An additional selection of stories about the home improvement industry in Australia and overseas markets. This week, both Masters and Home Timber & Hardware group recall Olsent brand powerboards; construction companies are being scrutinised by the Fair Work Commission; Fletcher Building closes Christchurch plant in New Zealand; and Home Depot acknowledges Techtronic Industries as a top vendor for its range of Ryobi products.
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Powerboards recalled by Masters, HT&H
The Olsent 6 Outlet Powerboard has been recalled by Masters due to a risk of overheating and fire. It is the fourth recall for Olsent products in recent months. The ACCC recall notice states: "The electrical contacts of the sockets are poorly aligned and the plastic enclosure does not meet the flammability requirements of the applicable standard."
A number of Olsent powerboards have also been recalled by the Home Timber & Hardware group. The products were sold in Home Timber & Hardware, Plants Plus and Thrifty?Link stores across Australia from July 2011 to September 2014.
>https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5480/12590415225_e2c10322e7_m.jpg }Masters has recalled Olsent powerboards again}http://www.applianceretailer.com.au/2014/10/olsent-powerboard-recall/
Checking on construction companies
Hundreds of construction businesses will be audited as part of a national campaign by the Fair Work Ombudsman. Fair Work inspectors will check that employers are paying the correct minimum hourly rates, penalty and overtime rates and allowances. Compliance with record-keeping and pay slip obligations and other workplace laws will also be monitored.
Up to 700 businesses in every capital city and selected regional areas will be earmarked for auditing at random, with some site visits planned. Both residential and commercial builders will be monitored, as well as electricians, plumbers, painters and decorators, tilers and carpenters, bricklayers, concreters, landscapers and plasterers.
>https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3936/15554716316_e18134088f_m.jpg}Fair Work Commission turns its focus on construction companies}http://www.coffscoastadvocate.com.au/news/construction-companies-under-scrutiny/2420151/
New fitout franchise
A commercial fit-out franchise was created when Queensland-based building companies, G.J. Gardner Homes and Smith & Sons joined forces. Total Fitouts currently has six franchisees on board and is hoping to reach $10 million turnover in its first year. Australia-New Zealand managing director Jeremy Dyer said: "Total Fitouts is the perfect solution for an existing builder wanting to leave behind the hassles of the residential building industry such as home warranty insurance, in favour of more commercial work."
>https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3935/15392304237_635f7cd8cc_m.jpg}Total Fitouts is a new commercial fit-out franchise based in Queensland}http://www.sunshinecoastdaily.com.au/news/industry-heavies-build-new-fitout-franchise/2418252/
Fletcher closes Christchurch plant
Fletcher Building will close its Christchurch insulation factory, as it consolidates its Tasman Insulations operations. Around 29 workers would lose their jobs manufacturing the company's Pink Batts insulation, while its Auckland factory will become an around the clock operation, according to a statement from the company. Fletcher will offer redundancies, but said it had over 200 vacancies within the business, of which more than 50 which were in Christchurch.
>https://farm3.staticflickr.com/2950/15202176048_cd7de578a7_m.jpg}Fletcher Building closing insulation factory}http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/BU1410/S00582/fletcher-to-close-its-christchurch-insulation-plant-29-jobs.htm
Techtronic Industries is top vendor
Hong Kong-listed Techtronic Industries (TTI) received six coveted awards at The Home Depot annual supplier partner meeting held in Atlanta recently. The world's largest home improvement retailer recognised TTI with its Marketing Innovation Award, Vendor of The Year Award for the lawn and garden category and three product innovation awards including a store-wide innovation award.
The Marketing Innovation Award relates to the Ryobi One+ Lithium-Ion launch. TTI received product innovation awards for a range of other Rybobi products including the HJP001K 12-volt lithium-ion drill; 18-volt lithium-ion P813 Drill Kit; P843 Combo Kit; and Touch Start[tm] Gas String Trimmer.
