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Home Improvement (Lowe's, Rona, Home Depot)

lenaitch

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We needed a couple of small items. We went to our local Home Hardware. Staff found out what we needed, went in the store and got it; we were done in about 10 minutes. Excellent service.

I have had really good luck with Home Hardware's online ordering system pre-pandemic. We have a very small store that couldn't hope to carry all the products in their online catalogue. The only failing was it wouldn't let me order lumber. I had to persist through the overloaded local phone number for that.
 

Tuscani01

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I know the dealer at the Lawrence and Allen location who stated they are swamped with orders to the point where they are on a hiring spree. They have more orders than they can handle much like most of the other Canadian Tire stores according to what I was told.

He's right. The reduced store hours don't help the situation either. A lot of staff are also scared to work and staying home. The scary thing is no one knows what will happen as of Saturday. If online sales remain as high as they are now, things will be even worse - as stores will be focused on customers who are actually in the store once reopened, further delaying online orders. There's even been talk of turning off ecomm in the event that stores get overwhelmed.
 

PinkLucy

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I just heard that our local Rona is suspending all online orders (including ones currently in progress) as they prepare the store for re-opening. This is not going over well with people who have already been waiting days.
 

Richard White

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He's right. The reduced store hours don't help the situation either. A lot of staff are also scared to work and staying home. The scary thing is no one knows what will happen as of Saturday. If online sales remain as high as they are now, things will be even worse - as stores will be focused on customers who are actually in the store once reopened, further delaying online orders. There's even been talk of turning off ecomm in the event that stores get overwhelmed.

My understanding was that Crappy Tire was set to suspend online ordering this weekend in order to catch up on demand. They wanted to be close to normal operations when they reopen to the public. By suspending online ordering temporarily they can work to fill the orders already in progress and restock.
 

Tuscani01

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My understanding was that Crappy Tire was set to suspend online ordering this weekend in order to catch up on demand. They wanted to be close to normal operations when they reopen to the public. By suspending online ordering temporarily they can work to fill the orders already in progress and restock.

Nope, just got word online ordering will continue to operate.
 

W. K. Lis

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I find if you know what you're looking for, online shopping is fine. However, if you need help, need to comparison shop, or to examine something closeup (look, feel, smell, etc.), shopping in person is needed.
 

Northern Light

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Lowes is essentially exiting Canada.

They've sold the Canadian operations to a private equity firm.


The sale appears to include the right to use the Lowes name in Canada, but the plan is that will be a stand alone business, and given the size of the impairment charge (essentially loss on sale), (2 billion) I'm not sure there's any brand equity
worth keeping.

Appears they had some issues similar to Target in simply not being able to grasp the Canadian market.

The dealer-side of the business, at least in Quebec, should be healthy I think; but I would expect a fair few store closures outside Quebec. I don't know that; but certainly my local stores in the east end do not seem high traffic.
 

lenaitch

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Lowes is essentially exiting Canada.

They've sold the Canadian operations to a private equity firm.


The sale appears to include the right to use the Lowes name in Canada, but the plan is that will be a stand alone business, and given the size of the impairment charge (essentially loss on sale), (2 billion) I'm not sure there's any brand equity
worth keeping.

Appears they had some issues similar to Target in simply not being able to grasp the Canadian market.

The dealer-side of the business, at least in Quebec, should be healthy I think; but I would expect a fair few store closures outside Quebec. I don't know that; but certainly my local stores in the east end do not seem high traffic.
It will be interesting to see how this shakes out. My only experience with Lowe's is their Barrie store and it seems to do well. I think our local Rona went through a change of management and was a little frustrating to deal with for a while but seems to have sorted itself out. It always struck me that Lowe's was like Ikea and never ventured from large market locations, and I don't think either Lowe's or Rona have much of a presence in small or even medium markets, leaving them to HD (they have a 'small store' footprint model) or the more traditional hardware store/lumber yards like Home Hardware, TimberMart, etc.

One thing that can have a big impact on sales is their relationship with the trades. A contractor's cash flow is different than a consumer's. I know for a while that HD didn't have a great relationship but that is going back some.

Although I don't think I was ever in one, I understood that a big part of Target's Canadian problem was supply chain-related, with lots of chronically empty shelves virtually from day one.
 

afransen

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Although I don't think I was ever in one, I understood that a big part of Target's Canadian problem was supply chain-related, with lots of chronically empty shelves virtually from day one.
Honestly, Target's problems weren't even really supply chain related. They built three beautiful facilities to support their stores. Target's problem was catastrophic failure of system integration. They didn't copy systems from the US mothership, they decided to make Canada the testbed for new ERP, forecasting, warehouse management, etc. That is a lot for an organization to grapple with while trying to open and stabilize a hundred stores. Their SAP implementation was completely screwed up, perhaps maybe in part due to data governance failures (garbage in garbage out).
 

afransen

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Lowes is essentially exiting Canada.

They've sold the Canadian operations to a private equity firm.


The sale appears to include the right to use the Lowes name in Canada, but the plan is that will be a stand alone business, and given the size of the impairment charge (essentially loss on sale), (2 billion) I'm not sure there's any brand equity
worth keeping.

Appears they had some issues similar to Target in simply not being able to grasp the Canadian market.

