Tag: growth

The London Stationery Show is held annually during National Stationery Week in the UK.

The seventh London Stationery Show closed its doors last week after recording its highest ever visitor numbers.

Visitors were up 9% on 2016 with registered attendees from 43 countries.

The show, which was purchased by Ocean Media Group last year, has seen consistent growth in the number and size of stands being requested by exhibitors and this year more than 160 exhibitors and 300 brands were represented. at the show. The show recorded the highest number of entries for its Stationery Awards, which this year topped just over 400.

“The show continues to grow and attract more support from the industry and interested buyers. We’ve had an excellent response from exhibitors wanting to book for next year, and strong interest in our new show, which will be based in Manchester,” Tim Willoughby, managing director at Ocean Media Group, which also owns the National Stationery Week program.

This year’s show, held at London’s Business Design Centre, introduced a LaunchPad competition to help aspiring stationery designers and companies get started in the industry. This resulted in 12 winners being given free stands at the show.

The 2018 London Stationery Show will be held on 24 to 25 April, 2018.

Source: www.stationerynews.com.au

The death of retail as we now know it is greatly exaggerated. Retail isn’t dying; it’s evolving. Just like it has done before. There has always been disruption in the retail sector. A major disruption occurred in the late 1800s when Sears introduced the catalog and brought the entire store into the homes of U.S. consumers. This gave Sears the same advantage over brick and mortar stores that ecommerce sites have today. Sears was simply responding to the needs of its customer since 60 percent of the U.S. population lived in rural areas at the time and didn’t have convenient access to stores. Sears would bring the store right to them.

The same principle of meeting customer needs holds true for the current retail evolution, which is being driven by a confluence of change. Changing consumer attitudes, behaviors, and demographics; ongoing channel and digital disruptions; and increasing competition for consumer mindshare and dollars are forcing a shift in long-held paradigms – continuing the status quo is no longer an option.

It’s now about customer engagement, not customer acquisition. Rather than a multichannel strategy, the strategy now needs to focus on the customer and finding new ways to deliver the products they want, when they want them, whether online or at a physical location. It’s no longer about brands, big logos, and price promotions, it’s about engaging consumers with experiences, personalization, quality, service, and value.

The traditional retail business model that has stood the test of time over the decades is now transforming at the speed of light. Retailers competing to stay in the game are turning their ecosystems on end, breaking down old-school beliefs, and reinventing themselves. Amidst all of this change, however, is one constant that has been a guiding principle of retail since it began and that is: know thy customer. Those retailers and brands that survive and thrive are those that base their decisions on the needs and wants of their customers; those that know their customers best and act on that knowledge.

Knowing Thy Retail Customer

Consumer Economy:

More than eight years after the Great Recession, the U.S. economy is improving at a slow and steady pace, but the consumer landscape has been fundamentally reshaped. Consumers entered 2017 with more confidence in their financial situation than they have had in years, but their attitudes and behaviors around spending have changed.

Even though incomes are improving, real income is still comparable to where it was in 2007, and that is impacting consumer spending decisions. The growth in single-person households has also decreased the number of dual-income households. Healthcare costs are growing exponentially and will continue to erode disposable income. National student loan debt is at an all-time high-and is expected to double in 10 years, causing Millennials to delay marrying, purchasing cars, buying homes, and making other major purchases. Retail sales and overall consumer spending, key drivers of economic growth, are suffering as a result of lackluster income growth and increased expenses. Looking at sales across the broad set of industries tracked by NPD, we see spending slowing in many categories, particularly in traditional bricks-and-mortar channels.

When consumers do spend, they have a variety of options vying for their dollars, including many that are not tangible products. Consumers are exhibiting an interesting shift in spending to the experiential, demonstrating their desire for something more, and something different – like activities, travel, and entertainment. For example, the U.S. government reports that from 2010 to 2015 consumer spending on sports and recreational vehicles increased by 45 percent, spending on foreign travel by 36 percent, and on hotels and motels by 43 percent. Spending outside of measured consumer goods categories is typically increasing faster than total consumer spending on average.

