AUSTRALIAN HARDWARE JOURNAL

SINCE 1886 www.hardwarejournal.com.au Vol.137 No.6 Jun 2022 Cut the cold this winter ƒ Print Post Approved PP100007331

Powered by German engineering excellence, STIHL battery power sets the industry standard for battery garden power tools. Delivering consistent, unrivalled performance across four tiers of performance, STIHL’s innovative battery range includes the AS system and AI line for small to medium sized gardens, the AK system for medium to large sized gardens, and the AP battery system for large gardens and professional applications – each compatible with their own range of quality tools. Explore STIHL battery power for yourself. Find your local dealer at stihl.com.au Be ready for any challenge with battery power by STIHL. Battery Power. By Stihl. ƒ

DEPARTMENTS Newsmakers Features 8 Viewpoint 10 NZ Focus 14 Industrial Focus 16 Behind the Counter 18 US News 20 NZ News 22 Timber Update 48 News 52 What’s New 24 H and, Power and Trade Tools Hardware and industrial specialists continue to experience strong demand within the hand, power and trade tools space under easing COVID constraints due to healthy activity within the building and construction industries. 34 H BT National Conference coverage The Hardware & Building Traders (HBT) National Conference kicked off with a bang as suppliers and members began the three-day event with an extravagant ‘Back to the Future’ themed awards lunch held at the Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre. 48 M itre 10 launches bold new brand direction - ‘The other hardware store’. 49 H omebuilding to remain at capacity until 2023. 49 Paint and Hardware Legends function. About the Cover There is no more perfect way to cut the cold this winter than with STIHL’s high-performance, quality garden power tools. The number one selling chainsaw brand worldwide also delivers an industry-leading range of petrol and battery-powered chainsaws, pole pruners, blowers, trimmers, and more, to make light work of winter’s biggest jobs. SINCE 1886 www.hardwarejournal.com.au Vol.137 No.6 Jun 2022 Cut the cold this winter ƒ Print Post Approved PP100007331 51 10 24 34 4 HARDWAREJOURNAL.COM.AU | JUNE '22

Grow your business Convert more customers and increase purchase frequency by offering better payment terms, up to 120 days. Transact anywhere Offer payments in store, online or with orders, whatever your business model. Improve cash flow Get paid upfront while your customers pay over time, with payment extension or instalment options. Offer seamless payments Customers can open an account up to $50K and transact within minutes, enabling a seamless sales process. How it works Register online in minutes You’ll get paid the next business day Invite your customers to join Invoice your customers SCAN TO LEARN MORE All-in-one trade credit platform Multiply the spending power of your customers SHIFT TRADE

PAGE 34

CAB Audited Glenvale Publications and Australian Hardware Journal are pleased to provide the articles contained in this publication to keep its subscribers up to date on issues which may be relevant to their businesses. This publication is supplied strictly on the condition that Glenvale Publications and Australian Hardware Journal, its employees, agents, authors, editors and consultants are not responsible for any deficiency, error, omission or mistake contained in this publication, and Glenvale Publications and Australian Hardware Journal, its employees, agents, authors, editors and consultants hereby expressly disclaim all liability of whatsoever nature to any person who may rely on the contents of this publication in whole or part. Published by GLENVALE PUBLICATIONS A.B.N. 31 218 591 688 11 Rushdale Street, Knoxfield Victoria 3180 Phone: (03) 9544 2233 Editor: Christine Bannister Phone: (03) 9544 2233 Email: christine@glenv.com.au Journalists: John Power Emily Morrison Hartley Henderson Online Communications & Production: Justin Carroll Email: justin@glenv.com.au ADVERTISING Harry Rabiee Email: harry@glenv.com.au Phone: (03) 9544 2233 Mobile: 0403 000 444 ACCOUNTS Melissa Graydon Email: Melissa.Graydon@glenv.com.au SUBSCRIPTIONS Melissa Graydon $93.00 – 12 issues subs@glenv.com.au ART AND PRODUCTION Justin Carroll PRINTING Southern Impact Pty Ltd 181 Forster Rd, Mount Waverley VIC 3149 Phone: (03) 8796 7000 As most independents continue to report record sales this year, independent buying groups are now using the lessons they have learned from the past two years to face future challenges. With HBT and Natbuild members finally coming together at their national respective conferences in May (see pages 32 and 34 for full event coverages) both groups said they now see the importance of learning from the past so they can succeed in the future. During the conference, Natbuild Chief Executive Officer Peter Way reminded members of the importance of fine-tuning what can be done better while also building on Natbuild’s overall offer to the trade market. IHG has also undertaken some fine-tuning of its own after launching two major campaigns for both its Mitre 10 and Home Timber &Hardware members. The Mitre 10 campaign reminds customers to look out for ‘The other hardware store’ in an attempt to move hardware consumers out of auto-pilot mode when opting for the big box instead of Mitre 10. The campaign reminds consumers that there is an ‘other’ choice they can opt for that will cater to all of their needs. The importance of not taking the foot off the accelerator is evident when looking to overseas markets that continue to tackle the same challenges Australian builders currently face. In New Zealand, industry experts reported that 92 companies within the building sector have gone into liquidation in 2022, as of May 23. (Source: Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment). Master Builders New Zealand and the New Zealand Building Industry Federation say the figures are a reflection of the sector entering a downturn phase as high costs and labour shortages continue to batter the market, combined with the problem that smaller companies often do not have the capital to carry them through short-term challenges. More locally, economists have also reported that the cost of building a house in Australia has risen $76,000 in recent months with more liquidations expected as critical building material shortages continue, as do skilled worker shortages and rising material costs. In an attempt to reduce financial risks within the building sector, a new rating tool has been launched to deliver an independent review of a company’s history and risks. Currently available inWestern Australia, the Independent Construction Industry Rating Tool (iCIRT) gives users an independent review of a company’s history and risk factors, while also issuing a rating of between one and five stars. Created by global rating firm Equifax, the new tool was developed so suppliers and homebuyers can check the quality and reliability of builders and developers. Despite the tumultuous times, independent businesses have again demonstrated their on-going adaptability by successfully navigating their way through the challenges and continue to report strong sales, not only in the paint and hardware sector but the industrial space as well. Christine Bannister - Editor The AHJ team was recently invited to the Paint and Hardware Legends (PAHL) club gathering in Melbourne to help raise money for children in need. Natbuild members recently came together at their national conference.

