August 2021

Magazine Articles

Timber traders tackle the perfect storm

While global governments are using building and construction as a stimulus to fight their way out of the economic repercussions of COVID, this – combined with several unusual economic factors — has gone on to create the “perfect storm” for timber supply in both the national and global markets.

Paint & accessory industry thrives

Ongoing shipping and importing issues due to the pandemic has seen increased pressure within the Australian paint industry for a reliable and consistent supply of quality raw materials. Paint Place Group General Manager, Gary Liddicoat, believes increasing shipping costs have caused prices of raw materials to more than double in the last 18 months, while the time it takes to book shipping container space has been pushed out dramatically, triggering a major reduction in supply of raw material.

Trade Focus: Belmont Timber thrives under Fagg’s family business

There is an element of risk when merging a 60-year-old business with another that has serviced the same region for 160 years. But for the staff and customers of Belmont Timber, the union of this large-scale timber operation with the Fagg’s Mitre 10 Group in 2017, has helped position it as a leading builder and renovator destination.

July 2021

Magazine Articles

Aussies’ garden love continues post-COVID

While the garden and outdoor living space was yet another hardware segment that experienced a surge in sales during the pandemic, it seems there is no sign of the boom slowing down with Australians’ love for their gardens expected to continue well into the upcoming spring season.

Hire & rental space proves profitable for hardware

The ‘Hire & Rental’ segment has shown a significant increase in popularity. It is for this reason that hardware retailers are shaking up their businesses and offering customer’s equipment for hire, particularly as the building sector continues to grow post-pandemic.

Retail Focus: Mitre 10 New Zealand builds pioneer store

Mitre 10 New Zealand and the local Wanaka community recently welcomed the stunning Mitre 10 MEGA Wanaka to the area, with the store’s trail-blazing design setting the bar high for future Mitre 10 stores. The new store is not only a one-stop-shop to all local residents and holidaymakers who frequent the area, but boasts environmentally friendly features not often seen within hardware stores.

June 2021

Magazine Articles

IHG sees 40 per cent growth in abrasives

The abrasives category has demonstrated growth of up to 40 per cent in some market sectors over the last 12 months, according to IHG’s (Independent Hardware Group) Category Manager for Hand Tools, Christina Goodman, with this growth particularly evident during COVID lockdowns.

Trades welcome innovation in Hand, Power & Trade Tools

The highly competitive Hand, Power & Trade Tools sector remains one of the most innovative spaces within the hardware industry. In this report, industry leaders explain why trades and DIYers are so attracted to new and upgraded products.

Retail Focus: Barossa Mitre 10 builds new Design Studio

Barossa Mitre 10 has evolved substantially over the years particularly after it became a part of the Barossa Co-op in 1992. The Barossa Co-op was incredibly established in 1944 and was initially run by the local community as a general store selling an array of goods and services in the main street of Nuriootpa.

May 2021

Magazine Articles

Compliance woes lock up security industry

Master Locksmiths Association of Australasia (MLAA) Chief Executive Officer, Peter Johnson, recently sat down with AHJ to reveal his perspective on issues and trends within the safety and security market. While business has weathered the COVID storm reasonably well, Mr Johnson said the success of the industry does not come without on-going issues.

Fasteners hold tight during pandemic

As Australia and New Zealand embrace a new post-pandemic normality, different industries are coming to grips with fresh realities and challenges. John Power talks to fastening industry experts about their experiences during and after COVID-19.

Industrial Focus: ITT store shows competitors who’s BOSS

When Tony and Sue Smith first took ownership of BOSS Industrial, they never imagined how much the store would grow and thrive just by enforcing simple, yet powerful changes in-store, including constantly implementing and updating new stock.

April 2021

Magazine Articles

Slow shipping & other catastrophes

Supply chain interruptions and irregularities are sweeping the retail hardware sector. From shipping delays to materials shortages in the wake of bushfires, floods, and an overheated building boom, there are plenty of factors contributing to the problem, writes John Power.

Plumbing Plus builds on its humble success

After working within the hardware industry for most of his life, including 15 years at Bunnings, Plumbing Plus Chief Executive Officer Tony Hurd is now spending all of his time shifting the Plumbing Plus group into an exciting new direction.

Trade Focus: N‘Bolts & Moore’ grows three-fold

Just over 18 years ago, Justin Moore bought a small nuts and bolts store in the outer-Eastern suburbs of Melbourne. Since this time Justin has grown and expanded the business to three successful fasteners stores that are well known and utilised by over one-thousand trades throughout Melbourne.