A Multicultural/Multigenerational Mosaic:

Today’s retail consumers collectively represent a multicultural, multigenerational mosaic. By 2044, the U.S. Census Bureau projects that more than half of all Americans will belong to a minority group, which is any group other than non-Hispanic White alone. By 2060, nearly one in five of the nation’s total population is projected to be foreign born. Overall, Millennials are more diverse than the generations that preceded them, with 44.2 percent being part of a minority race or ethnic group. Even more diverse than Millennials are the youngest Americans: those younger than 5 years old. In 2014, this group became majority-minority for the first time, with 50.2 percent being part of a minority race or ethnic group.

Millennials and Boomers are still the sweet spot demos for many retailers. Millennials have now surpassed Baby Boomers as the nation’s largest living generation and they are coming of age, working, developing careers, and raising families. Some 1.3 million Millennial women gave birth for the first time in 2015, and they now account for the vast majority of annual U.S. births, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Baby Boomers are refusing to be pushed aside by the younger generation or ignored by retail, and still account for the bulk of consumer spending growth in major products and goods categories. As Boomers age, over the next 10 years we will see dramatic growth in the population of consumers over age 65, influencing spending in new ways. As consumers retire, they have less disposable income and spend less. More than half of households over the age of 65 are in the bottom 40 percent of income. Also, older consumers tend to spend disproportionally more on services and experiences instead of products.

To know thy consumer is to also understand that within each of these demographic groups are sub- segments that think and behave differently from others in the same group. The needs and wants also vary. Fortunately with the use of data, insights, and analytic solutions, like consumer segmentations, retailers can get to know their customers up close and personal.

Onward and Forward

Whether driven by want or need, consumers will always be in the market for goods and services. Retail, in whatever format —physical or virtual — will continue to exist. Retailers and brands that are in it to win it will recognize the need to rethink the retail experience they provide. They will build business models that offer experience, service, and value to their customers and reflect the diversity of generations, life stages, and other influences that make up our world today.

By Marshal Cohen, Chief Industry Analyst – Retail, The NPD Group

The country’s gross domestic product contracted 0.3% in the fourth quarter of 2016, according to Statistics South Africa (Stats SA).

Stats SA released the data in Pretoria on Tuesday. Overall GDP grew by 0.3% in 2016. This is lower than growth of 1.3% reported in 2015.

The main contributors to negative GDP growth were the mining and quarrying industry and the manufacturing industry.

Commodities showed a declining trend, according to Michael Manamela, chief director of national accounts. Mining and quarrying decreased by 11.5% due to a drop in the production of coal, gold and other metals including platinum.

Manufacturing decreased by 3.1%. This was brought on by a decline in manufacturing of food and beverages, petroleum, chemical products, rubber and plastic products as well as motor vehicles, parts and accessories of transport equipment.

Agriculture declined by 0.1% but although negative, it showed signs of improvement, said Manamela. “What is important is that the trajectory is upward and we should see an improvement in 2017.”

The primary and secondary sectors declined by 9% and 1.8%, respectively.

The tertiary sector grew by 1.3%. The largest contributors to GDP include trade, catering and accommodation industry and finance, real estate and business services.

Expenditure on GDP

Expenditure on GDP decreased by 0.1%, and overall expenditure lifted 0.5% in 2016. This is lower than the expenditure of 1.2% reported in 2015.

Household final consumption expenditure increased by 2.2% in the fourth quarter. It contributed 1.3 percentage points to total growth. The largest contributors to growth include food and non-alcoholic beverages which went up 2.4%, and clothing and footware which rose 10.4%.

Growth in semi-durable goods grew 6.8%, followed by services at 3.2% and non-durable goods at 0.3%. Durable good spend only increased by 0.2%.

Government final consumption expenditure increased 0.3%.

Growth in investment expenditure increased by 1.7%. The largest contributor to growth was construction works, which increased 3.6% and contributed 1.2 percentage points to growth.

Net exports contributed positively to growth in expenditure, said the report. Exports increased by 12.5%, due to higher exports of precious metals and mineral products. Imports increased by 6.1%.

Fin24 previously reported that economists were expecting low growth in the fourth quarter. South Africa’s GDP growth rate on a yearly basis until the end of September 2016 was at 0.7%, which was impacted by a 0.1% contraction in the first quarter of 2016 and low growth in the following quarters.

