AUSTRALIAN HARDWARE JOURNAL

www.hardwarejournal.com.au Vol.138 No.9 Sep 2023 Print Post Approved PP100007331 SINCE 1886

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4 HARDWAREJOURNAL.COM.AU | SEPTEMBER '23 DEPARTMENTS Newsmakers Features 5 Viewpoint 6 Retail Focus 10 Behind the Counter 12 US News 14 NZ News 16 Timber Update 43 News 44 What’s New 18 G arden & Outdoor Living With a dry and hot summer forecast, discover the best ways to help your customers prepare their gardens and lawns for the extreme weather ahead. 24 HBT conference coverage HBT's recent national conference had a firm focus on building business for true independents. 40 P aint Place conference coverage Held at Sea World on the Gold Coast, it was the first conference to be held since Central Purchasing Services (CPS) acquired the group last year. 12 The Home Depot launches new homeowners hub. 14 New Mitre 10 MEGA Silverdale is a nod to the future. 42 Bunnings reports 2023 fiscal year results. About the Cover Fiddes Australia is proud to provide tradesmen and DIYers alike with plenty of choice in creating and maintaining a finish to timber, concrete, cork and stone. Perfected for more than 100 years and four generations, Fiddes coatings and finishes are synonymous with durability and quality. Quality � QUALI T Y SI NCE 1 800 � COATINGS & CARE www.hardwarejournal.com.au Vol.138 No.9 Sep 2023 Print Post Approved PP100007331 SINCE 1886 40 6 18 24

CAB Audited Peach Media & Publishing 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 Peach Media & Publishing 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 Peach Media & Publishing 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 Peach Media & Publishing A.B.N. 74 667 374 585 11 Rushdale Street, Knoxfield Victoria 3180 Phone: (03) 9544 2233 Editor: Christine Bannister Phone: (03) 9544 2233 Email: christine@glenv.com.au Journalists: E mily Morrison John Power Online Communications & Production: Justin Carroll Email: justin@glenv.com.au ADVERTISING Alastair Bryers Email: alastair.bryers@glenv.com.au Phone: (03) 9544 2233 Mobile: 0498 555 085 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 The AHJ team recently had the pleasure of joining 900 HBT members, suppliers and support staff at the HBT National Buying Group’s annual conference, which was held in sunny Cairns. When attending HBT’s conferences, I always have a resounding feeling that I am amongst an incredibly close and supportive family network and the comradery of the HBT group never ceases to amaze me. While there is always an abundance of information and advice to take on board, particularly during Chief Executive Officer Greg Benstead’s opening address, and throughout the guest speaker presentations and workshops, I also noticed that HBT members use these events to constantly communicate and network together. Members utilise the conference to feed off each other and discuss what has been successful and not so successful for stores in the past 12 months. This is precisely why the AHJ team firmly believes that the value of in-person conferences always greatly surpasses that of online events that have been run throughout various buying groups in the past. This year’s HBT conference had a firm focus on interaction, particularly as one business session was entirely based around the HBT team taking to the stage, including Mr Benstead, HBT General Manager of Member Service Mike LoRicco and HBT General Manager of Buying Jody Vella, to answer questions or discuss any issues either directly from the audience or through questions raised via the interactive conference app. On the final day of the workshops, HBT members again joined together to not only watch interactive videos of HBT members who had either undertaken a new store or completed substantial changes to their store, but were also given the opportunity to speak to innovative members as they took to the stage for a ‘Q & A’ session after each video presentation. It was the perfect environment to not only congratulate those who had stepped out of their comfort zone to make substantial changes to their business, but also take the opportunity to ask those members how they went about the changes and seek advice on how to implement successful changes to their own business. The trade show was also a success, particularly after the show was split in two formats: one show focused on suppliers who offer services and the other show featured suppliers of goods and products. After many years of attending conferences, it really is so very rare to hear every single supplier I spoke with describe the trade shows as not just good but as an amazing and fruitful experience. Members were equally positive about the deals offered by these strategically selected suppliers at the trade show. In a time when the industry faces challenges, it was encouraging to witness such positivity from both members and suppliers. In fact, some of the industrial suppliers indicated that they have yet to observe any signs of the industry slowing down. The HBT team, members and suppliers should be congratulated for the way they not only support each other but step up as individual businesses to ensure the success of their stores now, and for many years to come. See HBT’s full conference coverage on page 24 of this edition. Coming up… The October edition of AHJ will feature the popular Industrial & Trade Tools feature, Paint & Accessories and Outdoor Power Equipment features. To participate in any of the above features contact Harry Rabiee: harry@glenv.com.au Christine Bannister - Editor