>https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5616/15392624607_2f401cd0b4_m.jpg}TTI wins Home Depot vendor awards for its Ryobi range}http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive&sid=aqQ9gtpfcqTw
Lowe's launches Mexican website
Lowe's is expanding its international online presence with a new localised site for shoppers in Mexico. Lowe's has shipped to Canada via a localised site since late 2012, the only other country besides the United States in which it has an e-commerce operation. The move comes six months after its chief competitor, The Home Depot rolled out its own online store for Mexican shoppers.
Lowe's can now ship online purchases from Lowes.com.mx to local stores, ship from stores to consumers' homes and offer in-store pickup. It also can ship to customers from fulfilllment centres or by drop-shipping. Lowe's says it plans to expand into other geographic locations, noting that the web will play a big role in its global growth.
>https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7448/12813262913_af250180d9_m.jpg}Lowe's launches website for Mexican customers}http://www.internetretailer.com/2014/10/15/lowes-launches-localized-e-commerce-site-mexico
Screwfix expands with Irish website
Screwfix is expanding into the Republic of Ireland with the launch of a dedicated website. The move follows the launch last month of four trial stores in Germany and the announcement of plans to open over 50 more stores in the UK next year. Kingfisher-owned Screwfix already has over 350 UK outlets.
>https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3938/15393223410_7bfc463d3f_m.jpg}Screwfix creates localised Irish website}http://www.diyweek.net/news/news.asp?id=18243&title=Screwfix+expands+into+Ireland+with+new+website+
Kingfisher joins sustainability group
B&Q and Screwfix owner Kingfisher has joined a coalition of some of the world's biggest companies that aims to drive sustainability via a website, www.collectively.org. The coalition brings together the non-profit, global sustainability organisiation, Forum of the Future with companies including Unilever, BT Group, Coca-Cola, Marks & Spencer, Carlsberg, Google, Facebook, Microsoft, McDonalds, Nike, Pepsi, Nestle and now Kingfisher. Collectively is designed to allow people to act more sustainably in whatever way they can, from buying, investing and campaigning to sharing an idea they believe in. The ultimate aim is to make sustainable living the "new normal".
>https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3947/15579850432_b51585b8b4_m.jpg}Kingfisher joins international sustainability group}http://www.diyweek.net/news/news.asp?id=18260&title=Kingfisher+joins+global+sustainability+coalition
Leroy Merlin re-organises for multichannel
French DIY chain Leroy Merlin competitive is transforming itself into a multichannel retailer and is completely disrupting its traditional way of operating. Speaking at The Everywhere Store Conference in Portugal, Luis Herrero, CIO and supply chain director at Leroy Merlin Spain, says this is having huge implications on the supply chain of the business that has a global portfolio of 600 outlets and e-commerce operations. He said: "It is changing the whole supply chain, distribution centres and stores. We are on an interesting and fascinating turnaround. With the flows of stock cross-channel we need a transformation in technology."
>https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3950/14958898703_29ffabd620_m.jpg}French home improvement chain is reorientating itself to becoming a multichannel retailer}http://www.retailtechnology.co.uk/item.php?news_id=5497
Kohler wins sustainability award
For the second year in a row, the US-based Environmental Protection Agency has bestowed Kohler with its Sustained Excellence Award, recognising the company's commitment to the development of water-saving products and the education of consumers on water conservation issues.
Since WaterSense was introduced in 2006, Kohler has engineered nearly all of its toilets, bathroom faucets, urinals, and many of its showerheads to use far less water. The labels make it easy for consumers to identify and purchase products that are water efficient.
>https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5614/15576480481_81e100b4a7_m.jpg}Kohler wins sustainability award from the EPA}http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20141009006267/en/Kohler-Two-Time-Winner-EPA%25E2%2580%2599s-Sustained-Excellence-Award
Masco sees home repair trends improve
Masco is the largest supplier of non-commodity products to Home Depot and kitchen and bath aisle to Lowe's. In early October, Masco announced some transformative actions which included a tax-free spin-off of its Installation and Other Services segment into a separate company. The maker of home improvement products also plans to buy back shares and reduce its workforce.
>https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3938/14958455844_5ac3fcc957_m.jpg}Demand for Masco's home improvement products is set to improve}http://www.nasdaq.com/article/masco-sees-home-repair-trends-improve-cabinets-lag-analyst-blog-cm402108