TOLL FREE sales@jakmax.com.au P: 1800 604 281 www.jakmax.com.au F: 1800 199 758 Exclusive to JAK Max FEATURES & BENEFITS: l 2 side log plates l high quality jockey wheel l adjustable leg stand l tow hitch l all spare parts available l exceptional after sales service ANOTHER AWESOME ARCHER PRODUCT AVAILABLE FROM JAK MAX! 30/40 ton vertical/horizontal log splitters powered by LOG SPLITTERS

Business: Mitre 10 MEGA Mt Wellington Member Principals: Raymond Yee & Dennis Yee Store Management: Edmond Yee & Michael Lay-Yee Location: Mt Wellington, Auckland, New Zealand Building Group: Mitre 10 New Zealand Mitre 10 MEGA Mt Wellington opens inspirational garden centre While most of New Zealand’s hardware stores struggled just to keep up with online orders and drive through pick-ups throughout COVID lockdowns, Mitre 10 MEGA Mt Wellington (Auckland) spent its lockdown time wisely. Over the past two years Member Principals, Ray and Dennis Yee have managed an extensive garden centre upgrade and new café, placing the store in good stead for garden competitors that plan to move next door to the store in the coming months. “Having competitors move so close to your store is not always a bad thing. Like they say if you want to swim fast you need a shark to be swimming right behind you!” Originally the garden centre was located at one end of the store. Throughout the lockdowns, Ray and his team decided to build a roof and walls over the former garden centre and transform the space into a display area for all of the latest outdoor products. “We then established an entirely new garden centre outside of the building and built a new café within the garden centre as well which has worked out really well,” Ray said. The new garden centre and integrated café is an impressive footprint that sits at around 2,000 square metres, while the former garden centre - and now outdoor living area sits at around 1,300 square metres.” “Customers have the option of entering the café from inside the building, but we also have a wall of glass doors that look straight out onto the garden centre from the café. Café tables are placed throughout the garden centre so customers can have their coffee and food while sitting amongst the plants and the displays,” Ray said. “The garden centre was specifically designed to integrate well with the café. Placing seating throughout the garden centre allows customers to get a real feel of the centre from the café. It also provides some inspiration to shoppers of what it might be like when they are sitting on their own patio. This is where they can easily visualise what their backyard may look like with a new variety of palms or pots or even new outdoor furniture,” he said. Having an interactive garden centre in-store captures the customer’s imagination much better than simply displaying products, Ray said. “We are now moving into a different era of retailing. Our garden centre creates so much more excitement for the customer than simply having products sitting on a shelf at a certain

price. So instead of coming to the store and just browsing the shelves, they come to our store and are given plenty of inspiration just by walking through,” he said. “While our competitors might say their strengths would be having an abundance of products at the lowest prices, and this certainly appeals to some customers, there are also plenty of customers looking for inspiration on how to improve their indoor and outdoor living environment. They do not necessarily want the cheapest products, but they do want products that are suitable for their home.” “We do not try to pull customers into our stores because we have the cheapest products. While we do want to give our customers value for money, we believe that offering new ideas and inspiration is also vital when helping them decide what products they want for their garden or home,” Ray said. An in-store revamp was also implemented throughout the COVID lockdowns, which was more about giving the store a decent tidy and extending some of the bays to make way for additional shelf space. “We wanted to introduce new product ranges, so we extended some of our bays to create more shelf space while also rearranging the shelves to make the store look less cluttered. Although we do have a big store, we still stock over 40,000 items. We needed to de-clutter so we could make room for more new items and get rid of the stagnant ones.” “All of the store’s lighting has also changed to LED to increase power efficiency, make the store more environmentally friendly, while also delivering better lighting throughout, which is important when it comes to how the store is presented inside as well,” Ray said. Store history It was in 1986 that Ray and his brother Dennis established their original 100 square metre, hardware store with just four staff on-board. “The original store was tiny but we did not need a lot of staff because back in those days we only traded five and a half days a week. Our current store is around 12,000 square metres and trades 7am to 7pm, seven days a week. We can have up to 140 staff running the store at times, so it has all changed substantially since our first store 36 years ago,” Ray said. “We knew we needed to build a bigger store because RETAIL FOCUS Table and chairs from the café are placed strategically throughout the garden centre so customers can visualise how products will look within their own home. The store’s new café was designed specifically so customers could enjoy their food while looking at the stunning new garden centre. JUNE '22 | HARDWAREJOURNAL.COM.AU 11