6 HARDWAREJOURNAL.COM.AU | SEPTEMBER '23 K & K Steel – from dingy industrial to modern retail Located in the outer Eastern suburbs of Melbourne, K & K Steel has a long history of delivering a wide-ranging steel and retail offer since 1981. Recently the business undertook a significant transformation, from a dingy industrial store to a modern retail offer after undergoing an extensive refurbishment. Business: K & K Steel Pty. Ltd. Owners: Roger Cram, Bill and Jane Heyblom Location: Hastings, Victoria Buying Group: HBT - National Buying Group Initially joining the business in 2002 as a Sales and Purchasing Manager, Bill Heyblom worked at the store for over 18 years before the opportunity arose to become part-owner of the business in 2018, along with his wife Jane and business partner Roger Cram. As soon as the trio took on the business it did not take long before the three decided to completely revamp the front sales area of the store and transform the business, from what Bill describes as, “dingy industrial to modern retail.” “We were dealing with the pandemic not long after taking over the business so we spent the first year and a half basically setting up a new computer system in-store. The previous owner ran the store manually, so we had to set up a new system before we made any structural changes. We then decided to make some big changes after Roger attended HBT’s national conference post-COVID, where he learned a lot about the importance of upgrading a retail business on a regular basis,” Bill said. “One of the most important things pointed out during the conference was that if a business looks the same as it did two years ago, we were probably not moving forward the way we should be. It was then that we decided to make some big changes. I thought ‘you beauty’ I have wanted to do this for the last 10 years but the previous owner was not quite as inclined.” “We then went on to basically gutting the shop and rebuilding it again, including relocating everything and building all of the new shelving ourselves. To complete the transformation we had to change a lot of the warehouse around as well to allow us to remodel the front of the store. It required considerable changes in both our warehouse area – which is our steel store – and the shop front area as well,” Bill said. Extensive renovation Undertaking the renovation from June to September last year, Roger said he and Bill would often have to work late into the night renovating L-R - K & K Steel owners Bill and Roger alongside Violet, Chris, part-owner Jane and Robbie.

SEPTEMBER '23 | HARDWAREJOURNAL.COM.AU 7 RETAIL FOCUS the store, particularly after making the decision to continue trading throughout the transformation. “We worked on the shop transformation every night, as well as four hours in an afternoon every Saturday and on a Sunday. We basically got here at seven o’clock each morning and we did not get home until after six each night,” Bill said. Being a steel retailer, it made sense for Bill and Roger to save money by making all of the shelving themselves, rather than purchasing it directly. They conveniently already had all the equipment needed to custom make the new shelves, which included over 140 lineal metres of shelving. “When designing the new shelving we custom-made stands for the front of the store that are on wheels. This was so that we had a mix of static and dynamic displays throughout the store. The displays can be shuffled around as much as they are needed and we now have the ability to highlight different products for a particular time frame as well.” “Now each day we come in at seven o’clock in the morning and look at what we need to change around. We can easily move a display from one side of the store to the other and put it in the hot spot and things start selling. The new shelving allows us to reshuffle the whole shop around in around half an hour,” Bill said. While the store has static shelving on the walls that house major suppliers, all other shelving is located in aisles and on the trolleys which allows the team to reconfigure the shop fairly easily. Bill says the major transformation has not only led to a growth in sales, but also an increase in new customers heading to the store as well. “Even though so many retailers are seeing their sales slowing as the economy begins to slow as well, we are seeing more people come through the store which is great. Generally, consumers are not spending as much as they were preCOVID and pre-rate rises. This is why it is hard to say that we might have a 15 per cent increase, or 10 per cent increase in sales because there are just too many variables to this sales increase and for now, we just do not know.” “In saying this there are more people coming in through the front of the shop. One of the interesting things is we are starting to see more women come into the shop as well. Previously it was a male-dominated environment but now we are actually seeing so many more female customers come in which is great,” Bill said. Comprehensive retail offer While K & K Steel’s customer base is primarily 60 per cent DIY to 40 per cent trade, Roger said that trade customers still spend more in-store which sees the spend percentage sit equally between trade and retail. “Our store does have quite a substantial offer in steel for the building trade. The business is very similar to most hardware stores with a timber trade area at the rear of the store. The only difference to our store is that we offer steel over timber, which is why we are a little bit different to a typical hardware store,” he said. “So while larger hardware stores will deal with a lot of chippies because of their wood offering, K & K Steel deal with these same trades except with steel, with our offer including steel tubes, stainless steel and aluminum.” “We do deal with a lot of builders and there are plenty of places around us that sell a lot of wood. So we get a lot of people come in who may not be able to source the wood, and make their houses out of steel instead. This was obviously prevalent during the timber crisis,” Roger said. During the extensive wood shortage throughout 2021 and 2022, K & K Steel was initially struggling to keep steel on the shelf. Although some steel was doubling in price throughout this time, builders were using steel as a wood alternative, which is why steel demands were so high. “While steel pricing has dropped slightly, it is not anywhere near where it was pre-COVID. It is just one of those markets that goes up and down and you need to make the best of the situation every day,” Bill said. Stand out qualities While the extensive in-store transformation has certainly boosted sales and excitement in-store, the K & K Steel team believe that their outstanding service, along with a wide range of products has also ensured the store’s success in recent years. “We know that our customers like the fact that they can come in here, ask for our advice, and we help them out freely and easily. We make sure we are not a retailer who simply sells products and never offers advice to go along with the sale of a product,” Bill said. “We are very interested and invested in our job and our business which is what makes us stand out. Trades will K & K Steel owners Bill and Roger custom made all of the store's new shelving, working seven days a week to complete the renovation.

