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RONA names communications executives

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Boucherville, Quebec-based RONA, the largest Canadian distributor and retailer of hardware, renovation and gardening products, announced the appointment of Michelle Laberge as senior director of communications and public affairs. 

She will report to Claude Bernier executive VP marketing and customer innovations.

Laberge joins RONA from MSL Canada, a public relations agency where she was VP for its consumer division, representing clients such as Procter & Gamble, Indigo Chapters and Fujifilm

Also new to the team is senior adviser, Nadia Goyer, who joined the corporation in June. She joins RONA from La Coop fédérée, La Ronde and SAQ.

Also joining RONA last June was Sue Cavallucci, director of internal communications, reporting to Christian Proulx, senior VP people and culture. Previously, she was with IMS Health Canada and Air Canada. 

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Hardware store sales ahead of last year

BY Ken Clark

The latest tally from the U.S. Census shows hardware stores saw a sales decline in June compared with the previous month, but a sales increase from the previous year.

The Census Bureau’s Monthly Retail Trade Report shows the unadjusted sales for NAICS code 44413 dealers — or hardware stores — in July was $1.756 billion on an unadjusted basis. That’s a decline of 8.4% from $1.197 billion reported in June.

However, unadjusted 44413 sales in July were up 5.3% compared with the same month last year.

July is the latest month of available data for the 44413 stores.

The Monthly Retail Trade Report was released Wednesday along with the Advance Monthly Retail Trade Report, which showed total U.S. retail sales 7.2% ahead of last year’s pace.

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Swap shop nets seven arrests

BY Brae Canlen

A two-month investigation into “swap shops” that sell discounted merchandise resulted in seven arrests and charges against five stores for receiving stolen property, according to an article in the Middletown Journal.

Undercover agents, along with security personnel from Lowe’s and Sears, visited five swap shops on Sept. 8 to make “one final sale” of reportedly stolen merchandise, according to the report. After the sales, the officers immediately served a search warrant and found multiple power tools with the serial numbers removed, several GPS units, gas trimmers and electronic devices such as TVs and Blu-ray players. 

In one incident, a spokesman for the Middletown Police said an undercover officer took merchandise into a shop with security tags, saying it was stolen property. The officer was told the shop could not accept merchandise with security tags, so the officer took the merchandise into the parking lot, removed the tag and returned to the shop to complete the transaction. 

Swap shop employees were charged with various felonies and misdemeanors connected to receiving stolen property and violations of swap-shop regulations. One suspect, 28-year-old Wendell Wilson, allegedly warned some of the other establishments after the police served the first search warrant. Wilson was arrested for obstructing justice, a fifth-degree felony.

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