BMR hardware chain joins Coop federee

Agrifood processor and ag retailer La Coop federee has moved from minority stakeholder to full owner of home reno and hardware retail chain Groupe BMR.

Coop federee, Quebec’s biggest agrifood company, announced Thursday it exercised an option in its 2013 purchase of a minority position in BMR, buying the retailer’s remaining shares and making it a wholly-owned Coop federee subsidiary.

Describing BMR as “a leader in Quebec and Canada’s retail, renovation and construction sectors,” Coop federee president Denis Richard said “uniting our operations strengthens our leadership in the hardware sector.”

Combining BMR’s stores with Coop federee’s hardware and farm machinery chain Unimat will create the second-largest hardware player in Quebec, with a total of 350 renovation centres and hardware stores, BMR honorary president Yves Gagnon said.

Both the Unimat and BMR brands will remain in use, the companies said.

Coop federee announced early last year it would shut down its Unimat distribution centre at Trois Rivieres, laying off over 230 employees by this spring. The move came after Coop federee first bought into BMR, citing the “purchasing power and economies of scale” in their association.

“Close to home”

Boucherville-based Groupe BMR connects home reno and hardware dealers in Quebec, Ontario, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, plus a store each in Charlottetown and on the French island of St-Pierre, employing about 5,000 people. Its annual sales are estimated at over $1.4 billion.

BMR (which stands for “building materials and renovation”) began in 1967 as Union-six, a small purchasing group of Quebec lumber and building supply dealers, expanding into a network of “renovation centres” in 1996 and hardware distribution in 1997.

Unimat includes over 175 Unimat and La Coop stores in Quebec, New Brunswick and eastern Ontario, handling farm tools, farm and forestry machinery and maple syrup harvesting accessories, plus retail hardware, construction and renovation materials and equipment and yard and gardening products.

Coop federee, which also operates fuel company Sonic and meat packer Olymel, developed its hardware and ag equipment retail arm starting in 1977; the Unimat arm booked 2012 sales of about $250 million.

“This union allows two significant Quebec leaders to keep on leveraging local talent to offer our members and consumers the opportunity to procure the products they need close to home, in their community, at competitive prices,” Coop federee CEO Gaetan Desroches said Thursday.

“The addition of Groupe BMR illustrates our will to build on the retail sector, particularly in the areas of renovations and building materials, and contribute to the growth of local economy, including in the agricultural sector.” — Network


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