8 HARDWAREJOURNAL.COM.AU | SEPTEMBER '23 come in and they often ask for specific details, including engineering information on some of the materials that we sell. This is when we go back to the manufacturer and source all of that information for the customer so they can take it to their engineers. A lot of places will often leave it up to the customer to work this out themselves.” “We also do deliveries once a week for our customers and we pick up a lot of our own materials as well to save on cost. We recently dropped our transport costs from about $5000 to $1500 because previously everything was freighted in which was just an unnecessary added cost,” Roger said. Bill said the business also implements as many new products into the store as possible and ensures customers are aware and educated on any new products that may be beneficial to their job or task at hand. “So where some of our customers used to use the previous version of a particular product, such as Klingspor’s old grinding wheel, we try to move them onto the new version and get the product out there for both us and Klingspor. Products such as these are of such a benefit to the customer and once they try them out they will often talk to their mates about it and then their mates come in and want to buy them as well, which is great.” “We also brought in a smaller sized welder (Dynaweld) which we marketed to our customers. We had a couple to start with but now we have sold over 70 of these little welders purely because of the way that we market them. We have landscapers, structural steel guys as well as home users and holiday makers all using this welder now not only because it is cheap and lightweight, but is also fantastic to use as well,” Roger said. Local geographics and competition While Roger says there is an abundance of building, renovations and landscaping being conducted in the local area of Hastings and surrounds, there is also horse agistment going on in the local rural area, so the store services this market as well. Competition is also fierce in the local area with a Bunnings store located just two kilometres away at the end of the street. “The Bunnings store does not really worry us because we have found that their staff often refer customers to K & K Steel when searching for premium nuts and bolts particularly. We try not to get too bogged down in being price competitive and while the majority of our lines are similar to Bunnings, our brands are different and better quality.” “We might lose some sales because we do not deal with the cheap stuff and for some people, this is all they care about. We also have two competing steel suppliers in the area. One imports steel directly which has caused a drop in sales for us because there are customers who just want to use the cheaper product. Then there are those customers who will only purchase locally made Australian products which is what we try to concentrate on delivering to our customers,” Bill said. In saying this, Roger pointed out that any loss in the store’s steel sales, are now being compensated in front-ofhouse sales due to the renovation. “This was another reason why we conducted the renovation because we could see the steel sales sliding and we wanted to boost our retail sales. The renovation has also helped to offset the difference in sales at the back of the store as well,” Roger said. Joining with HBT just over 10 years ago now, the buying group has proven to be beneficial for the business, even though Bill says, they did stretch the group in sourcing more industrial products all those years ago. “When we joined over 10 years ago, we were after products that many other members had not asked for, but it also forced HBT to look at other suppliers that may be useful for everyone. From day one of joining HBT they have been very beneficial to the business in pricing and ranging products. They have been a very important factor in where we are now, including advising to constantly revive the business which is why we undertook the renovation,” he said. For now, Roger, Bill and Jane continue to look to the future and adjust the business to accordingly cope with the changing economy. “We continue to have pretty lengthy discussions over what we think and what we feel might happen and we constantly have that foresight into the business so we are well prepared for any changes that might happen now and into the future,” Roger concluded. New products are regularly featured on maneuverable shelving that are rotated on a daily basis.

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The new Act introduces a positive duty on employers to take reasonable and proportionate measures to eliminate unlawful sex discrimination, including sexual harassment, as far as possible. This means that organisations and businesses are now required to focus on actively preventing unlawful conduct connected to work, rather than responding only after it occurs. The legislation shifts the emphasis from a complaints-based model to one where employers are required to take action and continuously assess and evaluate whether they are meeting the requirements of the duty. What measures are ‘reasonable and proportionate’ will depend on the organisation and the risk factors that are present, but simply responding to complaints of sexual harassment when they occur will not be sufficient. “Australia must take active steps to prevent unlawful workplace behaviour before it even begins,” said Commission President, Emeritus Professor Rosalind Croucher AM. “With one in three Australians reporting they have been sexually harassed at work over the last five years, leaders of organisations and businesses play a pivotal role in setting the benchmark for best practice in preventing harassment and discrimination in Australian workplaces.” “This is a significant moment for leadership. Implementing the positive duty is an opportunity for Australia to change the places in which we work – to be safe, inclusive, gender-equal, and free from sexual harassment and discrimination,” Professor Croucher said. New AHRC powers On December 13, 2023, the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) will receive new regulatory powers to ensure organisations and businesses meet the Positive Duty requirements. From this date, the AHRC will be empowered to inquire into and ensure compliance with the positive duty to prevent sex discrimination, including sexual harassment. If the AHRC BEHIND THE COUNTER In this issue of Behind the Counter, we look at how both employees and employers have a role to play in preventing sexual harassment within the workplace. This investigation comes after the Australian Human Rights Commission recently released a set of resources to help organisations and businesses comply with the new Positive Duty in the Sex Discrimination Act. Active prevention creates safer workplaces

