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Lowe’s names new Canadian store sites

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Lowe’s has announced three new stores to be opened in Canada in the fourth quarter of 2008, part of a larger expansion effort into that country.

The retailer will open three stores in Belleville, Whitby and South Windsor, Ontario. All three cities are located at varying distances east of Toronto and all border Lake Ontario.

The retailer entered Canada at the tail end of 2007, with three locations in South Brampton, Brantford and Hamilton, Ontario. Four additional locations were opened in North Brampton, East Gwillimbury, Maple and Toronto, Ontario.

The stores, all around 117,000 square feet, include garden centers and represent an investment of approximately $18.5 million, according to the company.

Don Stallings, president of Lowe’s Canada, told Home Channel News at the grand opening of the company’s South Brampton store, that Lowe’s took a “methodical” approach to entering Canada.

“It’s a Canadian business basically,” he told HCN. “I’ve had many people ask me ‘Isn’t this basically just the United States operation dropped up North?’ And that’s not the case. It’s a Canadian business that’s being staffed by Canadians, being managed at the local level at the stores by all Canadians.”

Stallings said that the company doesn’t want to be seen as a U.S. big-box chain that sets up the same stores with the same models as its U.S. locations. To combat that perception, the company took more than two years researching the Canadian market, hiring Canadian merchants and buying Canadian products. He added the company wanted to offer the Canadian consumer a unique shopping experience, with wide aisles and well-lit stores.

Inside the stores, a new feature is a “help button” in almost every aisle designed to bring an associate within 60 seconds. The store also boasts a three-in-line policy for checkouts. “If our lines have more than three customers, we’ll open up another so you don’t have to wait,” according to one Lowe’s Canada commercial.

Lowe’s faces stiff competition in the country — Home Depot has a large presence in Canada, alongside Canadian DIY retailer RONA. Sears Canada and Canadian Tire also bring multichannel capabilities and more competition.

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Worker hurt in accident at Menards site

BY HBSDEALER Staff

A worker fell 27 feet in an accident last week at a Menards store under construction in Ontario, Ohio, according to the Mansfield (Ohio) News Journal.

Aspokesperson for the contractor on the project, FH Martin Constructors of Warren, Mich., told the newspaper that the worker fell through an opening in the structure that had just been cut.

According to the report, the worker suffered serious injuries, including two broken wrists, when he fell through the unprotected opening at the site. The man was later transferred to a Cleveland-area hospital.

The 160,000-square-foot store is expected to be completed by the first quarter of 2009. Ontario is located in north-central Ohio.

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Bradco sold to private equity firm

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Bradco Supply, the Avenel, N.J.-based distributor of roofing and other building materials, has sold a majority interest to Advent International, a private equity firm that specializes in buyouts and strategic restructuring.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed. The transaction is expected to close in mid to late August.

Ranked in seventh place on the Home Channel News Top 350 Pro Dealer List, Bradco reported total sales of $1.70 billion for 2007, a 12.5 percent drop from the previous year. Sales in the pro channel were $1.68 billion. Bradco operates 154 locations in 30 states.

Company founder Barry Segal, who announced his retirement five months ago, will now be free to focus his time and efforts on charitable endeavors, according to a letter posted on Bradco’s Web site. Segal’s sons, Brad and Martin, will remain part of the management team, the letter said, as will Ted Boylan, who will continue as CEO. The Segal family has retained a minority stake in the business.

Advent International, in its own announcement, said it intends to “work with existing management, and the Segal family [will] capitalize on Bradco’s leadership position, growing through acquisitions of complimentary businesses and regional expansion.”

Advent’s initial investment in Bradco and funding for follow up growth and acquisitions will come from its new $10.4 billion Global Private Equity VI fund, according to the firm, which has completed more than 10 investments in the building products and distribution sector worldwide.

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