South Africa’s GDP growth rate on a yearly basis until the end of September 2016 was at 0.7%, which was impacted by a 0.1% contraction in the first quarter of 2016 and low growth in the following quarters.

Further, the Business Confidence Index declined to 38 in the fourth quarter of 2016 from 42 in the previous period, explained Giacomo Bonavera, head of foreign exchange trading at Capilis Asset Managers, who wrote in Finweek on Monday.

“An increase in activity in the finance, transport and communication, real estate and construction sectors was offset by a decline in the agriculture, mining and manufacturing industries,” he said.

National Treasury said in its budget in 2017 that it expected the country to grow by 1.3% in 2017, and by 2% in 2018. It also sees inflation falling to 6.4% in 2017 and 5.7% in 2018.

By Lameez Omarjee for Fin24

None of us is as smart as all of us

As we enter a new year, it is prudent to pause and consider the many challenges and opportunities we are likely to face in the year ahead. Matters of innovation, digital transformation, technological advancement and business success often take center stage, but for me there is one aspect of our business which I believe will be instrumental to our success on the African continent: that of diversity.

A vibrant and dynamic continent
According to UNESCO estimates, Africa is home to as many as 3 000 ethnic groups speaking more than 2 000 different languages across 54 countries. The African population is the second-largest of all continents, as well as the youngest. In some African countries, up to half the citizens are under the age of 25. Any company wishing to do business successfully in Africa must prioritise diversity, or run the risk of alienating the very people with whom they want to do business.
Whilst Africa may sometimes be perceived to be making slow progress with modernization; it is in many respects a world leader. Recent statistics regarding gender diversity in particular have been encouraging: the 2016 McKinsey Women Matter Africa report found that in Africa, 29% of senior managers are women, and 5% of African companies are headed up by female CEOs. While this is still low, it beats the global average (in Europe, female representation at CEO level is only 3%) and points to a concerted and honest effort to bring equal opportunity to women in the workplace.

The business case for diversity
I am of the firm belief that a company that champions diversity will be more innovative, able to respond quicker to changing customer needs and in a better position to adapt to the challenges presented by a rapidly evolving global economy, than its more homogeneous peers. Data supports this: research has found that African companies with at least a quarter share of women on their boards, had on average 20% higher earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) than the industry average.
More tellingly, the global war for talent, which is set to be one of the core issues businesses will face in the next few decades, makes workplace discrimination a recipe for failure. Any business that ignores the contribution, skill, and talent of a potential employee purely based on their gender or culture or background, is effectively undermining its own ability to adapt and survive in a rapidly shifting and evolving global market.
Decades of science backs this: socially diverse groups (those with a diversity of race, ethnicity, gender, and sexual orientation) are more innovative than homogeneous groups, as they are better at solving complex, non-routine problems, anticipating alternative viewpoints, and making important decisions.

Understanding our customers
For companies wishing to do business here, having a culturally and gender-diverse workforce in place is essential to success. At SAP, we have a vision of making the world run simpler. Achieving this vision requires us to focus not just on the technology, but on the customer journey. We can’t understand what journey our customers want to go on, if we don’t understand our customers, of which SAP has an immense and diverse base that spans the globe. We must employ, empower, and inspire a diverse workforce if we are to realise our “Run Simple” vision.
As a business, we have made great progress on the road to diversity and inclusion. Globally, SAP set a goal in 2011 of ensuring that 25% of people in leadership positions are women by 2017. At SAP Africa, 33% of leadership positions are now occupied by women. We are also introducing new initiatives to support and inspire women in technology. Our Women in Data Science initiative, a collaboration between SAP’s Next-Gen Lab and Stanford University in the US, is designed to inspire women to pursue careers in tech, create awareness about data science, and showcase and celebrate the achievements of women in tech.