SEPTEMBER '23 | HARDWAREJOURNAL.COM.AU 11 commences an inquiry, it must notify the employer of this, stating the grounds on which the inquiry is made and allow the employer to respond. If, following an inquiry, the AHRC forms the view that the employer is not complying with their positive duty, the AHRC is empowered to take several actions. They may notify the employer of any recommendations, give the employer a compliance notice, or enter into an enforceable undertaking with the employer. If a compliance notice is not adhered to, the President of the AHRC may apply to the Federal Court or the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia for an order directing the employer to comply, or for other orders the court considers appropriate. The Commission's resources are being released now to encourage and support businesses and organisations to take action to comply with the Positive Duty before its enforcement powers commence. The resources cater for organisations and businesses of all sizes and include all relevant information, practical examples and frameworks required to understand the steps they need to follow to meet their obligations. The free resources can be found online at www.humanrights.gov.au/ our-work/sex-discrimination/projects/ positive-duty-under-sex-discriminationact?utm_source=miragenews&utm_ medium=miragenews&utm_ campaign=news Case study Professor Croucher stressed that in addition to workplace leadership in this area, it is up to everyone to contribute to a positive workplace culture. In a keynote speech in August, Professor Croucher said, “Change starts small and it is up to everyone to contribute. As soon as we assume it is for someone else to deal with, whether it is other managers or HR or some other part of an organisation, then we have dropped the ball.” A case referenced in Professor Croucher’s speech was that of a female employee of Sydney Water, who had agreed to be photographed for a work safety program. She was, however, unaware that her image would be used on a poster featuring the words ‘Feel great – Lubricate!’ with a picture of her smiling and stretching upwards, appearing to point at the word ‘Lubricate!’. The employee stated, and the court agreed, that the poster made her feel like a ‘sex object’ in the maledominated workplace. The employee was awarded $200,000 in damages after the New South Wales Civil and Administrative Tribunal found the employer had contravened ss22B and 25(2)(c) of the Anti-Discrimination Act 1977 (New South Wales) as the poster discriminated against the employee on the grounds of her sex, amounting to sexual harassment. Professor Croucher noted that opportunities to intervene and prevent the publication of the poster were not taken by leadership. However, she also noted that the employees in the workplace did not take action. “If you had been in [the employee’s] workplace, and you did not rip that poster down or stick a big black Texta over it, you may be contributing to the sexual innuendo and the sexual harassment.” The bystander effect The referenced case highlights the difference effective bystander training can make, and how it can cultivate a culture where all employees feel responsible for the prevention of sexual harassment. Bystanders can be people who observe sexual harassment or hear of it after the incident, and their intervention can be especially important in cases of sexual harassment where the target of the harassment may respond passively to the conduct, due to fear. The National Retail Association encourages employers to create an environment that encourages bystanders to intervene either during an incident of sexual harassment or to effectively support a colleague who reports experiencing sexual harassment. Methods of encouraging interventions during incidents could include training employees on how to intervene, including role modelling, so that employees can see the action in context, and demonstrating how intervention can happen individually or as a group. Where an incident has already occurred, workplaces can encourage bystanders by offering anonymity to disclose information (where appropriate), by providing multiple channels for reporting sexual harassment, and by addressing risks of victimisation that bystanders may face. Bystanders themselves should also be supported by the organisation, as they too may experience the negative effects of sexual harassment. Employers should consider both internal avenues of support and external channels such as an Employee Assistance Program (EAP). If you need assistance with sexual harassment, bystander training, or have a question regarding the positive duty to prevent sexual harassment, please call the National Retail Association’s Workplace Relations Hotline on 1800 RETAIL (738 245). Additionally, the Commission has established the free Respect@Work Information Service, which is a national, trauma-informed service providing information to assist individuals, employers and organisations to better understand their rights and responsibilities regarding sexual harassment and sex-based discrimination in the workplace. Enquiries can be made by phoning 1300 656 419 or by emailing respect@humanrights.gov.au. Inperson visits are no longer accepted.

