Tag: sales

Bic lowers full-year growth forecast

French company Bic, known for its disposable lighters, ball-point pens and razor blades, has seen its sales stagnate over the past six months. The board has immediately lowered its full-year growth forecast.

1.063 billion euro turnover
Bic achieved a 1.063 billion euro six-month turnover (+ 0.3 % compared last year’s first semester), thanks to the Stationary division that grew 3.3 % and is the company’s largest division with a 428-million euro turnover. Distributors responded well to Bic’s novelties for the upcoming schoolyear, the Clichy-based company said.

Bic’s disposable lighters also continue to sell well and contribute 356.9 million euro, up 0.8 %. Its razor blade division did not do as well, as its turnover slumped 4.3 % to 236.4 million euro, mainly because of weaker sales in the United States. By comparison, Europe and the growth markets did display growth for the razor blade division.

Even though its second quarter turnover outperformed the first quarter, the board still dialed back its full-year growth forecast. “As markets remain volatile for the balance of the year, coupled with recent signs of lower consumption in Brazil, we now expect to trend between 3% to 4% Full Year Organic Net Sales growth”, Bic said. Only three months ago, it targeted a 5 % increase, but analysts had already stated that number was far too optimistic. The French group published a 2.026 billion euro turnover and a 249.7 million euro net profit.

By Karin Bosteels for www.retaildetail.eu

In case you needed another reminder that girls really do run the world, it turns out the Women’s March caused a huge spike in office supply sales in the United States during the week before the protest took place.

With an estimated 4,2-million attendees nationwide, the march for gender equality is widely regarded as the largest demonstration in American history, and judging from poster board and marker sales, it also involved an astronomical amount of clever signage.

Fortune reported that the NDP Group, a market research company, looked at the January sales figures for office supplies like posters, scissors, and tape — the stuff you would need to make, say, a homemade “Love Trumps Hate” sign. According to the report, more than 6.5 million poster boards were sold over the course of the month, with nearly one-third sold during the week before the Women’s March. Poster board sales were up 33 percent overall compared to the same time last year, and foam boards were up a whopping 42%.

Writing and crafting tools were up as well. Glue and tape sales spiked 27% and 12%, respectively, and marker sales went up by up to 35%.

The result? Millions of feminist signs demonstrating for gender equality on 21 January 2017.

Clearly, the Women’s March didn’t just provide an outlet for the frustration and anxiety felt by many Americans after the results of the presidential election. It gathered together millions of women and men, and as the sales figures demonstrate, the members of the Women’s March wield substantial financial power.

In fact, although women’s economic power is often downplayed or outright ignored, past research has suggested that they will become “financial powerhouses” by 2020, and they drive around three-quarters of consumer purchasing.

Activists have harnessed economic power for political good in campaigns like #GrabYourWallet, which boycotted retailers carrying Trump products, and the Bodega strike led by Yemeni business owners in protest of the first immigration ban. More recently, the Day Without a Woman — organized by the leaders of the Women’s March — called for women to take the day off from work, unpaid labor, and shopping, demonstrating women’s vital contributions to the economy and society as a whole.

In conclusion? Women are an economic force to be reckoned with, and it’s long past time businesses took note. In the meantime, be sure to spend your own money wisely and ethically.

By Claire Warner for www.bustle.com

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.”

Source: www.stationerynews.com.au

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

BIC reports strong BTS sales

BIC has reported that its stationery net sales for the first nine months of 2016 decreased by 0,6% but grew by 4,6% on a constant currency basis.

In Europe, the increase in nine-month net sales was in the high single-digits. The back-to-school sell-out was good, especially in France (where BIC gained market share for the 12th year in a row) and in the UK.

In North America, BIC registered low-single digit growth in the nine-month period. Market growth during back-to-school was in the mid-single digits (in value terms) with gains market share thanks notably to the performance of its top selling products.

Sales growth was in the low-single digIts in Latin America, with gains in market share in Brazil. In the Middle-East and Africa, BIC delivered very strong growth along with market share gains in South Africa and a good performance in Morocco.

Source: www.office-times.com

HP flounders in post-PC era

HP is set to cut between 3 000 and 4 000 jobs worldwide over the next three years, as it seeks to make savings as PC sales continue to plummet.

The world’s second-largest PC supplier has struggled in a dwindling market, and hopes the cutbacks will save the company between $200-million to $300-million annually by 2020.

However, HP will also incur an estimated $350-million to $500-million in restructuring costs.

According to a filing made to the Security and Exchange Commission on Thursday, HP plans to swing the axe between 2017 and 2019, spread across the many countries and regions the company operates in.

HP split into two divisions in September 2015, resulting in a loss of 30 000 jobs – almost 10% of the workforce. Today HP Inc oversees printers and computers while Hewlett Packard Enterprise focuses on enterprise services, though it has spun off much of its software business.

