Tag: stationery

Amazon has sent shockwaves through the food retailing business with its near $14-billion acquisition of natural and organic food chain Whole Foods.

The move has dominated the financial news over the past three days and has been called a game-changer for the food retailing industry, but could there be wider ramifications for the business supplies industry? We suggest a few things to think about…

Whole Foods locations could be used as collection points for Amazon online sales, providing customers with more delivery options.

Whole Foods stores could act as local distribution hubs for fast delivery, two hours or even less, and give Amazon a stronger last-mile delivery presence.

Amazon’s move could have a disruptive effect on the wider food retailing industry. There is already speculation about the need for accelerated consolidation in the mass and grocery sector, and if that happened that would affect vendors that sell into these retailers.

Amazon has been testing more consumer-friendly retail concepts, such as its Amazon Go initiative where customers just pick items off shelves without the need to go through a checkout. Acquiring Whole Foods will give it a wider test platform and could lead to faster adoption of some of these shopping innovations as well as speeding up digital transformation in the retail sector in general.

We have previously downplayed the idea of Amazon acquiring retail locations in the business supplies channel because there was no indication that it would make a significant move into the retail space. That has now changed, and the Whole Foods deal validates Amazon’s belief in an omnichannel experience that combines the digital and physical worlds.

Could this mean that Amazon now looks to acquire retailers in other business segments, such as office supplies, and that Staples or Office Depot’s stores could be on the Amazon radar? Possibly, especially if Amazon is not happy with the way that Amazon Business is growing; it hasn’t updated its customer and sales figures on Amazon Business in the US since April 2016. Is that because the growth rate has slowed and it’s not getting the traction it thought it would after Amazon Business’ initial success?

The Whole Foods acquisition is reportedly being driven by difficulties Amazon was having in growing its Amazon Fresh grocery delivery business. If Amazon Business is stalling or not growing fast enough, then why wouldn’t Amazon look at buying growth? We now know that this strategy is part of Amazon’s playbook.

By Andy Braithwaite for OPI.net

Queens speech delayed by stationery

Traditionally, the U.K. Parliament starts off every year with a speech by the current monarch, which outlines the direction the ruling party wants to take the government.

But the queen’s speech might get delayed this year — and the government says paper is partially why.

Turns out the queen can’t just print out her speech on a few sheets of A4. It has to be written on special goatskin paper — which, despite the name, doesn’t involve actual goats.

The special paper ensures the speech will last longer in Parliament’s national archives — but it also means the ink will need a few days to dry.

Normally this isn’t a problem because both major parties already know what they want their government to look like. But the surprising election results have forced the ruling Conservative Party to negotiate with a regional party in Northern Ireland to maintain its majority.

Those talks are still going, which means it’s too early to start putting a government together on paper — at least, on archival goat paper.

What is goatskin paper?

Goatskin paper is a thick and ornate parchment on which the Queen’s Speech is written.

While it was traditionally made from real goat skin, its modern form contains no animal hide at all.

But it keeps its name because it has a watermark in the shape of a goat.

Westminster veterans still refer to “going goat” to mark the moment the Speech needs to be ready by so that the ink can have time to dry before being sent to the Queen for her approval.

Why is it used in the Queen’s Speech?

The posh paper is used for the special occasion of the State Opening of Parliament.

On it is written the Queen’s Speech, which sets out the Government’s plans and legislative priorities for the year ahead.

But after the 2017 snap election led to a hung Parliament, it was reported that Theresa May would push back the speech from the original date of June 19.

It was thought she needed time to organise a deal with Northern Ireland’s DUP to support the Conservatives in a minority government in case they made ultimatums over Tory policies.

By Neal Baker for The Sun; and Matt Picht and Katie Link for www.abc2news.com

Office Depot has announced the results of an educator productivity survey whose findings uncovered the minimum cost of US teacher time spent researching and buying supplies for their classrooms is more than half a billion dollars.

“We are proud to partner with public and private schools around the country to reduce educators’ out-of-pocket expenses and time spent sourcing classroom supplies through our classroom enablement programs and print services instructional materials solutions.”

The non-profit Center for College & Career Readiness and Office Depot’s Committed to Learning initiative recently surveyed more than 2 800 educators regarding purchasing and researching needed supplies for use in the classroom.

An average teacher’s salary is more than $55,000 per year (roughly $26 per hour) and there are more than 3.5 million full- time teachers in the US, therefore based upon the results of the survey, the costs of researching and purchasing classroom supplies could reach over $500 million.

A few key findings from the survey:

  • Nearly 70% of respondents indicated that a central purchasing hub would save time and money when buying classroom supplies;
  • 42% of the educators surveyed reported purchasing classroom supplies every month;
  • More than 30% indicated they spend more than 10 hours every year researching and buying supplies for the classroom; and
  • 50% of the educators surveyed preferred to purchase classroom supplies online.

Office Depot partners with school districts from Connecticut to California to bring strategic planning expertise and a team of education experts to help plan, produce and deliver classroom materials, allowing educators to save time in the classroom. Through www.officedepot.com, educators have access to an easy-to-use central purchasing hub that helps with streamlining buying decisions.

“These survey findings show the increased demand for educator support when it comes to researching and purchasing classroom supplies,” said Becki Schwietz, senior director of growth strategies for Office Depot.“We are proud to partner with public and private schools around the country to reduce educators’ out-of-pocket expenses and time spent sourcing classroom supplies through our classroom enablement programs and print services instructional materials solutions.”

Office Depot collaborates with school districts and other educational institutions through the company’s Committed to Learning initiative, which offers educators access to a national team of curriculum and instruction experts across disciplines. Through the Committed to Learning initiative, the company partners with school districts to meet their strategic goals by providing instructional solutions and access to experts that enrich the learning experience in the areas of personalized learning, project-based learning and innovative learning spaces, culture and wellness, instructional resources, and supplies.