The dealer-side of the business, at least in Quebec, should be healthy I think; but I would expect a fair few store closures outside Quebec. I don't know that; but certainly my local stores in the east end do not seem high traffic.
Lowes went on my shitlist when they sold me what I discovered to be a inoperable used/remanufactured bathroom fan, and had the audacity to suggest I was fraudulently returning it. I only was refunded when the assistant store manager and I went to the shelf and opened up two more units and found they were similarly defective. I am pretty convinced they would have told me to piss off if I didn't have that corroboration in the store. Over like a $70 purchase!

I was more annoyed that I wasted like an hour and half going back and forth to Lowes when I wanted to just fix my damn fan and they thought I was trying to save a cheeky $70 and commit fraud.
 
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Admiral Beez

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My understanding was that Crappy Tire was set to suspend online ordering this weekend in order to catch up on demand. They wanted to be close to normal operations when they reopen to the public. By suspending online ordering temporarily they can work to fill the orders already in progress and restock.
Canadian Tire’s online ordering is a ridiculous shitshow. Orders made online are directed to stores and shipped from an indivual dealer rather than picked at their DC. Then of course Canadian tire’s policy of only hiring The young and the demotivated mean that they never know actually what’s in their stores. I ordered stuff on their website, and ended up being out of stock even though their website showed it in stock.

As for the buyer of Lowe’s Canada. That’s just for real estate. Those stores are gonna be knocked down and turned into condos.
 

Northern Light

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As for the buyer of Lowe’s Canada. That’s just for real estate. Those stores are gonna be knocked down and turned into condos.

As with Home Depot, a large number of Lowes sites are in Industrial Commercial zones and unlikely to see residential development.

Those that may get that treatment, are largely not owned by Lowes Canada. (ie. Shopper's World Danforth, and Warden/Eglinton, both of which are Riocan)

I think the Reno-Depot business in Quebec was fairly sound before Lowe's entered the Canadian market, and probably still is.............

The problem is the English Canadian side, which Reno-Depot entered as RONA, and Lowes.

Aside from @afransen 's example above...........

My observations of Lowe's in Canada would be that they were tasked with taking marketshare from Home Depot.

HD didn't really have a direct competitor of any scale in Canada when they entered (sure there's overlap with CT, but CT has automotive, camping, sporting goods, and extensive housewares; while lacking tool rental, lumber of any scale, and depth and range of contractor-grade equipment/supplies.)

By contrast, Lowe's had had HD to contend with....and dislodging and established player is a real challenge.

Like Target, I think they over-estimated their brand value in the Canadian market; and they also expanded rapidly to build national profile before discerning if they actually had the formula right to poach market share from HD or whether they could grow the total market at all.

I wouldn't say I had a negative impression of Lowe's here at all; so much as wandering through left me feeling that there wasn't much of a tangible differentiation with HD; nothing obvious to me that they did better, which makes acquiring marketshare tough.

You win over customers by either being the price-leader, or by offering a product or service the other guy doesn't have, or that you're overtly better at......

My limited encounters with Lowe's staff generally gave me the sense they were, on average, a bit less knowledgable/trained than their HD counterparts, and that's problematic if you don't have some other 'hero' feature or product category to drive sales.

We'll have to wait to see the analysis and the impacts; but I'll standby the fact that I think the anglo-Canadian footprint will end up shrinking quite a bit; but if anything remains of it, I'm not sure what the banner name will be.

The price paid for the business suggests to me, a write-off for the non-Quebec assets; but time will tell.
 

JasonParis

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Canadian Tire’s online ordering is a ridiculous shitshow. Orders made online are directed to stores and shipped from an indivual dealer rather than picked at their DC. Then of course Canadian tire’s policy of only hiring The young and the demotivated mean that they never know actually what’s in their stores. I ordered stuff on their website, and ended up being out of stock even though their website showed it in stock.

As for the buyer of Lowe’s Canada. That’s just for real estate. Those stores are gonna be knocked down and turned into condos.
I recently went to Canadian Tire at the Toronto Eaton Centre as their website directed me there as it had some Phillips Hue lights in stock. Upon arrival I couldn't find any and asked a salesperson for help. He told me they were "online only" and had never been sold at their store. When I said it says quite the opposite on their website and that five units should be in stock, he just shrugged his shoulders.
 

T3G

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I recently went to Canadian Tire at the Toronto Eaton Centre as their website directed me there as it had some Phillips Hue lights in stock. Upon arrival I couldn't find any and asked a salesperson for help. He told me they were "online only" and had never been sold at their store. When I said it says quite the opposite on their website and that five units should be in stock, he just shrugged his shoulders.
A lot of these big stores have completely worthless sites. I work for one of these and if you need to search for something, unless you have the SKU, you will be inundated with results that are in no way relevant. Makes searching for an item that doesn't have a barcode a real pain in the bottom. I can search for 2x4x8 lumber and get PAGES of results, most of them not even related to lumber.

I don't think I've ever encountered something quite as drastic as this, but we have a ton of problems with the website. Inventory claims we have hundreds of something (usually lumber) that we can't find ANYWHERE, mountains of products that are different prices online than in store, even various technical problems precluding items which are in stock from being added to the cart. These are all shockingly amateurly run corporations and it shocks me they manage to stay afloat financially when their business model seems to be oriented chiefly around "paying as little people as possible and letting the customer be abusive to the store level workers".

Also, while we're at it, can hardware stores PLEASE stop training people to ask cashiers how to use a tool/what's the best tool for the job/will this tool be good for their job? I'm here to take your money in exchange for the goods you've purchased, I am not a tradesman!!!!
 

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