By Craig Patterson
The 17-store Marcil home improvement chain, with stores in Quebec, will soon be rebranded as part of Lowe’s acquisition of the RONA chain. Marcil stores will be converted to the RONA banner on February 26, as RONA is repositioned to encompass the company’s smaller and medium-sized stores.
Based in Boucherville, Quebec, Marcil was founded more than 40 years ago. It has stores in the greater Montreal area, which are each between about 5,000 square feet and 35,000 square feet. Marcil came under the control of RONA in 2005 when it acquired 51% of Marcil's shares, followed by the 2014 buyout of the remaining shares.
American chain Lowe’s acquired Quebec’s RONA for C$3.2 billion in 2016, with a strategy. Small and mid-sized stores have kept the RONA branding, while bigger locations have been rebranded as large-format Lowe’s. The company’s smaller stores are also known as “proximity stores” averaging about 35,000 square feet, whereas its larger stores are each often 60,000 square feet.
"We are committed to RONA and the proximity building center model as one of Lowe's Canada pillar of growth," said Serge Éthier, Executive Vice-President of RONA Proximity. "RONA and Marcil operate in the same market segment, have complementary locations, and both serve a large client base of contractors and pros. It was therefore natural to combine the strengths of both banners. This decision will allow us to maximize our products and services offering to Marcil retail and professional customers, while simplifying our operations," he added.
The move is meant to solidify the RONA nameplate as being the top building centre chain in the country with small-to-medium locations. Starting February 26, shoppers at the former Marcil stores will have more to buy — its product selection will double as part of the name change, going from approximately 20 000 items to more than 40 000 products available in store and on rona.ca.
In addition, new product categories will be added to former Marcil stores, such as home appliances and a wide seasonal department, as well as from a transactional website that will not only let shoppers consult the product catalogue and verify store inventory, but also order online and collect their items in store or have them delivered by truck.
The RONA banner was founded in 1939 and now boasts a network of more than 430 stores, including both corporate stores as well as independent affiliates. Lowe’s is a Fortune 500 behemoth serving more than 17 million customers a week in the United States, Canada and Mexico, with its affiliated businesses seeing in excess of US $65 billion in sales in fiscal 2016 with more than 2,370 home improvement and hardware stores employing more than 290,000 people. Lowe’s Canada includes more than 600 corporate and independently run dealer stores under banners including Lowe's, RONA, Réno-Dépôt, Marcil, Dick's Lumber, and Ace Hardware, with more than 25,000 Canadian employees as well as an additional 5,000 employed by RONA’s independent affiliates.
Lowe’s Canada President Sylvain Prud'homme was recently appointed as Lowe's international President, effective as of December 15, 2017. He remains based in Boucherville.
*Photos are from Marcil's website.