January 25, 2010 / 4:11 PM / in 8 years

Rona to focus on Ontario, consolidate banners

TORONTO, Jan 25 (Reuters) - Rona Inc RON.TO, Canada’s largest home improvement chain said on Monday that it plans to bulk up its national presence, especially in the key Ontario market, by adding new stores and bringing some of its other chains under one banner.

The Boucherville, Quebec-based company with about 700 stores across the country, said during an investor presentation in Montreal that it planned to grow over the next three years. It plans to open at least two stores in Ontario this year, with another two stores set to open in Western Canada.

The company, which has depended on an aggressive acquisition strategy for growth, said it would also continue to look for key buyouts.

The company also plans to bring its Cashway and Lansing stores, which were bought a number of years ago, under the Rona banner.

The focus on Ontario comes as U.S.-based home improvement chain Lowe’s (LOW.N) said late last year that it expects to spend about C$200 million ($189 million) in 2010 and open eight to 10 new stores as it pushes further into the Canadian market.

Lowe’s, which currently has 15 Canadian stores, aims to keep up a pace of opening about 10 new stores a year for the foreseeable future.

$1=$1.06 Canadian Reporting by Scott Anderson; editing by Rob Wilson

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