March 2021

Magazine Articles

Lighting category goes full circle

After spending several years working in the lighting category, HBT General Manager of Buying, Jody Vella, recently spoke with AHJ on the latest trends and challenges within this rapidly evolving sector.

Workwear fashions and quality PPE drive market

Safety HQ is a collective group of 22 independently owned stores located nationally and now boasts one of the largest online spaces for workwear and personal protective equipment (PPE) in Australia. There are exciting times ahead for Safety HQ’s online space with its 55,000 online products (at soon to be linked to all member’s stores so retailers can now run an expansive online shop alongside their bricks and mortar business.

Retail Focus: National recognition for Biloela HTH

After 32 years in the industry, Tim Kessler and Kent Hutton have seen their share of ups and downs, but the pinnacle for their business came last month when their remote Queensland store was awarded ‘2020 Home Timber & Hardware National Store of the Year’ at the IHG Virtual Expo. The accolade follows years of investment and sheer hard work by the duo, to position the business as the ‘Best Store in Town’ for their local community.

February 2021

Magazine Articles

Convenience and safety – key drivers in the smart home space

The latest smart home gadgets are continually maintaining consumers’ interest, with connected products that can track a home’s consumption of gas, electricity and water becoming the latest products to take off within this sector. Amazon has recently jumped on board this growing trend by creating an energy dashboard that not only monitors a home’s use of energy but turns off devices to reduce on-going costs. However, it is the original smart home sectors that maintain a slow burn for hardware retailers.

Power tool specialists set to outgrow demand

There is no question the Australian power tool industry is highly competitive – not only due to the huge number of brands that service this market, but also the increasing competition between specialist tool retailers. Industry groups now question what this fierce competition will mean for tool specialists in the future. Will the market become so flooded that it may no longer serve as a viable business for tool specialist groups?

Timber Focus: Ramiens Timber – From sawmill to award winning timber merchant

Awarded TABMA Australia’s ‘Best Timber Merchant 2015-2017’, Ramiens Timber has operated within its local area of Western New South Wales since 1960, offering its customers specialty products as well as a one stop shop for residential and commercial projects. Today the business is well known for its quality products and expansive offer on-site, however it has not always been smooth sailing for the Ramien family.

January 2021

Magazine Articles

Aussies believe buying local is the way of the future

It is little wonder why the Australian Made Campaign continues to experience huge demand from both consumers and local manufacturers, with nine in ten Australians now believing that Australia should produce more products locally, according to a recent Roy Morgan survey.

Retail Focus: Theatrical nursery sees McLaren Vale Mitre 10 bloom

After taking on McLaren Vale Mitre 10 in 2017, owners Mark and Fiona Loveday, along with former colleague Brian Lawrence and family friend Linda Provis, have overseen significant growth and improvement in their customer offer over the last three years.

December 2020

Magazine Articles

Industry Insights 2020

While 2020 is a year many small business owners would rather forget, hardware retailers are heading out of this year relatively unscathed, with some segments of the hardware industry achieving record sales during the pandemic. In this special edition of Industry Insights, discover not only what industry leaders achieved this year, but the important lessons they have learned along the way.

Retail Focus: SSS Bargain Builders Supplies’ unique selling style

SSS Bargain Builders Supplies Owner, Neil Smith, has grown and evolved his store for over 25 years by selling a wide variety of building products to his customers in a unique style, which he says could be seen as an “old-fashioned” way of retailing, but may just be the key to fighting Big Box competition.

November 2020

Magazine Articles

User friendly, smart security drives market

Safety and security trends are currently based around ensuring products are more accessible, smarter and easier for consumers, which is why innovative electronics and smart technology were particularly popular throughout 2020, according to Allegion’s Marketing Manager for Australia and New Zealand, Craig Patterson.

Building materials grow despite disruptive year

The productivity of many Victorian builders was sorely tested during the 15-week lockdown in metropolitan Melbourne, according to the Independent Hardware Group’s (IHG) General Manager of Merchandise, Geoff Harris.

Trade Focus: TradeSmart store continues to evolve 30 years on

Centwest Engineering & Steel Supplies owners, Ian and Margaret Harris, have successfully operated their store in Longreach, Queensland – 1200 kilometres north west of Brisbane – for over 30 years and continue to grow and evolve their business to service the needs of local customers.