globally retail was trending towards bigger and better stores. It was only a matter of time before the trend towards big box stores and extended hours came to New Zealand as well.” “These days a smaller hardware store would never have enough room to hold all the stock needed to satisfy today’s customer, which is why we moved to a bigger store which also incorporates a drive-through area for the trade customers. Even though our current store is ten times bigger than the original store, even today we are finding it is not big enough.” “It just makes sense to expand when you see what other stores are doing around the world and the demands on your business day-to-day just keep on increasing. We needed to evolve with our customer’s needs and also keep up with our competition because we have plenty of other home improvement stores in our local area,” he said. Local competition ramps up Mitre 10 MEGA Mt Wellington not only has a Bunnings store less than one kilometre away and a PlaceMakers about 500 metres away, but also several smaller trade stores in the area including plumbing, flooring and lighting specialists as well. “A new garden centre is also opening up just next door this winter, but competition is not always a bad thing. We were the only home improvement store here 12 years ago but people soon realise just how accessible this area is and it is their goal to park beside us and share some of our success,” Ray said. With the store now servicing 75 per cent retail and 25 per cent trade, Ray says although the store is a little bit constricted by space, the team easily conducts business by utilising the drivethrough area available for local trade and developing off-site solutions. “For now, we will make sure that we optimise our retail business with the recent revamp and look to grow our trade and on-line shopping capability into the future,” Ray said. RETAIL FOCUS 12 HARDWAREJOURNAL.COM.AU | JUNE '22

Our eCommonSense solution offers much more than just a website. With eCommonSense you’re getting an entire eCommerce solution team with all the experience needed to take a project through from concept to launch. Offering easy to navigate dashboards to view orders, invoices and balances, eCommonSense has been designed to streamline account management for both trade and retail customers. AUS: 1300 130 241 | NZ: 0800 441 186 | How business gets done. Contact us today to learn how eCommonSense can help you build a comprehensive web store! eCommonSense seamlessly integrates with your existing ERP system, ensuring website pricing and inventory is accurate, while also removing the need to rekey information. As customers can review their account information, make payments, submit quotes, and schedule deliveries online, eCommonSense can help build brand loyalty. Unified product information helps to keep your website up-to-date and organised. By recommending related products and offering a project material calculator and branded quote builder, eCommonSense can help drive revenue across your business.

Business: Rudd Industrial Operations Manager: Darren Read Location: Midvale & Welshpool, WA Buying Group: Industrial & Tool Traders (ITT) Rudd Industrial - WA’s ‘go-to’ for industrial supplies Rudd Industrial is unlike most independents in that it has developed into an expansive, ‘go-to’ B2B supplier servicing businesses throughout the Western Australia engineering and mining sectors, with the majority of its sales channelled through its extensive Welshpool warehouse. While the business was built largely as a fastener supplier since the early 1980s, today its two stores deliver product categories covering the complete complement of engineering, manufacturing, mining and transport entities. Additionally, its two separate showrooms ensure there is plenty of space for general public retail sales as well. It was Ian Rudd who initially established the Midvale branch on Farrall Road in 1984. Today these premises remain a convenient location for local businesses as well as those travelling from agricultural regions throughout the Western Australian Wheatbelt. A second store was then opened in Welshpool 1997 to service the increasing demand from industrial businesses in the area, before it moved to a larger purpose-built premises on Orrong Road in 2016. The business was taken over by new owners, Howard Richardson and Brett Mitchell in 2005. Both Howard and Brett had extensive backgrounds working with Wesfarmers within the rural sector and were keen to use their experience to modernise the business by introducing new management systems, state-of-the-art POS, inventory management and warehousing systems. Darren Read and Justin Marendoli-Murray (Chief Financial Officer) joined the partnership in 2013, which was also around the time that the business began to focus primarily on industrial products and consumables and the business name was simplified to Rudd Industrial. Expansive business Rudd Industrial has come a long way since its humble beginnings and now services the entire Perth metro area, with three sales representatives on the road full time. Darren says the Rudd business is particularly unique because there is no other business with such a comprehensive offering within the independent hardware space. “Rudd’s offer varies from many other independent stores because we present a specialised fastener range, as well as premium safety products, extensive abrasive range, drilling, tapping, lifting and rigging, tooling as well as general consumables. We stock only premium industrial trade quality products and our primary competitors are national retailers,” he said. “We provide the entire range of specialists’ products across an expansive range of categories because we need to fulfill the needs of a diverse range of customers. Our customer base includes engineering and manufacturing companies who source a lot of fasteners and abrasives exclusively from us. These companies could range from having a dozen staff to several hundred staff. We also deal with labour-hire companies that may conduct shutdowns on mines and we often put tooling for containers together for these customers that they can take to the site they are working on.” “There are plenty of basic engineering companies that come to us as well as people who Rudd Industrial's Midvale branch.