US NEWS In the aftermath of one of the deadliest wildfires in US history, Lowe's has donated $1 million to relief efforts, including the American Red Cross and Lowe's nonprofit Pro customers, to provide food, emergency shelter, relief supplies and comfort to those affected by the wildfires. While the infusion of financial assistance and supplies has already lifted local efforts, Lowe's District Manager of Hawaii, Robert Joanou, says the Lowe’s donates $1 million to Maui wildfire relief The Home Depot launches new homeowners hub The Home Depot has launched a new Homeowners Hub to equip the next generation of first-time homeowners with valuable resources including DIY guides, product recommendations, design inspiration and more. According to a new survey conducted by The Home Depot in partnership with Morning Consult, home ownership is one of the most stressful milestones young people face today. Around half of millennials (53 per cent) report concerns about purchasing their first home, along with starting a family (57 per cent) and career advancement (52 per cent). Having to conduct renovations and home improvements is the most significant hesitation about becoming a homeowner, with millennials reporting that home maintenance (74 per cent) and home improvement projects (68 per cent) are the most stressful aspects of homeownership. “Our research has shown that lack of knowledge, tools and time were the top barriers for millennials navigating home improvement projects, which is especially stressful for a generation of current and soon-to-be first-time homeowners,” said Molly Battin, Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer at The Home Depot. “Helping homeowners complete projects is part of our DNA, so it was a natural move to create an online resource designed to empower our customers with everything they need to confidently turn their first house into a home.” The survey, which sampled recent homeowners or potential homebuyers born between 1981 and 2005, found that young people are willing to take on projects, but they lack the skills and know-how to tackle them. The survey also discovered the following statistics on young rennovators: • A new generation of DIYers: Over eight in 10 millennials and GenZers are interested in conducting renovation, repair, design and décor projects. Yet only about a quarter of millennials and one third of GenZers would feel ‘very confident’ about taking on a home improvement project. • P aint versus plumbing: Millennials and GenZers were most comfortable with redecorating (83 per cent/86 per cent), painting (~80 per cent) and routine yard work (81 per cent); while well over half of the respondents were most uncomfortable with electrical work, plumbing, roofing/siding, and window/ door projects. • The internet or Mum and Dad? Most young people would turn to YouTube or other online videos (~70 per cent) to learn how to tackle DIY projects versus learning from a parent, family member or friend (61 per cent of GenZers and 54 per cent of millennials would do so). In fact, 90 per cent of millennials and 92 per cent of GenZ respondents said that having access to a centralized resource that provides guidance would be helpful to them. From moving checklists to project guides, and virtual workshops to design inspiration, the new online hub brings The Home Depot’s expertise directly to customers. The virtual workshops provide expert, step-by-step guidance on projects like how to paint a room, replace light fixtures, install a faucet, or replace a garbage disposal. In addition, a catalogue of workshops teaches the fundamentals of caring for different areas of the home from HVAC and plumbing to seasonal maintenance. Homeowners can find both livestream and on-demand options, which they can access at any time and at zero cost. For more information on the New Homeowners Hub, including tool and truck rental programs and home services details visit: www.homedepot.com/ newhomeowners.

SEPTEMBER '23 | HARDWAREJOURNAL.COM.AU 13 Lowe’s shares details on its path to net zero Lowe’s has launched an online resource dedicated to sharing ongoing updates on the company’s progress toward its net-zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions targets. NetZero.Lowes.com features a visual map of Lowe’s plan to reach interim goals by 2030 to support the company’s long-term goal of achieving net-zero GHG emissions by 2050. “Achieving net zero will take collaboration across our full value chain, and NetZero.Lowes.com can provide helpful, educational updates about some of the ways we are making progress,” said Chris Cassell, Vice President of Lowe’s corporate sustainability. “For example, we will spotlight meaningful adjustments to the way we do business, and we will share updates on partnerships that will move us closer to net zero.” NetZero.Lowes.com includes an animated video that breaks down what ‘net zero’ means and describes how Lowe’s, plans to achieve its net-zero target. The webpage shares the company’s 2030 targets including a 40 per cent reduction in scope one and two emissions (emissions generated in Lowe’s operations or through electricity), 22.5 per cent reduction in scope three emissions (emissions outside of its operational footprint) and 50 per cent of Lowe’s operations powered with renewable energy. Current progress and areas of focus are also provided with details on how exactly Lowe’s is working toward its goals. “Lowe’s takes pride in making homes better for all, and part of doing that is reducing our impact on the environment. We are excited to work even more closely with stakeholders – from suppliers to customers – to drive sustainable practices,” Lowe’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Marvin Ellison said. For the latest on Lowe’s path to net zero, visit NetZero.Lowes.com. company's immediate and unwavering presence has provided a welcome ray of hope for associates and community members amid the destruction. “Our local community is not only blown away but overwhelmed at the fact that a big company is willing to go outside the box and take the extra steps to demonstrate that we really care about them personally. I cannot even put into words the impact this has on the community. It is beautiful,” Mr Joanou said. In immediate response to the wildfires, associates from the store assisted local police, fire department and community members with donations of water, propane, barbecue grills, popup tents, tarps, and many other essential supplies to help residents. Lowe's Emergency Command Center continues to expedite generators and additional emergency supplies to assist with immediate needs and support long-term recovery. Lowe's is also set to distribute more than 800 27-gallon, heavy-duty storage totes filled with cleanup supplies to residents affected by the fires. Lowe's Command Center also deployed a 20-person Emergency Response Team to Lowe's store in Kahului to help with recovery efforts over two weeks. These specially trained store associates and district leaders are voluntarily leaving their home stores from Oahu and the Big Island to provide additional customer and associate support. “This emergency response team, their sole purpose is to alleviate pressure on the stores that are impacted. It gives the people on the island who work in that store a chance to spend time with their families and do what they need to do post-event to recover. It is what Lowe’s does. We will do whatever we can to make the recovery process easier for our associates,” Taylor Evans, Director of Command Center Operations said. Despite the additional help, Mr Joanou says Kahului associates insist on being “boots on the ground” in recovery efforts while providing a much-needed sense of 'ohana' on the island. “When you come into the store, you can see a group of people standing tall, standing strong, showing resolve. We will continue to stand together and do everything in our power to care for each other and our community,” Mr Joanou concluded.

