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 From its first showroom opened in Toronto in 1957, Consumers

Distributing has grown to become the dominant catalogue and showroom retailer in Canada with such product lines as jewelry (including watches), home entertainment equipment, small appliances, toys and other juvenile goods, ready-to-assemble furniture, personal care products, and sporting goods. In its most-recent fiscal year ended Jan. 23, 1993, Consumers Distributing sales grew to more than $600 million, generating operating income of $16 million. The company employs more than 5,000 people on a full- and part-time basis in its 235 stores covering every community of at least 50,000 people across Canada.
 The Consumers Distributing name is recognized by an astonishing 98 percent of the Canadian population and it has achieved a market penetration level of nearly 75 percent of households in the areas served by its stores. A key reason for the company's recognition with consumers is that its catalogues and flyers are regularly distributed to 5.5 million Canadian homes. The catalogues and stores carry over 6,000 good quality, brand-name, very competitively priced items. Consumer's recently published fall 1993 catalogue features more than 500 items priced lower than in the previous edition, building on the 2,000 items priced lower in that catalogue than the one prior. The company also promotes "The 5 percent Promise," guaranteeing that it will beat any competitor's lower advertised price by 5 percent.
 Consumers Distributing became a publicly owned company in 1969. In the mid-1980s, Provigo Inc. (now known as Univa Inc.) bought both the publicly owned shares and those of the company's entrepreneurial founder, Jack Stupp. In April 1991, a Toronto-based investment management firm, Westbourne Management Group, with the support of a diversified Belgian company, Ackermans & van Haaren N.V., purchased the Canadian showroom operations of Consumers Distributing (the U.S. assets had previously been sold to another company). The buyers paid Provigo $190 million, made up of cash, two issues of 7 percent preference shares, notes and the assumption of all outstanding payables.
 Under the new owners, Consumers Distributing has flourished, achieving growing sales and profits as the new management team put in place an aggressive plan to increase market share through an expanded distribution network, tighter cost controls, a stringent quality control program, lower prices and significantly improved customer service.
 The company has opened new distribution centers in Calgary, Montreal and Cambridge, Ontario. In its first year of new ownership, Consumers Distributing added 11 stores by the end of 1992 and is adding a further 13 stores in 1993. Other initiatives have included additional staff training and incentive programs, tighter inventory control procedures, and the installation of the newest information systems and other computer technology to reduce costs and provide key support to marketing, merchandising, and store staff. These steps have helped the company to achieve a substantial improvement in its in-stock position to an outstanding 92 percent plus level, while also achieving what it believes is the lowest cost structure of any national Canadian general merchandise retailer. Despite the significant investments in new warehouses, stores and computer systems, the company has been solidly cash generative, so that it ended its last fiscal year with over $100 million of equity capital and below $10 million in total debts.
 Consumers' management team intends to continue making improvements, including further computerization and the addition of at least 30 more stores during the next 2-1/2 years. It also has introduced a Consumers Distributing credit card and extended warranties on merchandise it sells.
 Consumers actively supports a number of community charitable and cultural institutions. The company is particularly proud of its support for the Children's Miracle Network (supporting children's hospitals) where Consumers, together with its suppliers and employees, has raised more than $1 million in the past five years through Nicki Bear sales and the annual Nicki Bear Gala. Consumers' other community programs include active support of the United Way and the Shaw Festival at Niagara-on- the-Lake.
 -0- 12/6/93 AA NY080
 /PRNewswire -- Dec. 6/

CO: Consumers Distributing Inc.; Univa Inc. ST: Ontario IN: REA SU:

CK -- NY080A -- 1005 12/06/93 17:48 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Dec 6, 1993

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