RONA expands Reno-Depot network
Boucherville, Quebec-based RONA has opened a new Reno-Depot store in Carrefour Candiac, Quebec, a 105,000-square-foot location and the 16th Reno-Depot store in the country.
“The (opening of the new store) coincides with a recent announcement of another $20 million investment to improve the shopping experience in all our Reno-Depot stores,” said Robert Dutton, president and CEO of RONA.
Pierre Dandoy, RONA’s executive vp-big box stores, added, “This store is part of the new generation of Reno-Depot.”
The RONA-owned store features an upgraded format with the addition of a “Project Space,” a consultation area where customers can meet with advisors – “Project Guides – on major renovation projects.
“These advisors can also discuss project financing with customers,” the company noted.
RONA is one of the largest Canadian distributors and retailers of hardware, home renovation and gardening products, with a network of 680 corporate, franchise and affiliate stores.
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OBI co-founder touts furniture in home centers
Cologne, Germany Manfred Maus, the co-founder of OBI, Germany’s largest home center, pointed to furniture as the next big frontier of DIY retailing. On the show floor of the International Hardware Fair/Practical World in Cologne, Germany, Maus also pointed to a growing importance in Germany of service over price.
Maus, who officially retired from OBI in 2004, maintains an ambassadorial role with the company. OBI operates more than 330 stores in Germany, and more than 500 throughout Europe.
Asked to describe the changing retail landscape in Europe, Maus described Germany as the “world champion of discounts.” However, the growing importance of female customers is causing something of a shift, as service and quality are brought to the forefront, he said.
“Women are important, and women are different,” he said, discussing a European trend that trails the women-friendly retailing approach prevalent in the United States. “They decide whether we are going to buy a new kitchen, whether we are decorating. They need service, they need help, and this we learned in the last few years — price is not everything.”
Pointing to the observation that the best OBI stores are in Moscow, operating next door to IKEA stores, Maus described great potential for the combination of furniture and DIY.
“I’m not talking about adding a 20,000-square-meter IKEA and a 10,000-square-meter OBI to make a 30,000-square-meter store,” he said. “What I mean is to build a complete center under one roof, but telling the customer we are competent in paint, we are competent in lumber, we are competent in ceramic tiles, we are competent in tools, and also having a competence in furniture.”
He said no retail company is doing that well today.
“I think this is the future because we have too many home improvement stores that all look alike,” Maus said.
OBI (pronounced oh-bee) was founded in 1970.
If you get a quality product
If you get a quality product then obviously you would overlook the price factor. Consumers always look for good products. It does not make sense buying something useless at a cheaper price. While buying furniture keep the durability factor in mind. I recently bought Office Chairs from a reputed brand.
France’s Castorama helps float Kingfisher
While the United Kingdom-based B&Q chain of DIY retailers was weak in the fourth quarter, strong sales in France and Eastern Europe at the company’s Castorama branch helped float Europe’s largest home improvement company.
Kingfisher, parent of B&Q and Castorama, posted fourth-quarter sales of 2.18 billion British pounds (US$4.33 billion) up 4.8 percent from US$4.13 billion in the same period last year.
“Kingfisher’s international businesses, which account for more than half of group sales, continued to grow, with Castorama in France and Poland performing particularly strongly,” said Ian Cheshire, Kingfisher group chief executive. “Continuing this momentum will be our key international priority next year, along with addressing our performance in China.”
B&Q total sales were up just 0.2 percent in the quarter. The company revamped eight B&Q stores as part of a bid to restyle all of the country’s 324 stores. The retailer also launched new power tool, shelving and storage programs.
Sales at French Castorama stores rose 4.3 percent, with “continued penetration of [house brands] and strong sales.”
In the rest of Europe, sales rose 14.3 percent, “boosted by a strong end to the year in Poland.”
Asia sales were down 6.4 percent, “reflecting the continued impact of the slowdown of new apartment sales in the major Chinese markets and changing supplier regulations.”
Kingfisher operates Europe’s most well-known home improvement names, including B&Q, Castorama, Brico Depot and Screwfix.
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