Rona has faith that home tax credits will stimulate sales before 2010 recovery

The Canadian Press ~ The News
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MONTREAL - Home renovation and hardware retailer Rona Inc. (TSX:RON) says government home tax credits and the company's own incentive program are showing early signs of stimulating business before an expected economic recovery in mid 2010.
Chief executive Robert Dutton said it's too early to quantify the financial impact of the federal and Quebec rebates. But about 1,000 customers have signed up across the country to take advantage of the company's matching 10 per cent merchandise credit.
Combining the government and Rona programs provide a 20 per cent discount on home renovation repairs, construction materials and related hardware.
''It starts to be interesting. One shouldn't minimize that,'' Dutton told reporters Wednesday after speaking to a business luncheon.
The federal government announced the home renovation tax credit in its late January budget, hoping to stimulate the construction, lumber and retail sectors and create jobs.
Interest is spreading across the country but is strongest in Quebec because of the earlier start of the Quebec provincial incentive program.
Rona has trained employees to help customers with the various subsidies that are available.
Canada's largest home renovations company said it's cutting costs and improving its efficiency to weather the economic storm until consumers regain confidence and help stimulate a likely recovery next year.
''The basic goal of all the government recovery plans is to restore confidence,'' Dutton said earlier in his speech to the Quebec MBA Association.
Meanwhile, Dutton said Rona won't be affected by the refinancing plan and possible bankruptcy protection facing AbitibiBowater Inc. (TSX:ABH), its largest lumber supplier.
Other wood suppliers would fill the void should Abitibi's supply be compromised.
Rona's shares gained two cents at $11.82 in afternoon trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

Organizations: Rona Inc., TSX, Quebec MBA Association AbitibiBowater Inc. Toronto Stock Exchange

Geographic location: Quebec, MONTREAL, Canada Abitibi

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