“I’m proud of the progress we have made in our first year as the new HP. Our focus is clear, our execution is solid, and we are positioned well for the next step in our journey,” says Don Weisler, president and CEO of HP, in a statement.

“We are confident in our strategy and believe it will continue to produce reliable returns and cash flow, while also enabling HP to invest in differentiated innovation and long-term growth.”

Weisler acknowledges that the market is currently “challenging”, but says the company is still “committed to innovating”, pointing to HP’s current opportunities in manufacturing and 3D printing.

The announcement comes during a global decline in PC sales, dropping 5,7% in the third quarter compared to last year according to a report by Gartner. This represents the longest period of decline in the history of the PC industry.

By Dale Walker for www.itpro.co.uk

WH Smith has reported a 5% year-on-year increase in profits at its high street stores for the 12 months ended 31 August, helped by strong stationery sales.

WH Smith chief executive Stephen Clarke said sales were boosted by the success of the Zoella Book Club – launched by millionaire vlogger Zoe Sugg in June.

The firm’s overall profits were up by 8% to £131-million.

“We have delivered a good performance across the group, with earnings up 10%,” Clarke said in a statement.

“Looking ahead, we will continue to focus on profitable growth, cash generation and investing in new opportunities.

“While the economic environment is uncertain, we are well positioned for the current year and beyond.”

WH Smith announced an 11% increase in ordinary dividends to 43.9p per share and added that it would buy back £50-million worth of its shares.

“The proposed increase in final dividend reflects the board’s confidence in the future prospects of the group, the strong cash generative nature of the business, and our progressive dividend policy,” the firm said.

Total group sales increased by 3% to £1,21-billion during the 12-month period.

By Karthick Arvinth for www.ibtimes.co.uk
Image: www.ibtimes.co.uk

Employment levels have dropped in six of the nine provinces in the year to June‚ Statistics South Africa said on Thursday.

KwaZulu-Natal‚ Gauteng and North West recorded the largest decreases at 77‚000‚ 28‚000 and 25‚000 respectively.

Employment gains were recorded in Limpopo‚ Western Cape and Northern Cape (31‚000‚ 9‚000 and 6‚000 respectively) over the same period.

At city level‚ compared to a year ago‚ employment decreases were recorded in three metropolitan municipalities. These were: Ekurhuleni metropolitan which recorded the largest decrease at 29‚000‚ followed by Nelson Mandela Bay (23‚000) and Buffalo City (3‚000).

Annual employment gains were recorded in five metropolitans‚ with the largest increase in the City of Cape Town at 43‚000.

Overall‚ Stats SA’s Quarterly Labour Force Survey showed that employment declined in the second quarter of 2016 by 129‚000 to 15‚5-million.

The quarterly decline in total employment was driven by job losses in Services‚ Agriculture‚ Transport and Mining.
Quarterly employment gains were observed in Manufacturing‚ Private households and Construction.

However‚ while Manufacturing created 67‚000 jobs quarter-to-quarter‚ Stats SA noted that the number of employed in this industry was lower compared to the same period last year (45‚000 or 2‚5%).

Formal sector employment declined for two successive quarters to 10‚9 million in Q2: 2016 but was still 0‚8% higher compared to the same period last year.

The informal sector contracted by 58‚000 or 2‚3% in Q2: 2016 – making it 5‚8% lower compared to the same period last year.

As to which jobs are shedding positions‚ Stats SA said that on a quarterly basis‚ employment decreased in six of the ten occupations in Q2: 2016.

The largest decreases were recorded in Sales & services (93‚000) and Plant & machine operator (70‚000) occupations. Over the same period‚ employment increased in four of the ten occupations; with the largest increases in Technician and Domestic worker occupations (56‚000 and 24‚000 respectively).

Year on year changes reflect employment decreases in six occupations‚ the largest decrease being recorded in Plant & machine operator (153‚000) occupations. In Q2: 2016‚ annual employment gains were recorded in four occupations – Professional (107‚000)‚ Manager (68‚000)‚ Technician (16‚000) and Domestic worker (7‚000).

Source: www.newswire.timesmedia.co.za

Economic instability and high rate of churn among employees within some companies is partly why leads are not being converted to iron clad sales.

Kevin Hall, national sales and marketing manager at leading ICT services and solutions firm Elingo, explains that slow economic growth means companies take time to make decisions, and a high staff turnover within the sales force results in inconsistency.

These factors are contributing to more companies struggling to transform leads into real sales opportunities.

This is the reality facing many businesses competing within emerging markets, and the reason targeted sales strategies are pivotal – and why their efficiency is entirely dependent on understanding market segments and prospective clients.