service transport who may build or modify truck trailers. We also supply specially manufactured studs and bolts. We have a couple of different companies that manufacture unique fasteners for us for those with special needs,” Darren said. While the Midvale store is designed with a user-friendly setup so owneroperator customers with smaller workshops of around 30 staff can visit the store and self-serve, Darren says the Welshpool store focuses more on the larger customers who may have more specialised requests when it comes to supply. “Welshpool customers generally come from larger companies where a company representative comes to us to source all the products they might need for some time. Whilst many collect pre-ordered goods, customers can still walk around the store and shop traditionally if they choose.” Considering the scale of Rudd Industrial’s customer base, one would think it would be difficult to source supply, however the business focuses on using local suppliers wherever possible particularly those with a network and warehouse in Western Australia. “We are not restricted to an individual supply source for any given product which gives us flexibility and an advantage over national supplier competitors. We use our vast industry knowledge to source a range of products for our clients. We maintain competitive pricing paired with a premium level of service, which is why we continue to achieve such strong growth,” Darren said. Midvale upgrade After outgrowing its previous premises, Rudd Industrial moved its Kewdale Road business to a purpose-built store on Orrong Road in 2016. Throughout 2020 and 2021, the Midvale branch also underwent an extensive transformation with an internal relay and a facelift creating a modern fresh look throughout. Plans are now in place for the Welshpool store to also undergo an upgrade next year. “The extensive Midvale branch upgrade was completed last year and included all-new fittings, a total new store relay and new counter setup with all products re-merchandised within the 820 square metre store. The store’s entire exterior signage was modernised as well,” he said. “The larger Welshpool store was purpose-built six years ago and now sits at 600 square metres of showroom attached to a 1,000 square metre warehouse. Due to significant growth over the past three years the team is in the process of relaying the warehouse to ensure the business continues to operate smoothly,” Darren said. Working alongside HBT Since joining HBT’s Industrial & Tool Traders (ITT) division in 2014, Darren says the group has played an important role in the development of Rudd Industrial, particularly because ITT saves the company time and money when it comes to sourcing the right supplier for his customer base. “The Rudd Industrial team pride themselves on being a ‘complete supplier’ and the HBT network plays a significant role in achieving this by guaranteeing we have access to a broad scope of suppliers across every category. The supplier deals ensure we can provide competitive pricing from a larger range of suppliers than is possible as an individual nonmember store.” “Having the HBT group take care of some of the negotiations across a large range of general suppliers reduces the workload of management allowing us to focus on our business. What HBT does with suppliers is a huge asset to our business. It reduces our workload saving us a significant amount of time by negotiating with suppliers and arranging the deals. I also find the HBT conferences of benefit and always come back re-energised with new ideas and potential products and suppliers to expand into our range,” Darren said. For now, the Rudd Industrial team is looking forward to the next few years and is optimistic about enjoying continuing growth throughout this sector. “I believe there are many potential avenues for expansion in the years to come, both through retail and also through the ever-increasing reach of our expanding sales team,” Darren said. INDUSTRIAL FOCUS The Rudd Industrial team at the busy Welshpool store. JUNE '22 | HARDWAREJOURNAL.COM.AU 15

On the 14th of September 1883, twenty-one timber merchants gathered to attend the inaugural meeting of the Timber Merchants Association (TMA) in Melbourne. Industry members initially established TMA so that they could work together as a strong network and action improvements within their workplaces. TMA continues to support members 130 years on Not long after, in 1888, TMA began its involvement in union negotiations. Incredibly, some of the first issues to be addressed by TMA included the rising cost of cartage rates, along with the usual pricing and credit issues that are no different to the ongoing issues merchants face today. In 2017, just over 134 years on, members voted to approve the integration of TMA with MGA Independent Retailers, an existing industry group that had developed a proud and long connection to the grocery industry. Both TMA and MGA’s board of directors, all comprising of independent business operators, recognised that the two organisations were closely aligned to the values of exclusively representing, supporting, and protecting family enterprises and privately-owned businesses. The integration of both organisations resulted in support service synergies, savings and resources that have now benefitted TMA members for several years. Delivering law and advocacy Today MGA TMA provides members with a wide-ranging suite of back-ofhouse support services. Two primary areas of support that are increasingly in high demand from members include employment law advice and advocacy services. MGA TMA’s dedicated employment law team works tirelessly so its members can continually operate their businesses safely and efficiently. The legal team consistently provides legal representation in many areas including unfair dismissals, discrimination and wage claims and transfer of business – including transfer management and staff transition. Health and safety guidance is also available for employers, interpretation and explanation of award terms, conditions, and wage rates, drafting agreements, as well as managing redundancy to ensure legal obligations are met and employee entitlements are identified. Human resource services are offered to members and include interview guidance for the recruitment process, supplying members with contracts to cover terms and conditions of employment and supporting members through staff absenteeism. Human resources also ensures members know how to manage their workplace performance and conduct, including bullying and sexual harassment. Members are given access to workplace policy documents and advice on handling disciplinary action and the legal process to terminate an employee, as part of the association’s human resources service. While all members 16 HARDWAREJOURNAL.COM.AU | JUNE '22

