Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Richelieu Hardware Sees Profit Rise on Flat Canadian Market, Slow U.S. Recovery

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Richelieu Hardware Sees Profit Rise on Flat Canadian Market, Slow U.S. Recovery

Article excerpt

Richelieu Hardware reports higher Q1 profit

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MONTREAL - Richelieu Hardware says it continues to prosper as a slowly improving U.S. home renovation market compensates for a stalled Canadian sector.

"Canada is rather flat all over the place," CEO Richard Lord said Thursday following the company's annual meeting.

The Montreal-based manufacturer and distributor produces hinges, fasteners and other hardware for the manufacturing, home renovation and retail sectors as well as other products. Its portfolio includes about 100,000 products sold to 70,000 customers in North America.

Lord said the Canadian market, which accounts for about three-quarters of Richelieu's sales, isn't growing much but the company needs to constantly introduce new products to maintain its leading market share.

In addition to eco-friendly products and weather-resistant materials for outdoor use, Richelieu (TSX:RCH) has entered the glass market by acquiring Vancouver-based hardware supplier Hi-Tech Glazing Supplies last year.

Lord said he's not concerned about the problems facing Canada's largest home renovation retailer Rona (TSX:RON), saying its other large Canadian customers have similar challenges adjusting to weak consumer demand.

"The market for retail hardware has been difficult for the last three years. I think they're all in the same bag... but that should improve in the future. It cannot be worse," he said.

Lord said the company's task is to help retailers earn solid returns on the products they sell and expand the number of items it sells in those stores.

In the United States, the home renovation market has fallen by about 40 per cent following the 2008 economic crisis, but it looks like it is slowly improving, especially along the East Coast where Richelieu has its greatest presence.

"We don't expect a big boom but a slow growth in the years to come," he said. …

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