Home Depot launches new format in Canada
Home Depot Canada has announced the launch of a newly designed “project store” in Richmond Hill, just north of Toronto. The 115,000-square-foot unit, which opens on Dec. 13, has been reoriented to address the construction and design needs of home remodeling projects. Among the new features are five dedicated service desks staffed by specially trained associates who can help customers with entire projects, including installation.
Electronic kiosks will provide access to homedepot.ca and the ability to place special orders, book installations and look up prices. Throughout the store, customers will also have access to “We Can Help” stations with call boxes, tapes measures, paper and pencils and promotional materials.
In addition to an 18,000-square-foot garden centre, the redesigned store features six new showrooms that will change with every season.
This week’s unveiling of the redesigned store, located in one of the wealthiest suburbs of Ontario, coincides with the entrance of Lowe’s into Canada. Home Depot’s retail rival opened three units in the Toronto suburbs on Dec. 10.
Madrid IKEA store victim of dramatic robbery
The first IKEA to open in Spain’s capital city, Madrid, was the target of armed robbers Dec. 9, who stole approximately US$7,345.70 after crashing into the store with a large SUV.
According to the Guardian U.K., the store was packed with about 2,000 customers when the robbers crashed into the store’s exit in a black Jeep Cherokee, then emerged firing guns in the air.
Police said the raid lasted no more than two minutes. No one was injured in the incident.
The store, which had been open for four months is, not the first of Sweden-based IKEA’s locations to be targeted in Spain, according to reports. In September of 2005, armed robbers stole more than US$144,626.83 at an IKEA store in Alcorcon.
Toll Brothers ends year with rocky fourth quarter
National home builder Toll Brothers recorded fourth quarter losses of $81.8 million, a hit that included $314.9 million in pre-tax write-downs mainly due to land options and real estate losses. That compares with income of $173.8 million in last year’s fourth quarter.
Total revenues in the fourth quarter were $1.17 billion, down 35.3 percent compared with $1.81 billion last year.
For the full year, Toll Brothers saw earnings of $35.7 million, a substantial drop from the $687.2 million recorded last year. Revenues for the year were $4.65 billion compared with $6.12 billion last year, a 24 percent drop.
Robert Toll, chairman and CEO of Toll Brothers, reiterated what many home builders have been saying for the past six months:
“Weak consumer confidence continues to buck (home buying) positives,” he said. “Broader concerns about the nation’s economy have magnified worries about potential price declines in the housing market.”
“It’s not a matter of if, but a matter of when, this oversupply is absorbed,” he added. “Then we [willl] return to better times.”
Toll Brothers builds homes in 22 states.