do have unlimited telephone advice on all these matters, some services may incur an additional cost if a member needs to engage in legal representation. Working alongside the FWC MGA TMA works closely with the Fair Work Commission (FWC) and is alerted when issues arise that may affect its members so they may act accordingly. The MGA TMA’s lawyers also prepare a submission on behalf of its members for the commission when the Annual Wage Review (AW) is released each year. “Hours are spent perfecting our submission where a multitude of factors are taken into consideration before advocating for our members. We are currently awaiting the outcome of this year’s AWR. In February we made a submission to the FWC on the proposed 10 days of family and domestic violence leave. After consultation with members, our position was formulated and submitted. The ruling has recently been handed down and we have communicated this to our membership,” an MGA TMA spokesperson said. The team of employees at MGA TMA are dedicated to keeping its members updated with issues that may affect their businesses on a daily basis by also delivering a free webinar series on legal topics to enhance members’ knowledge and understanding. David Woodman of Mitre 10 Mega Beenleigh, Queensland has been a member of the association for over 10 years and said he has relied on MGA TMA’s advice and support to assist with a variety of issues. “They are always prompt with our inquiries and we have real confidence in the advice they provide. We often utilise them for award interpretation to make sure that we are doing the right thing by our employees,” Mr Woodman said. “MGA TMA has a great understanding of small business and is always quick to advocate on behalf of their members. You cannot put a price on the value of their lobbying efforts. A lot of organisations do not get involved, but this is not the case with MGA TMA.” “We receive regular communications from the team which are always good quality and keep us up to date with the latest information. By far this is not the most important point, but we find our membership to be very cost effective for the price we pay and the support we receive in return. We are really appreciative of the work that the MGA TMA team does on our behalf,” he said. Government advocate On behalf of its timber and hardware members, the MGA TMA continues to advocate at all levels of government on industry issues and matters of concern including inadequate timber supply, promotion of timber, workplace relations and employment law. “COVID shutdowns across the country caused issues for our members such as recognising which workers could be on-site, impacts to deliveries, and vaccination checks. MGA TMA worked with various state governments to ensure our industry was classed as ‘essential’ and assisted another industry group with our advocacy efforts to ensure their workers were also deemed ‘essential’ and continue to operate for their clients,” the MGA TMA spokesperson said. One example of advocacy came about when the MGA TMA was alerted that strike actions at the wharves by Maritime Union of Australia members were causing further supply issues to members and end customers. “MGA TMA approached a number of state and federal members of parliament outlining how the strike action was adding to the timber supply issues facing the country. Government members responded to our calls for action and helped to alleviate the issue. Senator Michaelia Cash advised us that the Government had been closely monitoring developments on the waterfront and would have intervened in waterfront disputes to ensure that the supply chain was protected,” the spokesperson said. For now, MGA TMA has a dedicated and supportive team that is always ready and available to assist members and those who may be interested in joining the association. To learn more or enquire about becoming a member contact the MGA TMA via phone: (03) 9824 4111 or email: timberandhardware@mga.asn.au. BEHIND THE COUNTER

US NEWS Ace Hardware Corporation has reported record revenues of $2.2 billion in the March first-quarter, which is an increase of $181.8 million or 8.9 per cent on top of last year’s increase of 42 per cent. The Ace Hardware group also reported a net income of $119.8 million for the first quarter of 2022, which is an increase of $14.4 million on top of last year’s increase of 191.2 per cent. However, this net income increase includes a $21.4 million gain on the sale of the former Gainesville, Georgia retail support. Excluding this gain, net income for the quarter was $98.4 million, a decrease of $7 million from the first quarter of last year. Ace Hardware President and Chief Executive Officer John Venhuizen said the retail giant’s first quarter increases in revenue and income brings its twoyear stacked growth to nearly 51 per cent and 205 per cent respectively. “Revenue growth from the 54 new stores we added in the first quarter was real and incremental. The remainder of the first quarter revenue growth, however, was not as it was the result of ongoing inflation.” Approximately 3,500 Ace retailers who share daily retail sales data reported a 1.4 per cent increase in US retail samestore-sales during the first quarter of 2022. Estimated retail price inflation of 9.5 per cent also helped drive a 10 per cent increase in average tickets, however same-store transactions were down 7.8 per cent. Total wholesale revenues sat at $2.1 billion, an increase of $187.9 million, or 10.1 per cent when compared with the same period last year. Ace Hardware also reported increases across most departments with outdoor power equipment, lawn and garden and plumbing showing the largest gains. Fifty new domestic stores were welcomed to the Ace Hardware group in the first quarter, while 11 stores were cancelled taking the company’s total domestic store count to 4,790 at the end of March. This is an increase of 110 stores from the first quarter of 2021. The Home Depot and Lowes recently released their first-quarter results, with the two major hardware groups reporting mixed results. The first quarter of 2022 saw bumper sales for The Home Depot, which reported $38.9 billion in sales for the first quarter of 2022, an increase of $1.4 billion or 3.8 per cent from the same time period in 2021. Comparable sales increased 2.2 per cent while comparable sales in the US were also up 1.7 per cent with the company reporting net earnings of $4.2 billion, up from $4.1 billion in 2021. The Home Depot also reported diluted earnings per share (EPS) of $4.09, which is a jump of six per cent from the first quarter of 2021. The Home Depot Chief Executive Officer and President Ted Decker said the group has now delivered the highest first-quarter sales in company history, according to a recent Hardware Retailing report. “The solid performance in the quarter is even more impressive as we were comparing against last year’s historic growth and faced a slower start to spring this year. These results are a direct reflection of our associates’ continued ability to effectively navigate a challenging and dynamic environment. I would like to thank them and our many partners for their hard work and dedication to our customers,” Mr Decker said in the report. Lowe’s, however, has reported a different scenario to Home Depot, with its net earnings down slightly at $23.7 billion when compared with $24.4 billion in earnings from the first quarter of 2021. Diluted earnings per share were $3.51 when compared with $3.21 in quarter one 2021, while comparable sales were down four per cent. However, pro customer sales reportedly increased 20 per cent. Lowe’s Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Marvin R. Ellison said Lowe’s sales this quarter were in line with expectations, “excluding our outdoor seasonal categories that were impacted by unseasonably cold temperatures in April.” “Because 75 per cent of our customer base is DIY, our quarter one sales were disproportionately impacted by the cooler spring temperatures. Now that spring has finally arrived we are pleased with the improved sales trends we are seeing in May,” he said. “This quarter we delivered over 65 basis points of operating margin improvement driven by our Total Home strategy and the execution of our Perpetual Productivity Improvement or PPI initiatives. Despite some increased uncertainty in the macro-environment we remain confident in the outlook for the home improvement market and our ability to deliver operating margin expansion in 2022,” Mr Ellison said. Record first quarter for Ace Hardware The Home Depot and Lowes report mixed results 18 HARDWAREJOURNAL.COM.AU | JUNE '22