NZ NEWS New Mitre 10 MEGA Silverdale is a nod to the future When the new Mitre 10 MEGA Silverdale opened its doors on August 11, it showcased some exciting new concepts that are currently being developed for future Mitre 10 stores. Located in the Highgate Business Park, Silverdale, the 11,300-square metre store is the 85th in the Mitre 10 network and the first new greenfield Mitre 10 MEGA since 2016. Innovative digital experiences, improved wayfinding, a new showroom offering, and a fantastic timber ‘treehouse’ playground are just some of the features being piloted in the new store. The new Mitre 10 Design Guide and Style Finder is a digital experience delivering inspiration, personalised style guides and product selections for kitchen, bathroom, laundry and wardrobe projects. For customers ready to get started, the new Project Help experience provides in-store access to project planning guides, material calculators, ‘Easy As’ how-to videos, and a directory of preferred suppliers for customers needing professional tradespeople. Interior Living, Mitre 10’s new streamlined New Zealand kitchen range, also delivers an end-to-end service that enables trade and DIY customers to design affordable kitchens – either delivered fully assembled or as a flat pack bundle. Trade customer needs have also been considered, with the location of the 1600metre squared timber yard, 2000-metre squared drive-through and ‘heavy-end’ hardware, electrical, and plumbing supplies carefully considered to minimise the time spent in the store. The top 100 building product lines are racked at waist height for easy access, and there are also offices available for trade customers to meet with clients and suppliers. On the retail side, the 6000-metre squared retail area layout was redesigned to showcase key categories including paint, tools, garden supplies, fixings and fastenings, and outdoor living. Each of these hubs is designed so customers can find everything they require in one space. For example, a display of landscaping supplies is showcased within the 2000-metre squared garden centre so customers can easily compare different decking, fencing, or pebble finishes to complement their chosen plants and outdoor aesthetics. “This new store is piloting a number of new customer experiences, all designed with the customer in mind, and in response to extensive customer research and insights. Some are less obvious, like safer and more pedestrian-friendly carparks, and some will transform the customer experience, like the Design Guide and Style Finder digital experience,” says Jules Lloyd-Jones, Chief Marketing Officer for Mitre 10 New Zealand. Mitre 10 MEGA Silverdale is owned and operated by Riviera Hardware Holdings, along with the Warkworth, Whangaparaoa, Albany and New Lynn stores. This means trade customer accounts can be used across the district, at whichever location is closest to site, saving time and money. Around 120 new jobs have been created with the opening of Mitre 10 MEGA Silverdale, with recruitment drives held at the local rugby club. The new store boasts 232 carparks on-site as well as a Columbus Café for shoppers to grab a drink or bite to eat during their visit. “We are looking forward to welcoming the local

SEPTEMBER '23 | HARDWAREJOURNAL.COM.AU 15 Bunnings to restructure staff at Auckland headquarters Mitre 10 gains FSC Chain of Custody certification Following the announcement that Bunnings is removing eight Australian regional operations manager roles, the hardware giant has confirmed it is restructuring one of its major operations centres. The Wesfarmers-owned retail chain is making changes to its support staff at its New Zealand headquarters in Auckland. The changes could see up to 100 roles displaced, however, Bunnings expects the total number of team members leaving the business to be less as it works to redeploy team members into alternative roles where possible. Across Australia and New Zealand, Bunnings employs 53,000 people and has 282 warehouse stores, 67 smaller-format shops and 32 trade centres. In New Zealand alone, it has 42 stores, nine trade centres and a distribution centre. Currently, there are around 340 people employed at the company’s New Zealand head office where the restructure is to take place. “We have started a proposed review of our New Zealand Support Office structure,” Bunnings Group Managing Director Mike Schneider told Daily Mail Australia. “The proposed changes will not affect the 5,000-plus team working in our stores, trade centres and distribution centres across New Zealand,” Mr Schneider said. It seems the changes are not due to a drop in profits, rather the opposite appears to be true. In the year to June 30, 2022, Bunnings made an $87 million net profit after tax in New Zealand, up 67 per cent on 2021’s $52 million net profit. Wages and salaries also rose from $172 million in 2021 to $183 million in 2022. The changes to the headquarters are understood to be part of a post-pandemic restructuring to streamline procedures and remove duplications. “We are always reviewing our business to ensure we are set up to deliver the best offer for our customers in all regions where we operate,” Mr Schneider said. “For New Zealand, this is about looking at ways to better leverage the broader Bunnings Group capabilities, while at the same time maintaining a strong, local team on the ground to ensure our offer continues to be tailored for the local market.” Mr Schneider said that it is too early to be definitive about the number of roles that will be impacted. It is also understood that the affected staff will be offered positions in other parts of the company wherever possible. “We are focused on caring for the impacted team members and we will be doing everything we can to support them,” he concluded. Mitre 10 New Zealand has gained FSC Chain of Custody certification, reflecting its dedication to responsible sourcing and environmental stewardship which is in line with the company’s Timber and Wood Finished Goods Procurement Policy. Timberbiz reported that with this certification, Mitre 10 can now pass on FSC claims to builders and construction companies, empowering them to integrate FSC-certified products into their construction projects. This proactive decision benefits builders by providing them with the confidence to select forest-friendly materials, while also reinforcing Mitre 10’s ongoing commitment to responsible sourcing and the protection of the natural environment. Mitre 10 further solidifies its position as a responsible corporate citizen, committed to safeguarding the world’s forests for future generations as this certified supply chain ensures the protection of wildlife and habitats while prioritising the rights of communities and workers. “This certification is another proof point of our commitment to making a real and sustainable impact on the environment, our operations, and the communities we are part of,” Mitre 10 New Zealand’s Sustainability Manager, Julie Roberts said. “Building and construction is a significant part of our business and chain of custody certification means our trade customers can order sustainably sourced timber from us with confidence.” As Mitre 10 New Zealand continues to grow in market share and store numbers, sustainability and responsible forestry are deeply embedded principles of their business ethos. The certification marks a significant step towards a more environmentally conscious future, solidifying its position as an advocate for sustainable forestry practices in Aotearoa. community into our new store. Mitre 10 regulars will notice some exciting new experiences, alongside the familiar warm welcome and quality service and advice Mitre 10 is known for,” Riviera Managing Director Cam Caithness said. Mitre 10 MEGA Silverdale showcases some exciting new concepts.