Playing an active role in fostering a culture of diversity
At SAP, it is critical to focus on how we can embrace diversity and instil a culture which enables success in a globalised workforce. By creating a diverse team with a range of experiences and perspectives, you can unlock new approaches to problems that seemed insurmountable at first. This, of course, depends on there being a culture which encourages all team members to look for the strengths that each unique individual brings to the team and incorporate their views into the customer solution.
Driving a successful diversity strategy begins with the senior leaders; but in order for it to be fully sustainable, it needs to be lived by each and every one of us.
That is my call to action to all staff, partners, vendors and even our customers: make diversity a core focus for your business this year. Enable the people who work with you to bring diverse viewpoints and experiences to the boardroom table. Inspire your teams to have the courage to bring new perspectives to existing problems and challenges. Instill a culture of openness and trust that makes it easier for people to contribute to the success of the organisation. Never doubt that your contribution has value to the team, the business and society at large.
Our success as a business, and as individuals, will be inextricably linked to our ability to foster diversity in the workplace. Can any of us truly afford to ignore the challenge?

By Brett Parker, MD of SAP Africa

Massmart holds steady in turbulent times

A sales update from Massmart has revealed so-so results, but in these trying times that’s just a couple of notches down from a howling success.

Sales were up 7,7% to R91,3-billion in the 52 weeks to 25 December, ahead of product inflation of 6,7%, but down from market expectations, and from last year’s performance (growth of 8,4% against product inflation of 3%).

Masswarehouse – that’s Makro to the rest of us – grew fastest, at 11%, while Masscash (Cambridge, Jumbo and so on) grew at 7,5%, although this was beaten down by internal inflation of 9,3%.

Massdiscounters (Game, DionWired) came in at 5,3%, while Massbuild somewhat disappointingly trundled home at 5,6%.

While there was an uptick in sales at home, they declined elsewhere, vindicating the decision to take it easy in Africa.

Source: Trade Tatler

New Year’s resolutions aren’t just about diets, marathons or finally growing that vegetable garden you promised you’d start last year – they’re pertinent for business too. In the same way New Year’s resolutions help you focus on personal goals for the coming year, so can they improve productivity in the office – no matter what your business. Here are resolutions you can make to thrive professionally in the year ahead:

Write a growth plan
The first step in ramping up your business and career goals is putting a plan in place. Research shows there’s substantial benefit in having a formal, written strategy for growth, as opposed to pie-in-the-sky hopes for development. If you have one already, now’s the time to do a quick review and consider updates where necessary.

The goals should be achievable, like improving office communication, meeting deadlines or acquiring new skills. Unrealistic ideas will only lead to frustration rather than improvement. Once you’ve formalised your plan, share it with key staff members and get their buy-in before the year kicks off.

Get organised
Success is in the small things as much as the macro goals. Tasks like organising office space, computers or the server are essential before heading into the year. De-clutter your inbox and organise files into designated folders on your computer – then encourage all office members to do the same. Remove unnecessary clutter around your desk, store what you still need and throw away what’s not being used.

Having a clean workspace – physically and electronically – will help you start the year with a clear, stress-free mind. Allocate time for an office clean-up and make de-cluttering a fun activity – with an incentive at the end, like pizza for lunch. Organise stock rooms and shuffle the floor plan if necessary.

Communicate with staff members to get their input on logistical office-related issues – then workshop some solutions. Consider automating processes, such as workflows, to make the office more organised and decrease paperwork.

Improve well-being
Employees and managers should realise looking after themselves (and their teams) is as important as the time put into work. If you’ve been struggling to establish a work-life balance culture in the office, now’s the time to reset.

Encourage employees to free up time to recharge by working smarter, not harder when in the office. Consider introducing ‘power hour’ to kick-start productivity (slots of time when employees can’t disturb one another). If personal well-being isn’t managed, it impacts on performance and effectiveness.

Schedule health checks with each staff member in the first few weeks of the New Year. It’ll give you a good idea of what needs to be adjusted going forward.

Embrace new trends
New technology emerges every year in vast quantities. Rather than trying to embrace every new trend, success can be found in honing in on one area in which you want to up-skill or improve – then seeking out tech and software to enhance it.

There’s huge benefit in embracing new and adaptive technology and leveraging it so it works for your business. You might be keen to improve communication within the team and could explore messaging software or tools to streamline project management. If your business needs it, it’s probably out there.

Introduce training and development
In the New Year, prioritise personal development. In reviewing your own goals and the goals of your team, evaluate skills and set-up training sessions within the organisation. Pair employees up with mentors to help them grow and pursue new career opportunities. Encourage team members to send out calendar invites for mentoring sessions ahead of time and, where possible, stick to them religiously.