“Sales teams and sales people do not operate in silos, the effect of quality marketing materials, and specific case studies and white papers on specific verticals, should never be underestimated. The client would like to feel they are dealing with somebody that understands their unique industry and the challenges they face, not just a blanket approach,” says Hall.

Individualised communication

While some firms may scoff at the idea of having to enforce individualised, focused communication to clients, the fact is that this can make or break business relationships, according to Hall.

“The client has already told you what they want to read about, what they understand, and how they want to be marketed to. By not sending them individualised newsletters, and quality social media campaigns, you are just saying, ‘thank you for answering the questions on the marketing we sent you last year– we simply did not listen, and we just did it to sort out our POPI requirements, we don’t really care about you, and we are not intending to listen to you’ This is not the best start to any business relationship,” he says.

Understanding and communicating effectively will lead to sales success, not just fast talking and flashy presentations.

Elingo stresses that the success of personalised, focused communication (in other words generating and capitalising on leads) is also dependent on using the right platform at the right time for the right reason.

“We live in a world where information is just a click away, the client is not looking for you to share what he could have already understood on your website. Learn to find leads from social media. Having a strategy on LinkedIn does not mean just open an account and have a nice bio and profile picture. Lead generation should be a strategic focus, and understanding the interaction below the line will become even more important,” says Hall.

Another reality of the market today is that time is a premium commodity and few decision makers in business have the opportunity to engage traditional marketing models, including exhibitions and trade shows.

“Clients have less time to trawl through all the vendor marketing on line, they just want to find the solution to their problem, compare the price and speak to the right person the first time they contact you. Solid leads that sustain themselves on social media, and business networks will be based on apparent value propositions, not complicated mission statements,” Hall continues.

Technology is used to boost presentations, capture attention and help in the hunt for leads. Like any art, the ability to secure leads and really gain business requires practice and commitment.

As Hall explains, the challenge has become a lot more pronounced and ex-co level decision makers are too busy to delve into various value propositions.

“One should ask some very difficult questions when dealing with sales teams, like how many people are we seeing per month actually wanted the information we are providing, or the solutions we offer. In some ways technology is making the distance from the sales person to the decision maker shorter, because it’s easy to find who the decision makers are,” says Hall.

Staples chief executive says the retailer still hopes to overcome a government lawsuit blocking its takeover of rival Office Depot, even as the company prepares contingency plans to go it alone.

“We’ve been working on Plan B for several months at this point,” CEO Ron Sargent said in a conference call with analysts Friday, though he didn’t say how it might differ from Staples’ existing plan to close stores and expand its customer base. He says the office-supplies retailer is planning specific changes to improve its stand-alone performance “despite the fact that we’re focusing all our energies and efforts on getting this acquisition behind us.”

The assessment came after Staples reported fourth-quarter results that Sargent says fell short of management’s expectations. The company’s retail sales in North America dropped 5%, excluding newly opened and closed stores, as fewer shoppers visited its big-box stores. The chain has more than 1,900 locations around the world.

Sargent says the company has a plan to resume earnings growth this year after core earnings declined in 2015, though executives warned that sales will likely decline again in the current quarter.

Shares of Staples, which slid 2.7% to $9.60 on Friday, have fallen more than 40% over 12 months.

Staples has struggled with years of declining revenue as demand wanes for traditional office basics like folders and filing cabinets and as shoppers seek cheaper deals online. Managers last year pinned their hopes for a turnaround on a $6,3-billion combination with Office Depot designed to save on the operating costs from stores, distribution centres and executive offices. The cash-and-stock deal would be valued at about $5.2 billion at current prices.

The Federal Trade Commission in December sued to block the tie-up, saying it would result in higher prices and fewer options for big companies that buy office supplies in bulk. European officials signed off on the deal last month on the condition that Office Depot sheds its contract supply business and all its Swedish operations.

Staples in February also agreed to sell certain wholesale contracts, representing more than $550-million of annual sales, to Essendant Inc. for about $22,5-million if its Office Depot deal closes. The FTC has rejected Staples’ divestiture proposals.

The FTC in 1997 rejected Staples’ first attempt to buy Office Depot. But in 2013, the agency unconditionally approved Office Depot’s merger with OfficeMax, a move Sargent says should bolster the case for its new deal.

“Since 2013, competition has materially intensified, not lessened,” he says.

Even as it tries to add about 1 700 stores with the merger, Staples has been closing locations. In North America, the company closed 12 stores in the latest quarter, among 73 total closures last year. Staples says it expects to close about 50 North American stores in 2016.

Staples earned $86-million in the holiday quarter compared with a year-earlier loss of $260-million triggered by a write-down of the value of some of its international businesses. Overall revenue slipped 6,9% to $5,27-billion.

By Drew Fitzgerald and Joshua Jamerson for www.wsj.com

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