16 HARDWAREJOURNAL.COM.AU | SEPTEMBER '23 TIMBER UPDATE Forestry Australia launches online learning program for members As part of its commitment to the next generation of forestry professionals, Forestry Australia has developed the Forest Fundamentals Online Learning Program, providing an introduction to foundational forestryspecific subjects. This new program is available on Forestry Australia’s website and is free and exclusive to all members. The program provides direct access to forestry expertise. Presenters include Associate Professor Kevin Tolhurst, Dr Michelle Balasso, Professor Cristopher Brack, Dr Brian Turner, Associate Professor Leon Bren, and Megan Graham. Forestry Fundamentals features over 35 videos as well as additional resource guides on themes such as forest values, active management, forest monitoring and evaluation, and social values of forestry. Forestry Australia Chief Executive Officer, Jacquie Martin said that over the past two years, Forestry Australia has consulted with employers and several senior foresters on this initiative. “Since 2021 the sector has told us that there is a notable knowledge gap within the Australian forest sector,” Ms Martin said. “Forest growers are recruiting graduates with environmental science or agriculture qualifications, who are well-qualified in their field, but may be looking for additional forestry knowledge and insights.” “The program is part of a key strategic initiative to improve access to forestry experts and continues to build on Forestry Australia’s value proposition.” In response to this feedback, Forestry Australia, supported by the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) Leadership Grant, developed this program to: • Provide forestry-specific information targeting recent graduates and new entrants to the forestry sector. • Assist companies when introducing new forestry concepts to staff or with the onboarding of new staff. • Build the sector’s capacity with practical forestry knowledge, targeting subjects that are not easily or currently available. • Capture and make available the extensive knowledge of Forestry Australia members and subject matter experts. • Create an easily and conveniently accessible suite of resources. The subjects and presenters include: Forest values • Supply chain: Plantations, Dr Mihai Neagoe. • Supply chain: Native forest, Patrick Groenhout. • Forest valuation methodology, Keith Lamb. • Valuing forests for carbon and other non-wood values, Professor Cristopher Brack. • Managing forest values, Mark Annandale. Active management • Plantations (silviculture), Braden Jenkin. • Active management for plantations, Dr Michelle Balasso. • Active management of native forests, Mike Ryan. • Harvesting to protect the environment, Gary Featherston. • Role of fire and fire behaviour, Assoc. Prof. Kevin Tolhurst. • Active management of wood production, Dr Michelle Balasso. • Water quality monitoring and management, Assoc. Prof. Leon Bren. • Silviculture for smaller producers, Braden Jenkin. • Managing urban and native forests, Professor Cristopher Brack. • Forest certification, Gary Featherston. • Forest engineering principals and management, Braden Jenkin. Forest monitoring and evaluation • Forest biometrics and statistics, Dr Michelle Balasso. • Basic science of measurement, Dr Brian Turner. • Resource modelling, Dr Brian Turner. • Tree measurements and inventories, Dr Brian Turner. • Remote sensing and GPS, Dr Brian Turner. • Financial, budgeting and contract management, Braden Jenkin. Social value of forestry • Community engagement, Megan Graham. • Commercial forestry in a community setting, Mark Annandale. Policy, leadership, research and analysis • Forest policy, framework and governance, Professor Peter Kanowski. • Business management and investment analysis, Braden Jenkin. • Research, Dr Michelle Balasso. More information can be found at www.forestry.org.au/forest-fundamentals-online-learning-program/