A Milwaukee high-rise building, known as ‘The Ascent’, is expected to be the world’s tallest mass timber building, a recent Fast Company report has found. With its timber sourced from rapidgrowth forests in Austria, the 25-story, $125 million luxury high-rise inMilwaukee, Wisconsin, is said to sequester enough CO2 [carbon dioxide] which is the equivalent of taking 2,400 cars off the road for a year, a Korb and Associates spokesperson revealed in the report. The US now has over 1,300 masstimber buildings constructed or in the works with this figure expected to grow as more cities adapt building codes so they can use timber to reduce building-related emissions, the report said. Columns, beams and slats are typically created using compressed layers of wood - among other components, when constructing the mass-timber buildings, with layers bound by glue to create a steel-like piece of wood known as crosslaminated timber (CLT). While the use of timber to construct large buildings was popular in the 19th century, fire rating concerns saw the use of wood dissipate. However the move to steel constructed buildings accounted for 39 per cent of global CO2 emissions (for both energy use and construction), according to the International Energy Agency. Professor for Architecture at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, John Fernández said in the report that unlike cement and steel, the wood in CLT can be biodegradable or repurposed depending on the particular glues and adhesives used. Professor Fernández also pointed out that CLT buildings offer better insulation and indoor air quality than steel and cement buildings, as many feature exposed wood walls that do not need paint or additional finishing. He says benefits of mass timber still outweigh those costs - assuming the timber is sourced responsibly. “The market will want to source wood from wherever, but it is important that we protect our native forests. This can be a win-win for everyone if it is done right and done responsibly.” Professor Fernández said in the report. While costs of constructing with timber, compared with steel and concrete vary, studies indicate wood construction is still pricier. A Journal of Building Engineering study estimated that the cost of timber building is about six per cent higher than the modelled concrete building. Professor Fernández said in the report that American building codes lag behind those of Northern Europe where building with mass timber has been common for two decades, with New York City updating building codes to allow for mass timber in buildings up to 85 feet (about six stories) just last year. The expectation is that developers and insurers will use CLTmore once they become more familiar with the positives of using timber and that CLT buildings have shown to be fire-resistant, the report said. “Once contractors become experts in putting up large mass timber buildings and the market showcases them, there could be a major upswing in demand,” Professor Fernandez said in the report. Timber construction boom tipped for the US Image source: www.cdsmith.com

NZ NEWS JOLT EV charging network for Mitre 10 Australian-based global electric vehicle charging company JOLT will begin rolling out a network of fast electric vehicle (EV) chargers across New Zealand this July, with the first EV fast chargers to be installed at Mitre 10 NZ stores and retail locations in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch. JOLT’s national partnership with Mitre 10 will see the first charger sites go live in July with plans for hundreds of chargers to be rolled out over the next few years. EV drivers will have access to seven kilowatts of free charging per day at JOLT fast chargers, providing about 40 to 50 kilometres of range depending on the type of vehicle. This model of JOLT’s charging service helps solve the major barriers to the uptake of EVs which are known to include access to charging, cost and range anxiety. Mitre 10 Chief Legal and Property Officer Grant Fraser said that if Mitre 10 was to make a real and sustainable impact, both public and private sector partners needed to collaborate more to find solutions. “The Mitre 10 co-operative is proud to be contributing to New Zealand’s efforts to reduce carbon emissions through this partnership with JOLT. Thirty-nine of Mitre 10 New Zealand’s 84 locally owned stores will have JOLT charging stations installed over time.” “Mitre 10 customers will be able to plug in their EVs for a free top-up while they are doing their shopping. Providing electric vehicle charging stations is also another way we can continue to enhance our customers’ shopping experience with us,” Mr Fraser said. JOLT Chief Executive Officer and Founder, Doug McNamee, said he was excited to partner with Mitre 10 to contribute to New Zealand’s commitment to carbon emission reduction goals and meet the growing need for EV in New Zealand. “JOLT is investing in New Zealand as there is strong momentumwithin the market to change to an EV. Through our partnerships with the leading retail brands and the local governments in New Zealand, we want to create a large and leading EV charging network that provides the best charging experience for all EV drivers in New Zealand,” Mr McNamee said. JOLT New Zealand Country Manager, Chris Monaghan, said that JOLT would invest and develop an urban focused EV fast-charging network that will align with local and central government climate emissions targets and help increase the uptake of EV’s in New Zealand. Mitre 10 Chief Legal and Property Officer Grant Fraser said 39 Mitre 10 stores will install JOLT charging stations.

