Plush is one of the strongest growth categories for news agencies.
Stationery sales at news agencies dropped markedly in the pre-Christmas period according to the latest “benchmark survey” by news agency owner and commentator Mark Fletcher.
Fletcher, a director of franchise group newsXpress and software company Tower Systems, says the December 2016 quarter for traditional news agencies was “dreadful” with 85% of surveyed businesses reporting a decline in stationery sales with the average decrease being 2,7%.
The latest survey covered 171 news agencies – large and small, city and country, shopping centre and high street and from all Newspower, the various versions of Nextra and newsXpress as well as independents.
The overall results:
- Customer traffic – 67% of news agents report average decline of 2.6%;
- Overall sales – 63% reported an average revenue decline of 3.6%;
- Basket depth – 65% report a 1.2% decrease in basket size;
- Basket dollar value – 67% report a decrease in basket value of 2.1%; and
- Discounting – 27% of respondents use a structured loyalty offer such as points or some other discount.
Benchmark results by key departments:
- Magazines – 78% report an average decline in unit sales of 11.7%;
- Newspapers – 81% report average decline in over the counter unit sales of 11.6%;
- Greeting cards – 52% of report average revenue increase of 2%;
- Lotteries – 58% of those with lotteries report average decline of 2% in transactions;
- Stationery – 85% of news agents report a decline, with an average of 2.7%;
- Ink – 22% of stores report ink separately. Of these, 51% reported increase of 2%;
- Gifts – of the 72% with gifts, 74% report average growth of 6.9%;
- Tobacco – pf the 44% with tobacco, 85% report an average decline of 11%;
- Confectionery – of the 51% with confectionery, 60% report an average decline of 4%; and
- Toys – of the 16% with toys, 80% report growth of 6.7%.
On a brighter note, Fletcher says a third of participating news agency businesses doubled gift sales in the December 2016 quarter compared to 2015.
“The most successful news agency in gifts did over $100 000 in gift sales the quarter. This is a regional news agency in a high street situation,” he says. “The most successful news agency in the plush category did over $70 000 in plush revenue in the quarter.”