To help keep your New Year’s resolutions, make sure you have an actionable plan with defined goals and a process for monitoring progress. Just like the vegetable garden you want to start, businesses take time, investment and nurturing to grow. So plant new seeds in the New Year – then watch business flourish in 2017.

The event, including the Remanexpo product group, will take place in Dubai from 14 to 16 March 2017, with global stationery and office suppliers targeting the “emerging” market.

In a press release, show organisers Messe Frankfurt Middle East reported that the “emerging Middle East and African” markets are making “leading international brands turn to” the event to “boost regional exports”. The event will take place from 14 to 16 March at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre in the UAE, and the company added that international suppliers “are turning to the Middle East and Africa (MEA) for future business growth”.

The UAE is also “presenting itself as the ideal gateway to access hard-to-reach markets”, with growth globally in stationery and office supplies “expected to come from emerging markets” including the MEA. The organisers cited data from analysts Technavio, who predict that there will be an “annual market increase” in the MEA of 15 percent, as well as fellow analysts Conlumino, who estimate the MEA market for “paper, stationery and office supplies” will be worth $12 billion (€11.3 billion) by 2019.

Over 300 exhibitors from over 36 countries will be taking part in the show, with Messe Frankfurt Middle East noting that “while some suppliers are now just testing the waters, other have been in the market for many years”. The seventh edition of the show will make it the “region’s largest B2B trade show covering the entire range of stationery and office supplies”, with a “strong European presence” seeing exhibitors from the UK, Portugal, France, Germany, Spain and Italy.

Other “key exporting exhibitor countries” with exhibitors present include China, Thailand, Indonesia, South Korea, Japan and Turkey, while Messe Frankfurt Middle East pointed out that last year’s show saw a “record turnout of exhibitors and visitors” which “firmly cement[ed]” the show’s position as the “must-attend trade show” for the region’s paper, office supplies and stationery markets. In total, last year saw 6,774 visitors from 101 countries, an 11 percent increase on 2015, with 304 exhibitors.

Ahmed Pauwels, CEO of Messe Frankfurt Middle East, commented: “Shifting tides in international trade and economic uncertainty over the last 12 months has meant global manufacturers have had to refocus their export outlook, and the MEA is grabbing their attention. Paperworld Middle East provides unmatched access to market representatives from the fast-growing Middle East, Africa, Central and South Asia regions, and has seen increasing numbers of leading international brands and players participating from across the world.”

Source: www.therecycler.com

CV fraud: what you need to know

With about half of the world’s fastest growing countries based in Africa, the continent is quickly becoming a global business and economic hotspot.

However, hand-in-hand with this growth comes rapid industry expansion, recruitment of a global workforce and – of notable concern – increasing risk of qualification and CV fraud.

This is according to Ina van der Merwe, director and CEO of African background screening market leader, Managed Integrity Evaluation (MIE), who highlights that African qualifications carry a high risk of being fraudulent.

“As a whole, cross-border qualifications are more likely to be fake, altered or all together fraudulent. Our data suggests that risk indicators on these qualifications have increased from 40% in 2015 to 43% in 2016 to-date (January to October).

“Although a portion of this risk can be attributed to other confounding factors, it is clear that there is a greater propensity for qualification fraud with foreign candidates or in countries where background screening is not yet common practice. A candidate may be less likely to lie on their CV if they know that their credentials will be verified.

“Unfortunately, our research shows that the vast majority of cross border recruits are not being screened sufficiently. This means that while opportunities for global competitiveness are abundant, there are an overwhelming amount of job-seekers who are less than honest about their professional capabilities. And seeing that these facts aren’t properly checked, organisations are at high risk of financial and legal implications,” she explains.

Findings from Lex Mundi’s Emerging Africa Conference in Cape Town note that by 2040, Africa’s working age population will rise to 1,1-billion – greater than the working age populations of China and India combined.

With this in mind, Van der Merwe suggests that the drive for business, investment and employment within the continent is clearly justified. However, the risks associated with qualification and CV fraud means that businesses need to strongly consider implementing an international screening program.

