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Make room for RONA

But as CEO of the largest Canadian-owned home-improvement chain in Canada, he has more than most riding on sunnier days. Sales in Canada have flattened in recent quarters, as housing starts and home resales weakened and last year’s federal tax-incentive program came to an end.

Like everyone else, Robert Dutton is praying for better weather.

But as CEO of the largest Canadian-owned home-improvement chain in Canada, he has more than most riding on sunnier days. Sales in Canada have flattened in recent quarters, as housing starts and home resales weakened and last year’s federal tax-incentive program came to an end.

Spring is make or break season for the country’s $41.2-billion-a-year home-improvement industry.

Though some experts predict as much as 70 per cent of all Canadian retailing will be foreign owned by 2015, Dutton says there is still room for strong, competitive national players like Rona. He believes Rona can boost its market share within Canada to 25 per cent from 19, mainly through acquisitions.

Acquisitions is how Rona has grown in the past 10 years into a 950-store chain. But what Dutton calls the “home-ice advantage” is how Rona will hold onto its share against the U.S. retail invasion, he says.

“The real question is about continuing to offer the best combination of products, services and prices to Canadians in every region and in every community, from big cities to remote villages,” he said.

 
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