Bunnings New Zealand recently opened its third trade centre this year, located in the Tauranga suburb of Tauriko. With recent openings also in Invercargill and Pukekohe, Tauriko is the ninth Bunnings Trade Centre to be opened in New Zealand. Bunnings has invested $7 million into the new store, replacing the former Te Puke site, a New Zealand Hardware Journal report has found. The new Tauriko store features a trade drive-through and is fully undercover spanning 4,000 square metres. There is a special orders desk in-store, as well as many services for the trade customer, including delivery direct to site, installation and access to a Bunnings Trade Account Manager. The store is headed up by Store Manager Joe Baker who brings 30 plus years of trade supply experience with him and says the team is very excited to welcome tradies to the new site. “We are looking forward to better servicing trade customers in the local area with a team of experts across a range of customer services roles. We have been servicing trade customers from the Te Puke site for a long time, so it will be great to build on the great relationships we have formed and provide them a stronger commercial offer that better suits their needs,” Mr Baker said in the report. The new Bunnings Tauriko Trade Centre is Situated on Taurikura Drive, Tauriko. The volume of building activity in New Zealand rose 3.2 per cent in the March quarter, compared with the December 2021 quarter, a recent Stats NZ report has found, with residential building activity rising 3.5 per cent while non-residential building activity rose 2.7 per cent in the same period. Stats New Zealand Construction Statistics Manager Michael Heslop said, “Residential building activity has risen over the past two years, except in quarters impacted by Alert Level Four lockdowns. This reflects a large number of consented new homes in the construction pipeline.” Factories, education buildings and health facilities were substantial drivers in the increasing value of non-residential building activity, according to Stats New Zealand, which was 11 per cent higher in the year ended March 2022 than in the same period last year. This partly reflects a 10 per cent increase in non-residential building costs over the same period. According to the report, building types with the largest increases in value included factories and industrial buildings, up 48 per cent to $1.3 billion, education buildings, up 23 per cent to $1.6 billion, as well as hospitals, nursing homes, and health buildings, up 29 per cent to $884 million. Bunnings third new trade centre for 2022 Building activity grows in March quarter “We are selecting charger locations based on where it is most convenient for EV drivers within the urban areas so we do not disrupt their routine. Drivers pull up, plug in and are on their way in 20 minutes, receiving up to seven kilowatts free per day, saving over $1000 a year by charging with JOLT,” he said. “With fast DC EV charging, drivers can enjoy the retail facilities of our partners and then go about their day. An EV driver can charge for free every day which takes about 20 to 25 minutes or choose to charge over the free charge at the lowest charge rates in New Zealand.” “We are delighted to launch with such an iconic brand like Mitre 10. Starting with Mitre 10 and rolling out the service on such a prominent network of stores in New Zealand, you will quickly see the JOLT network grow even more with new partners coming onboard as we continue to grow throughout New Zealand. It is a really exciting time to be making a positive impact on New Zealand's carbon emissions goals now and into the future,” Mr Monaghan, said. JOLT is currently working with Mitre 10 on the installation of its first chargers in Auckland. JOLT’s EV Charger - Port Road, Adelaide in South Australia. JUNE '22 | HARDWAREJOURNAL.COM.AU 21

