Sherwin-Williams Continues Rapid Pace of Store Openings in Canada

Cleveland, Ohio-based paint retailer Sherwin-Williams continues to open stores in Canada as it sees remarkable growth in all regions. At a time when many retailers are shrinking their base of stores, Sherwin-Williams is seeing an annual growth rate of about 10% in Canada, with global total revenue growth of 34.4%. Canada’s building boom, both commercial and residential, might be part of the reason. 

The company now has more than 240 stores in Canada, which is impressive considering that Sherwin-Williams celebrated the opening of its 200th Canadian location in the summer of 2016. The plan is to open stores across the country, with a strong focus on Quebec, Ontario and British Columbia. 

Of its 240 Sherwin-Williams locations in Canada, 48 stores are in British Columbia, 27 are in Alberta, seven are in Saskatchewan, nine are in Manitoba, 90 are in Ontario (two opened in the last six months), 37 are in the province of Quebec (two more stores in the last six months), four are in New Brunswick, two  are in Newfoundland, six are in Nova Scotia and there’s one Sherwin-Williams store in the province of Prince Edward Island. 

Sherwin-Williams was founded in Cleveland in 1866. The company is technically a year older than Canada, and has a unique Canadian connection – Sherwin-Williams opened a manufacturing plant in Montreal in 1894, and its second CEO was Canadian. 

Sherwin-Williams is now considered to be the largest producer of paint in the world, and its products are sold through a wide network of distributors including, home centres, independent retailers, mass merchandisers, as well as through more than 4,624 company-operated paint stores. The Fortune 500 Company boasts annual revenue in excess of US $15 billion in 2017 and the company opened 101 stores globally during its most recent fiscal year. 

Total revenue growth for Sherwin-Williams last year was 34.4% — that puts it in third place on the list of fastest-growing US retailers (according to an eMarketerRetail report). Home retailer Wayfair took top spot with 43.7% annual growth, and Amazon came second with 35.5% revenue growth. 

Paint stores often indicate areas that are seeing building booms, and that might be reflected in the number of Sherwin-Williams stores in parts of Canada. British Columbia has a disproportionately high number of locations, which could be expected given the multi-year building boom in the province which includes new residential as well as commercial buildings. Downtown Vancouver continues to add office space in order to address record-low vacancy rates and various new residential developments are addressing high population growth, particularly in the Vancouver/Lower Mainland. 

Ontario —and more specifically Toronto, is seeing a remarkable building boom which can be attributed to population growth as well as economic expansion. The city is adding thousands of new residents annually, many of them immigrants, and Toronto is said to have more construction cranes in the air than all of New York City, Los Angeles and Chicago combined (no city comes close to Toronto in North America, with Seattle trailing). Toronto is also seeing a commercial building boom as new office buildings are built in Canada’s Financial Centre, which is also seeing a tech boom (more tech jobs were created last year in Toronto than any place in North America). 

Sherwin Williams is looking to continue opening stores in Canada over the next several years. Ideally stores are in the 2,800 square foot to 4,000 square foot range along high streets and in open-air centres. The company is working with three brokerages in its three focus-provinces. In Quebec, Sherwin-Williams is working with Tony Flanz of Think Retail. In Ontario, Sherwin Williams is working with Webster Retail and in British Columbia, it’s working with Greenwood Realty on further site selection. 

Article Author

Craig Patterson
Craig Patterson
Now located in Toronto, Craig is a retail analyst and consultant at the Retail Council of Canada. He's also the Director of Applied Research at the University of Alberta School of Retailing in Edmonton. He has studied the Canadian retail landscape for the past 25 years and he holds Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Laws Degrees. He is also President & CEO of Vancouver-based Retail Insider Media Ltd.

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