RONA INC.

TSX : RON


RONA INC.
STUDIO by RONA



STUDIO by RONA

November 12, 2009 11:06 ET

New STUDIO by RONA Banner Launched With Three New Stores in Quebec

Three locations offer a brand-new deco-renovation concept

BOUCHERVILLE, QUEBEC--(Marketwire - Nov. 12, 2009) - RONA Inc. (TSX:RON), the largest Canadian distributor and retailer of hardware, renovation and gardening products, has unveiled its new STUDIO by RONA concept with the opening of three stores in Quebec. Located in Saint-Leonard, Vaudreuil and Rosemere, these first STUDIO by RONA stores represent an investment of $1.5 million each and are the initial steps in a series of planned openings in Quebec in 2010 and then elsewhere in Canada. The concept is a new direction in interior decoration and renovation, designed to meet the needs of consumers as well as interior designers and professional painters. STUDIO by RONA is a first in the paint sector in Canada, and the only banner to provide a structured offer for these three different customer groups under one roof.

STUDIO by RONA is a new type of store, with an offer based on colours and combinations. At a maximum size of 10,000 square feet, the stores benefit from RONA's purchasing power to offer paint products and accessories at highly competitive prices. The offer also includes wallpaper, floor coverings, mouldings, window treatments and a whole line of services that reflect the needs and tastes of our customers.

"The launch of STUDIO by RONA is a strategic moment in RONA's development. It marks the transition between two phases of our 2008-2011 development plan, Phase I optimization and Phase II renewed growth," explained RONA president and CEO Robert Dutton. "Launching the STUDIO puts growth back in its rightful place in our development strategy. We're already the biggest paint retailer in Canada, so it should come as no surprise that we're trying to anticipate the expectations of this new customer group and adapt to this market segment. That's why STUDIO by RONA is more than a paint retailer: it offers a fully rounded architectural paint solution."

"STUDIO by RONA is first and foremost a place where customers can come for inspiration and find everything they need to make that inspiration a reality. STUDIO isn't about brand, it's about colour," said RONA executive vice president of merchandising Normand Dumont. "Our research confirms that the main driver of paint and interior decoration projects isn't brand, it's colour. By becoming the only boutique designed to meet the needs of consumers, interior designers and professional painters alike, STUDIO by RONA is meeting these new expectations and fulfilling a demand that has not yet been satisfied in Canada. With STUDIO, we expect to consolidate our leadership and increase our share of the dynamic interior designer and professional painter market."

"An interior decoration project is the sum of a great many individual ingredients. Paint, floors, wallpaper, window treatments and interior decorating accessories all contribute to the overall effect," said consultant and trend expert Josette Buisson. "With its innovative colour system, STUDIO by RONA puts colour front and central, where it should be, because people see colour as the unifying and motivating force of their interior decoration/renovation projects. The better we understand colour, the easier it is to use. STUDIO by RONA draws together the tools, advice, and solutions people need to successfully combine different decor elements and create the kind of spaces they dream of."

The colour centre

At the heart of the STUDIO by RONA experience is the colour centre, a space entirely dedicated to colour consultation, selection and creation. At the colour centre, customers have access to the widest array of large-size colour swatches on the market, with a selection of 800 of the latest colours specially chosen for RONA. The STUDIO by RONA colour system provides an inventory of thousands of colours and can accurately reproduce any tint or shade from any colour sample.

Starting in January 2010, the system will also feature a colour software program, designed exclusively for RONA, that can accurately create specific colours. Not only can the STUDIO colour program analyze a sample of the colour and accurately reproduce it, it can change the tint and saturation and identify the best complementary colours, giving consumers easy access to the most precise mixing and matching colour program available on the market.

The deco-renovation market

STUDIO by RONA is RONA's innovative response to an existing need in the Canadian deco-renovation market. Drawing on data from the Canadian Paint and Coating Association (CPCA) and commercial and marketing research firm Geocom - which suggest that 57% of Canadians have purchased paint in the last two years and that 1-2% growth is expected between 2008 and 2010 in the architectural paint market - RONA designed a store focused on paint and especially on colour.

In fact, 85% of the people who did renovation projects in the last two years in Canada used interior paint. In addition to these indoor paint jobs, 44% changed their window treatments, 36% changed their floor covering and 30% added mouldings. According to CROP, the home is becoming a focal point of self-expression and entertainment, a social gathering place where people want to express their creativity. In terms of deco-renovation, consumers are looking for a more complete and varied offer, where they can find unique or custom-made products to add an original touch to their homes. With their wide range of products, services and personalized advice, STUDIO by RONA stores offer a shopping experience that is tailored to the tastes and needs of each customer. STUDIO by RONA also offers a modern, uncluttered and appealing shopping experience, reflecting the trends noted by the CROP survey, which says that people are looking for a wider ranging, more satisfying experience when they shop.

STUDIO by RONA: a full, flexible offer

STUDIO by RONA stores provide a new deco-renovation experience, starting with an open, contemporary space with different work and service zones defined by customer group. Shoppers will find personalized service, free advice from designers, and coaching and support throughout the entire project. The range of products available on site includes paint, of course, as well as a wide selection of wallpaper, floor coverings, mouldings, window treatments (rods and fabrics), bedding fabrics and painting accessories.

Interior designers will also find a colour system with an index of thousands of colours, a broad selection of the interior decoration products inspired by the latest trends, the country's biggest collection of large-size colour swatches, reserved consultation spaces and technical support provided by a team of professionals.

For professional painters, who often have different needs and schedules, STUDIO by RONA offers efficiency and functionality, with privileged access to paint and tinting services, fast counter or delivery service, and special business hours.

Eco-responsibility

In keeping with our commitment to sustainable development, RONA concentrates its efforts on the reduction of its environmental footprint. One way we do this is by including LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) evaluation criteria in the design and construction of new buildings and in renovations to our existing buildings. The STUDIO by RONA store in Saint-Leonard has applied for LEED certification and serves as the reference model for the two other renovated stores and our future STUDIO stores.

The evaluation criteria used in Saint-Leonard include measures to improve air quality, such as the use of low-emission construction materials (paints, adhesives, waterproofing materials, etc.), energy efficiency measures (lighting control systems, timers to control light, air conditioning and heat during the day), and low-flow water fixtures. During renovations, management measures were also used to keep 75% of the waste materials out of landfill sites.

Wood from certified forests, as well as, recycled and locally made materials are also used in the store renovations. For store maintenance, we use environmentally friendly cleaning products. Finally, employees are offered bike racks and changing rooms, to encourage them to bike or walk to work.

Consumers will also be able to bring back leftover paint for recovery, and of course they'll have access to a wide range of environmentally friendly products, including RONA ECO paint, an EcoLogo-certified latex floor paint, natural stone ceramic floor covering, a 100% pre-consumer recycled polyethylene subfloor, solvent-free and low VOC glues and adhesives, and biodegradable wood cleansers.

About RONA

RONA is the largest Canadian distributor and retailer of hardware, home renovation and gardening products. RONA operates a network of close to 700 corporate, franchise and affiliate stores of various sizes and formats. With over 30,000 employees working under its family of banners in every region of Canada and more than 15 million square feet of retail space, the RONA store network generates over $6 billion in annual retail sales. For more information, please visit www.rona.ca.

An official photo of the opening ceremony is available on request.

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