News Stories for August

HoME Goes To the Dogs
HoME Hardware’s doggy mascots, Rusty and Sandy, are destined to be not the only canines the hardware chain is associated with. HoME has formed a partnership with Guide Dogs Australia and is aiming to raise $100,000 to help train guide dogs. HoME Brand Manager, David Evans, said the company was delighted to be partnering Guide Dogs Australia. “Around 130 guide dogs are placed with people who are vision impaired each year,” he said. “The cost to train each dog is in excess of $25,000 and all are supplied free of charge which puts in perspective their need for major sponsors.”

HoME is lending a helping hand to Guide Dogs Australia
One dollar from the sale of every 2005 Home Calendar will be donated to Guide Dogs Australia. “All stores will receive Guide Dog Australia donation boxes and leaflets to communicate with our customers,” said Evans. “We will also feature guide dogs in all Dogalogues and Homelife magazines and include a tagline on our television commercials.” Approximately four in every 200 Australians is blind or visually impaired, and Guide Dogs Australia is responsible for orientation and mobility training for more than 20,000 people each year.

New Legislation Will Trap Renovators
Proposed changes to legislation relating to owner builders in Victoria, could have massive ramifications, according the Australian Owner Builders. The changes, currently before the Victorian State Parliament, will require renovators to seek permission from the Building Practitioners Board when doing any building works over the value of $12,000.

Any renovator failing to obtain permission risks a fine of $5,000. Phil Graf from Australian Owner Builders, sees great dangers for the thousands of renovators currently doing their own projects. The legislation applies to all building works as defined by section 201 of the Domestic Building Contracts and Tribunal Act 1995, including landscaping, paving, retaining structures, driveways, fencing, lighting, sewage or drainage. “These changes mean all home owners in Victoria will need permission from the Board to carry out just about anything,” said Graf. “I don’t think the government has really looked at the economic ramifications of this.” The proposed legislation also means that permission for a building permit can only be obtained once in every three years.

“This means a home owner who improves a property to sell, will not automatically be able to renovate another property or build as an owner builder—without going cap in hand to the Building Practitioners Board,” he said. The legislation is due to be debated in the spring session of parliament.

Home Depot Targets China
American giant, Home Depot, has set its sights on the Asian market, starting with China. The company has appointed Bill Patterson to the newly created position of President, Home Depot Asia. In a report in Home Channel News, Patterson said Depot’s entry in China would be similar to its entry into Mexico—an acquisition followed by organic growth. Home Depot estimates that the Chinese home improvement market is a $50 billion industry, growing at a compounded rate of 20%. The company already operates two buying offices in China. Patterson confirmed Depot has plans to expand to other Asian markets. “We would hope that China will be the first step in an Asian strategy.

China is our focal point and we believe that is the most significant opportunity,” he said. “Our goal is the same as in Mexico—to be the biggest player in the marketplace.” Home Depot operates 40 stores in Mexico and in May this year purchased Home Mart—Mexico’s own big-box home improvement retailer— for an undisclosed sum. It has taken just three years for Home Depot to become Mexico’s biggest player. Patterson estimates it will be a similar amount of time before that happens in China. “Based on our success in expanding to international markets, I am confident of the portability of our model to China.”

For more current news stories, read the Hardware Journal’s August issue.