High prices there for good

The surge in prices, particularly in the construction sector, is not temporary, warns the CEO of Groupe BMR, believing that these new prices “are here to stay” and that they could even rise further.

“I figured this was going to be temporary, the inflation we’ve been through in all industries. There, I am forced to admit that it is here to stay, ”replied the big boss of the chain, Alexandre Lefebvre.

“I had a second home project and decided to go ahead, as I don’t see construction prices dropping in the near term. I even think it will continue to increase,” he added.

Compared to the same date last year, the price of wood is even higher this year. Recently, The newspaper wrote that the cost of the main building materials has already more than doubled in two months.

According to listings provided to contractors, the famous 10-foot spruce 2 X 4 went from $3.89 to $9.66 between December and February. Plywood and gypsum also posted strong increases.

The BMR Group ensures that it is sensitive to this issue, which has a direct impact on the consumer’s wallet.

Management claims to be more agile and to have developed solutions to reduce costs. The objective is to limit the consequences on consumer bills as much as possible.

Like other companies, the Quebec hardware store, which is headed by Sollio Groupe Coopératif, had to juggle supply challenges in 2021. Management says it has managed to fill its shelves all the same.

“I thought that this situation was going to resolve itself and that the supply chain would come to take over, confided to us Mr. Lefebvre, this is not the case. I think it will remain very tight for quite a while, ”he added.

He does not hide that his organization must also deal with more expensive transport rates and he does not see a lull on the horizon.

Last year, Groupe BMR posted record sales of $1.53 billion, eclipsing the mark of the previous vintage by $374 million.

“It’s a historic year, perhaps unsurprisingly given the context. Our industry has had the wind in its sails. People rushed to renovation centers,” the CEO said.

Management says it has benefited from the fact that several independent merchants have joined the brand. The hardware store has added more than a dozen partners, which has boosted its sales by approximately $100 million.

The chain now relies on a network of nearly 280 stores in Quebec, Ontario and the Maritime provinces. In recent days, an independent merchant from Cornwall, Ontario has joined the family.

“We did not lose any merchants last year,” rejoiced Mr. Lefebvre. “What is encouraging is that half of these new dealers have been signed in Ontario. In Quebec, we are already a dominant player. Our future growth will go a lot through Ontario,” he continued.

♦ Demand for construction and seasonal products, which has never run out of steam since the start of the pandemic, has also been beneficial for Groupe BMR’s portfolio.

1. What projects are in the pipeline for Groupe BMR?

We look for our distribution centers. Initially, we had the idea of ​​centralizing our operations and building a very large distribution center. There, we are instead exploring the idea of ​​opening satellite distribution centers in different regions of Quebec and Ontario to be closer to our customers and offset the increase in transportation costs.

In particular, we want a 50,000 square foot distribution center in Quebec. It’s an investment of about $10 million.

2. Do you think companies’ supply challenges will fade in 2022?

I do not think so. It is up to us to compensate for the difficulty of supply.

3. Do you believe that the consumer could see prices on materials similar to those before the pandemic in 2022?

That’s what I thought six months ago. Right now, I don’t think we’ll ever go back to pre-pandemic prices. Inflation is here to stay.

4. Do you still intend to become a major pan-Canadian player in the near future?

In the long term yes, we have the ambition to be a pan-Canadian player. In the short term, we want to consolidate our position in Eastern Canada, mainly in Ontario. I think there is a window of opportunity for us of three years and then we will look at the rest of Canada.

5. How many people do you want to hire for the summer season? How is the recruitment going?

We have managed to make some great hires in recent weeks. We have the same issues as everyone else. We are entering our peak period [plus de 1000 postes sont à pourvoir durant l’été au Groupe BMR]. It’s always a challenge. What helps us to recruit are our cooperative values.

BMR in brief

Turnover: $1.534 billion

8000 employees in the network

Near 280 stores

Present in Quebec, Ontario and the Maritime Provinces

The price increases of some building materials

2 X 4 10 feet: $3.89-9.66

Aspenite chipboard 4 X 8 – 7/16 in: $21.44 to $31.68

Plywood 4 X 8 – 1/2 in: $32 to $44.16

Gypsum 4 X 12: $12 to $20.16

Source: according to prices given to contractors


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