TIMBER UPDATE Timberlink unveils new technology at Bell Bay $5.4 million expansion for Timberlink Federal Member for Bass, Bridget Archer recently visited Timberlink’s manufacturing facility at Bell Bay for the unveiling of a new world-class GreenMill Vision Scanning System. The $5.5 million co-investment for the upgrade and modernisation of Tasmania’s largest softwood timber manufacturing plant was supported by $3.5 million from the Federal Government’s Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Cities and Regional Development Community Development Grants Program. The new Vision Scanning System is designed to optimise every piece of timber and maximise the production of outdoor treated timber for the construction of decks and pergolas. The Bell Bay Softwood Mill currently employs 200 people and provides a value-add of $150 million to the George Town economy, Timberlink’s Executive General Manager for Sales, Marketing and Corporate Affairs, David Oliver said at the unveiling. “The upgrade will increase the volume of high-grade timber sourced from renewable pine plantations and create a workplace of the future, with high tech machinery improving accuracy, safety, and job security.” “Timberlink’s manufacturing operations are environmentally sustainable, provide vital local jobs and economic expenditure, and produce timber locally for use in the housing and construction industry in Tasmania and throughout Australia,” Mr Oliver said. Minister Archer also said that growing manufacturing capability and securing jobs in the region was all part of her plan for northern Tasmania. “When you have a strong economy and sound economic management, you can make investments to grow our economy and build a stronger future for the community.” “I was a strong advocate for this investment and it is great to join with Timberlink to celebrate the delivery of a word-class facility and the jobs it has secured for northern Tasmania,” Minister Archer said. This investment supports a major upgrade recently announced by Timberlink of a $63 million investment to increase timber manufacturing in Tasmania by 50 per cent by 2025, and also increase Australia’s sovereign capacity to manufacture timber and build Australian homes. Timberlink will soon expand its growing mill even further while also cutting down the need to transport timber off-site for treatment in a major $5.4 million project. Timberlink has revealed plans to open an onsite Light Organic Solvent Preservative timber treatment plant in January 2023, which will be developed alongside a $63 million project already underway in Tarpeena. “The co-location of a NeXTimber Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) and Glue Laminated Timber (GLT) Plant on the same site makes this facility unique in Australia,” a spokesperson said in a recent Advertiser report. Recent development plans that were submitted to PlanSA said that the mill is currently heavily reliant on off-site timber treatment. “Timberlink does not currently treat timber on the Tarpeena site and therefore trucks collect the timber to be taken off-site for treatment, with some treated timber returning to the Tarpeena site. The proposed timber treatment facility will replace the off-site treatment with a facility constructed in the north-eastern corner of the site,” the plans read. Work has already begun on the first combined Cross Laminated Timber and Glue Laminated Timber manufacturing plant at the site, which is set to be completed by September next year. The mill currently employs roughly 200 people and will add 27 full-time Timberlink unveils world-class Green Mill Vision Scanning System at Bell Bay. Timberlink’s Site Manufacturing Manager Scott Freeman (left) and Timberlink’s EGM Sales, Marketing and Corporate Affairs David Oliver (right), with Minister Bridget Archer (centre) at Bell Bay.

JUNE '22 | HARDWAREJOURNAL.COM.AU 23 Australia’s forest industries welcome the new Albanese Government Ministry’s mandate to turbocharge the nation’s One Billion Trees goal to tackle climate change and secure Australia’s future timber and fibre needs. Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA) Chief Executive Officer, Ross Hampton, said Australia’s renewable forest industries looked forward to working with the Albanese Government to implement an ambitious forestry policy agenda Labor took to the election to deliver more than $300 million in new investment. “The Albanese Government was elected with a mandate to turbocharge Australia’s goal to plant one billion timber plantation trees by 2030 in order to boost domestic timber supply and harness the climate change mitigation opportunities our industries offer,” Mr Hampton said. “AFPA congratulates the newMinister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Senator MurrayWatt, who has been a passionate advocate for regional Australia and primary industries in his previous role of ShadowMinister for Northern Australia, and we look forward to working withMinister Watt on implementing these important initiatives,” he said. During the election campaign, Federal Labor matched the Coalition’s pledge to deliver: • $ 100 million for a National Institute for Forest Products Innovation (NIFPI) to be headquartered in Launceston. • $ 86 million in grants to support the establishment costs of new timber plantations. • $ 112.9 million in innovation grants for timber processors to make the most of existing resources and create new manufacturing jobs. On top of this, Labor also committed $10 million for skills and training programs within the forest sector, and backed native forestry jobs with a commitment to no more forest lock-ups, Mr Hampton pointed out. “We look forward to working with the Albanese Government to realise the full potential of Australia’s renewable forest industries. We would also like to thank the former ShadowMinister for Agriculture, Julie Collins, for her leadership in the portfolio and we are pleased that she will retain a key interest in the timber and forestry sector in her new role of Housing Minister,” Mr Hampton concluded. To coincide with Australian Made Week, which ran from June 6-12, Responsible Wood has released new brand guidelines and a Logo Use Toolkit in an effort to encourage consumers to seek out Responsible Wood-certified products more often. The brand manual and Logo Use Toolkit may be used by certificate holders to demonstrate the origin of their products. The new BrandManual includes a new supporting statement, ‘Sustainably Grown, AustralianMade’, which can be used by certificate holders as a graphic stamp or a pre-set type text. Responsible Wood stated that it is imperative that these are used with the primary trademark and one trademark variant as seen in the Responsible Wood BrandManual. Responsible Wood Marketing and Communication Officer Jason Ross said, “Responsible Wood certification is used right across the Australian forest products value chain and demonstrates to customers and buyers that timber and paper-based products are grown in sustainably-managed forests and manufactured, retailed and sold through Australian businesses. “The campaign is asking its licensees and partners to get involved in supporting and celebrating the thousands of local makers and growers around the country,” he said. Responsible Wood is not only a long-term supporter of the Australian Made Campaign but also custodian of the Australian standards for Sustainable Forest Management (AS/NZS 4708) and Chain of Custody for Forest Products (AS 4707). AFPA welcomes mandate to boost timber supply Responsible Wood releases new brand guidelines employees, with the “potential to increase to 50” jobs as the CLT and GLT plant “begins to reach capacity”, according to the report. An additional three full-time jobs will be created on completion of the new treatment plant. According to the development plans, the treatment plant would initially run on one shift per day but has the capacity to run up to 24 hours per day when required. “The LOSP timber treatment plant is expected to process 25,000m³ of timber per year and is timber that is currently sawn on site,” the report said.

RkJQdWJsaXNoZXIy ODA2MDI=