for shipment this year were light.

Panels: OSB prices continued to move upward, in some cases by substantial margins. This is the case in all producing regions, with the greatest pressure coming in the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast regions. Distribution and retail yards were the driving force behind "decent" mill sales in the Southern Pine plywood market. Order files moved into the week of Nov. 26. Extended lead times helped mills increase a few sheathing prices. A fairly modest sales pace did not keep Western Fir plywood producers from raising prices on some items. Most order files ran in the range of Nov. 12 out to Nov. 26, depending on the item. Producers with quicker shipping volumes were able to work that to their advantage. Prices have paused for the time being in Canadian plywood. The delivered baseline for 9.5 mm CSP remains C$366, established last week after some aggressive buying among distributors. Those buyers now have wood coming to them, so they have reined in their activity. Particleboard buyers kept a close eye on inventories heading into the latter stages of the year. Moulding manufacturers continue to buy strong volumes from MDF producers.

For more on RISI, click here.

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