Protections urged for foresters threatened by aggressive protesters Aggressive, violent and unhygienic attacks have been directed at forestry workers and their families amid rising tensions over the industry’s future. Environmental and financial concerns, a promised koala sanctuary and the fallout from interstate logging bans have made New South Wales' state forests a new battleground for workers and those against the industry, reported the Newcastle Herald. Claims of workers receiving 200 harassing phone calls a day, having faeces thrown at them and their wives threatened with sexual assault were aired in parliament, prompting Agriculture Minister Tara Moriarty to call for more respect from protesters. “Everyone deserves to go to work and be able to come home safely. People who move onto forest land need to be safe from injury and also not put others at risk,” she told the Australian Associated Press (AAP). “I respect the right of people to protest, but we also have to respect each other and not put people's and workers' lives at risk of injury or worse.” While protests were generally portrayed as peaceful, New South Wales Shooters, Fishers and Farmers MP Mark Banasiak said there was a need to create timber safety zones to protect workers. He said he had learned of many instances of threatening behaviour towards workers. “One wife of a worker was threatened with rape ... others have had insinuations of harm being made against their children along the lines of, 'I know where your kids get off the school bus in the afternoon',” Mr Banasiak told Parliament. “Human faeces have been thrown at workers and protesters have threatened to urinate on them.” As a result, Mr Banasiak introduced a Bill that would create a specific offence for unauthorised entries to timber safety zones, similar to those enacted in Victoria last year. Behind the scenes, the state opposition is set to consider supporting the proposed law or introducing its own version. The Nature Conservation Council has urged caution over further erosion of the democratic right to protest, pointing to its central role in the right of women to vote, ending conscription and protecting many places of environmental significance. “These rights have been gradually eroded over recent years and our laws now heavily favour logging contractors destroying our remaining forests rather than citizens exercising their democratic right to peaceful protest,” Chief Executive Jacqui Mumford told AAP. She also warned unsubstantiated claims against protesters had, “a long history of being used to justify the erosion" of protest rights. Tensions rose after protesters disrupted the resumption of logging in Newry State Forest near Coffs Harbour at the beginning of August. A coalition of environmental groups wants a moratorium on the timber industry between Coffs Harbour and Kempsey, where Labor plans to establish a promised Great Koala National Park. The park would protect about 20 per cent of the state's threatened koala population. Continued logging in areas vital for the sanctuary was deplorable, Greens MP Sue Higginson said. “Newry State Forest is the front line of injustice, destruction, extinction and political failure,” she said. On August 2, indigenous man Wilkarr Kurikuta padlocked himself to industrial logging machinery in a further effort to protect sacred sites in the forest. Forestry Corporation New South Wales said it engaged and worked closely with local Aboriginal communities. The clashes come after the Victorian State Government said in May that it would end native timber harvesting by 2024, four years earlier than planned, claiming the sector had become unviable due to ongoing legal action.

18 HARDWAREJOURNAL.COM.AU | SEPTEMBER '23 In preparation for what is forecast to be a strong El Niño and difficult drought this spring and summer, this exclusive report shares important tips on how to help your customers prepare their gardens and lawns for the predicted extreme weather ahead. Drought-proofing outdoor areas this spring Even though El Niño has not yet been officially declared, now is the time to prepare for the season ahead. During what could be the worst fire season since the 2019-2020 Black Summer, residents of New South Wales, South Australia, Victoria and South East Queensland have also been warned to be prepared for spring bushfires. Healthy soil, the right plants, and water-saving tips can make it easier to grow a healthy garden in drought conditions. Maintaining a green buffer around the home can also help keep homes cooler. Healthy soil Drought-proofing the garden begins where it gains most of its nutrients – the soil. Improving the structure by adding nutrient-rich and water-retaining organics, including compost and aged manures will ensure plants have a healthy soil to grow in. Mulch prevents moisture from evaporating from the soil, reducing water loss by roughly 60 per cent. It also keeps the soil temperature constant and prevents weed seeds from germinating. Adding a mulch to a depth of seven to 10 centimetres will minimise water loss, keeping the soil cool and reducing the need to water as frequently. Lupin mulch is high in nitrogen, it improves the soil as it breaks down and will not blow away with regular exposure to wind. It is ideal for all garden beds including Australian natives and should be applied twice a year for optimal benefits. Bark-based mulches are organic and come in various grades from fine to coarse. Helping customers understand which is best for them is important in protecting their gardens during drought. Medium to coarse-grade bark mulches are best for dry areas as they do not absorb any moisture and allow all rainfall and irrigation to penetrate through to the soil where it is needed, but also prevent additional evaporation. Fine-grade mulches tend to soak up the moisture like a sponge and can help prevent over-saturation of the soil underneath during wet weather. Bark mulches break down very slowly and last a long time, making them a great option to recommend to any gardening customers. To help save water, switching from fertilisers that require to be mixed with water to ready-to-apply fertilisers is another GARDEN & OUTDOOR LIVING

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