November 27, 2009 09:00 ET

RONA Unveils Innovative Succession-Planning Program for Store Ownership

Creation of a $100-million fund available to dealers and aspiring entrepreneurs

BOUCHERVILLE, QUEBEC--(Marketwire - Nov. 27, 2009) - RONA Inc. (TSX:RON), the largest Canadian distributor and retailer of hardware, renovation and gardening products, is introducing an innovative new succession-planning program designed to make it easier for family members of independent dealers, RONA employees or aspiring entrepreneurs from outside the Company to acquire stores.

Unveiled today at RONA's annual Spring Show, an event where 2010 innovations and exclusivities are presented to owner-dealers and store managers, the comprehensive program encompasses three aspects: personal, legal and financial. From a personal aspect, key elements range from the identification of potential successors to training and mentoring new owners. From a legal aspect, the program includes referral resources for the drafting of contracts and agreements. Financial dimensions cover the preparation of a business plan, tax planning and the financial structure of the transaction.

The succession-planning program also includes the creation of a $100-million special fund over a 10-year period to facilitate store acquisition transactions. RONA, RONA's affliliated dealers and a group of leading Canadian financial institutions will support the program.

"Our dealer network reflects the aging demographics of the Canadian population at large," observed RONA president and CEO Robert Dutton. "If we wish to sustain the strong growth of the network - and RONA's role as a leader in industry consolidation - we need to identify and attract bright, dynamic young people, from within and outside our organization, and provide them with the tools they require to succeed as entrepreneurs. This succession-planning initiative is designed to build on the market leadership RONA enjoys today and ensure the continued growth of its network. It also clearly illustrates RONA's strong commitment and support for the continued development of independent dealers in Canada."

Jean-Luc Meunier, RONA's senior vice president, affiliate dealer-owner network development, is responsible for overseeing the unique succession-planning initiative. He notes that the issue of succession can be particularly problematic for family-owned businesses that are typical of the highly fragmented hardware and home renovation industry.

RONA's succession program has been designed to meet the needs of Canadian storeowners who have already identified likely successors, such as sons and daughters, as well as those merchants for whom there is no heir apparent. "In the latter case," Mr. Meunier says, "we are fortunate to be able to draw on a pool of some 30,000 employees, including many ambitious and capable young managers who are eagerly seeking opportunities to become store owners. We are also welcoming aspiring entrepreneurs from elsewhere in our industry to join us."

The 64th edition of the Spring Show, occupying a 130,000-square-foot exhibition space at Montreal's Palais des congres, brings together dealer-owners and managers from RONA stores across Canada as well as many of the Company's suppliers. Some 2400 new products and 2500 exclusive items that will be available at RONA outlets in 2010 are being showcased at this year's event, under the theme "Doing it Right".

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 close to 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

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