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Sears Canada stores closing in three major cities

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Sears Canada is closing three downtown stores in Vancouver, Calgary and Ottawa. The move follows an announcement last month by Sears Holdings, the majority owner of Sears Canada, that it will raise about $770 million by spinning off parts of its business and selling prime real estate.

“While we had no plans to close stores, the transaction for these three specific locations provides an attractive financial benefit for the company which strategically allows us to drive growth in areas which can be most beneficial,” said Calvin McDonald, president and CEO, Sears Canada Inc. We are investing in a refresh of our stores and piloting new formats which will provide Canadians exciting ways to access Sears products and services.”

Sears Canada plans to close locations at the Vancouver Pacific Centre, the Calgary Chinook Centre and the Ottawa Rideau Centre by Oct. 31, 2012. It will return the locations to developer Cadillac Fairview Corp Ltd for C$170 million. The transaction is expected to close on or around April 20.

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DIY pioneer: Home centers need to think again

BY Ken Clark

Cologne, Germany — Does home center retailing need a new business model? One DIY pioneer thinks so. 

Manfred Maus, who in 1970 founded OBI, which grew to become Germany’s largest DIY home center, spoke to Home Channel News at the 2012 Internationale Eisenwarenmesse – or International Hardware Fair – in Cologne, Germany. 

“My children and my grandchildren will buy completely differently than we buy,” he said. “I think the home center concept is old. We need a new business model.”

Maus, now retired from OBI but keeping a close watch of the industry through various advisory positions, said technology advances will almost certainly have an impact on the development and transformation of a physical home center.

The person shopping for a lawn mower in a store has probably already shopped online and probably knows more about lawn mowers than any salesperson in the store, he said. 

“That means the future is multichannel — you need both,” Maus said. “The customer comes with mobile Internet in your store and takes a little picture and asks his wife, ‘Do we buy it?’ And the price can be checked. This means the world is changing, and we have to sit down to find out what has to be done to have a home center for the future.”

Another discussion point: store size. 

“The question is: Is 15,000 square meters (or 160,000 sq. ft.] still the right size for a home center?” Maus said. “Or can we use a smaller store and work with the Internet?”

Asked for his thoughts on products and opportunities for retailers, Maus mentioned security systems and security-related products as a can’t miss category if home improvement retailers do it right. There’s even an opportunity to partner in creative ways with law-enforcement authorities, he said.

Regarding U.S. retailers, the founder of OBI feels the merchandising magic might have slipped in America. “The European home center has the better merchandise concept,” Maus told Home Channel News. “Years ago, I was always impressed about retail merchandising in the United States. Today, I feel [Europeans] have more know-how in presenting the merchandise in specialty stores.”

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P.SIEGEL says:
Mar-07-2012 04:13 pm

Manfried/OBI comment He's
Manfried/OBI comment He's right on - smaller "showroom" stores with on line ordering. Less real estate, smaller buildings, less employees, less inventory, less maintenance/utility. taxes costs - and the beat goes on. Probably would add up to LARGER PROFITS, as less is more.

L.Woods says:
Mar-07-2012 03:53 pm

I would also have to agree
I would also have to agree that we are lost on how we are merchdising our displays after 30 years in the business there is not much excitement on displays

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Arrow Fastener looks for sales abroad

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Cologne, Germany — Arrow Fastener Co. of Saddle Brook, N.J., has a pair of new executives leading international development. Part of their message is the American know-how.

Roberto Izaquirre, VP of international sales, told Home Channel News: “International growth is one of our top priorities.”

At the company’s booth here at the International Hardware Fair in Cologne, Germany, Izaquirre, who came to his current position late last year, displayed some of the new products in the arsenal, including some products designed with the female user in mind – smaller, more user-friendly staple guns. 

A new Arrow technology called Forward Action also brings more mechanical advantage to the stapling action. 

Consumer research conducted by Arrow shows a market opportunity for Arrow products for upholstery and female users. “What Americans are very good at is understanding the consumer better than the European companies,” said Izaquirre.

Izaquirre and new director of European sales Robert Moll, point to other USA advantages. They pointed out that 80% of the company’s products are made in America. “The USA still has a strong name for reliable, quality, tough tools,” said Robert Moll, director of European sales. “You have to create an identity for yourself. We don’t want to be just another product from PRC.” 

 

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