“An international screening program ensures that all credentials are verified through relevant and accurate measures irrespective of that credential’s country of origin. This also includes various vetting services such as criminal record and credit history checks which, in addition to qualification verification, are in high demand across specific industries in Southern, East and West Africa specifically,” she says.

She adds that performing a background check on a candidate or employee with foreign work experience or qualifications is typically viewed as being far more complex than doing so locally.

“This is likely the major issue which has held businesses back from conducting such checks in the past. However, this simply cannot be the case moving forward.

“As globalisation continues to blur borders, international screening needs to become a priority and top vetting organisations have solutions and centralised teams in place to make it possible.

“Ultimately, to avoid taking a financial and reputational hit while exploring all Africa has to offer from a growth perspective, it is essential for businesses to know – and verify – their staff,” Van der Merwe concludes.

Source: www.mie.co.za

Massmart growth stutters

Massmart has posted figures for the first 44 weeks of the year. While food and liquor sales have held their own, GM has lagged, and this has made for an overall sales growth across the group of 5,3% excluding new stores, against internal inflation of 6.4%.

Here’s the breakdown of the divisions, excluding new stores:
* Masswarehouse (Makro and Fruitspot) – 7.5%
* Masscash (Jumbo, Shield, CBW, Cambridge etc.) – 8.5% after store closings
Massbuild (Builders Warehouse, Builders Express etc.) – 1.1%
Massdiscounters (Games, DionWired ) – 0.5%

Even a business as diversified as Massmart has been unable to escape the worst effects of this thing which must not be called a recession.

Source: Trade Tatler

China’s growing power

Napoleon Bonaparte once said of China, “Let her sleep, for when she wakes, she will shake the world.”

A spate of articles and books has appeared on the rise of China and its possible domination of the world. The Middle Kingdom has received special attention because it is ideologically and culturally different from the West.

Military strategists and geopolitical thinkers have their own concerns: the country’s leadership does not make its political ambitions clear, nor has the military been open about the degree of its expansion.

The United States still remains the sole superpower but with the rise of “the rest,” particularly China, the present structure of the world order will eventually be reconfigured. In reality, China is not rising but as Aaron Friedberg states, “it is returning to the position of regional preeminence that it once held.” Indeed, China dominated that region for centuries.

Among those who argue that China will rule the world in the near future is Martin Jacques – a British journalist who is the author of When China Rules the World: The End of the Western World and the Birth of a New World Order.
However, before China can become a legitimate superpower, it must meet its internal and external challenges and make some fundamental political changes.

China’s nine percent economic growth rate since 1990 has enabled it to expand its sphere of influence and gain ground not only in Asia but also in Africa and South America. This influence will probably continue to grow in the future.
In Central Asia, China has invested billions of dollars in oil and natural gas companies to secure its long-term energy demands. China is making large investments in South America as well – America’s own backyard. In addition, China is the preferred partner of many governments in Africa and is becoming the largest trading partner of Brazil and South Africa – both rising economic giants.

Nevertheless, all these investments and China’s attempt to spread its soft power do not guarantee that China is becoming the next world power, for it has major internal issues to deal with. It must deal with an aging population and gender imbalance produced by its one-child policy. It must deal with its water shortage problem and with pollution. These are not the only problems facing China. It must also find a way to produce millions more jobs in order to continue its economic growth. It must overcome internal ethnic issues, economic disparity, virile nationalism, and as Henry Kissinger observes, it must be able to “absorb six million people moving into the cities every year.”

Besides fighting separatist groups in Xinxiang, a problem China will face for years, it also has Taiwan to worry about. This issue remains China’s top foreign policy priority. I believe China can become a superpower when it is no longer focused on its domestic issues. Think about the United States. It was able to focus on external issues when it won the last battle against American Indians in 1890 in South Dakota. In brief, China cannot rule the world until it consolidates its territory.

In order for China to gain hegemonic status on the world stage it must also become an innovative society, a society that nurtures political and economic institutions. It has had tremendous economic growth, but that has not launched it on a trajectory of scientific revolution that led to the rise and ascendancy of the West. Nor does it have innovative and creative companies that could parallel Apple, Google, Twitter or Facebook. Given these challenges, China has a long and complicated road ahead before it can claim the status of a superpower.

By Fahim Masoud for www.intpolicydigest.org

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