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

South Africa pushes up BIC’s figures

French writing instruments vendor, BIC, has reported strong Q4 growth. According to the company, stationery sales increased by 7.8% to €165.6-million.

Sales were high in emerging markets such as South Africa and Brazil, owing to the back-to-school season, while in India sales also improved. The company reported mid-single digit growth in Europe and high-single digit growth in North America.

Overall, FY2016 sales for the Stationery division increased by 5.2% in constant currency to €736.6 million. Stationery volumes increased 1.5% to 6.9 billion units in 2016.
Looking ahead into 2017, the firm outlined priorities to deliver organic sales growth and gain market shares in the division through new product launches, increased R&D investment and new emerging channels such as e-commerce in developed countries.
Meanwhile in its Graphic arm, Q4 sales fell 13.6% to €94.6 million. Full-year sales also dropped, registering a 1.9% fall to €311.5 million.
BIC’s overall full-year sales rose 4.9% to €2.03 billion, while pre-tax profit dropped 10.7% to €408.1 million.
Earlier this month, BIC revealed that a strategic review of its promotional products unit would hit group FY2016 profits. The company has now revealed a €48.4 million hit from these operations.
Bruno Bich, chairman and CEO, says: “Our solid 2016 results are further testimony to the quality and strength of our business model. In a fast-moving and challenging market environment, such as in Shavers in the US, net sales growth was robust and consistent across all consumer categories. Despite the planned increase in operational investment, normalised income from operations remained healthy.
“In 2017, the volatility of currencies and the unpredictable global environment will require increased levels of agility from our teams to ensure continued success. We plan to deliver mid-single digit organic growth in Net Sales. We will continue to launch new products and strengthen our distribution, with a focus on e-commerce in developed markets.
“To enhance long-term growth, we plan another year of selected investments in R&D, CAPEX and Brand Support. The total impact of these investments on Normalized Income From Operations margin will be approximately -100 basis points compared to 2016, excluding major currency fluctuations.”

Source: www.finance.yahoo.com

School stationery woes plague Limpopo

The South African Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu) in Limpopo says delays with the delivery of stationery have improved but the Sekhukhune district still remains a concern.

Sadtu members from various regions reported on the progress of stationery delivery in the province.

While deliveries had been made to most schools, Sadtu claims that some schools in Vhembe and Mopani are yet to receive stationery.

But the union has added that the situation is no longer a crisis there.

Sekhukhune, however, remained a worry.

“Vhembe and Mopani have picked up in terms of stationery delivery, there is no crisis now. The crisis remains at Sekhukhune,” Sadtu provincial secretary Matome Raphasha told News24 on Thursday.

The union hoped that the education department would move swiftly to address the problem as it argued that the lack of these materials at schools could have a ripple effect and affect final exams.

Court challenge

“It is possible that there could be omissions and shortfalls,” said Limpopo education department spokesperson Naledzani Rasila.

Rasila advised affected schools to contact their circuit offices.

Earlier this year a legal challenge was launched over the tender to deliver stationery in the province.

On Tuesday the education department was successful in a case involving two service providers who claimed that those awarded the stationery delivery tenders were irregularly appointed.

The two losing bidders took the department to court to try and get an interdict and to overturn its tender decision, and therefore halt delivery of stationery in the province.

The companies, Afropulse and Freedom Stationery, sought to overturn the awarding of the tender to African Paper Products and instead have it awarded to the two companies.

But the department had argued that it had almost completed the delivery of stationery to the 4 000 schools in the province.

By Chester Makana for News24

No stationery for Limpopo schools

The department of education says delay in the delivery of stationery is mainly due to the appointment of a new supplier.

The academic year began on a bad note due to some schools in the Tzaneen area having not received all their Learner and Teacher Support Material (LTSM).

Hudson Ntsanwisi Secondary School only received textbooks for Grade 12 before the school holidays and the other grades still have not received theirs by Wednesday, Letaba Herald reported.

Meanwhile, Ben Vorster High School received theirs, but they did not receive their writing journals on the first day of school.

The department of education spokesperson, Naledzani Rasila, said the delay in the delivery of stationery was mainly due to the appointment of a new supplier, following the expiry of a three-year contract that supplied stationery to all government schools in the province.

“Delivery of textbooks, in the form of top-ups, on the other hand, has been delivered to all the schools that have made their orders in time. However, mop-ups continue in schools that did not place their orders in time to ensure that teaching and learning goes on unhindered. Schools and their management teams will be updated at all the time through their circuit offices and districts,” Rasila said.

He further said that they were monitoring closely the delivery of learner support material and that they would like to apologise to the school community for any inconvenience that might have been caused by this delay.

“We are working around the clock to ensure that delivery is completed by the end of January,” concluded Rasila.

Meanwhile, the Democratic Alliance (DA) is having none of that.

They said they were irked that the MEC of education, Ishmael Kgetjepe, had once more distorted the truth and covered up the incompetency of his department around the delivery of textbooks to schools in Limpopo for the new academic year.

“As the academic year commences, our learners and teachers will remain in the starting blocks waiting for textbooks and learning materials, which most of them cannot afford to purchase. We will write to MEC Kgetjepe to determine this and request an update regarding the textbooks delivery across the province as well as a time frame of completion,” said DA member of parliament and Provincial Spokesperson on Education, Jacques Smalle.

So far, 1 000 schools have been covered, mainly in Vhembe and Capricorn. Mopani, Sekhukhune and Waterberg are still yet to receive their learner support material.

Some of the schools in Mopani which did not receive their learner support material include; Magoza Secondary School, Matsambu High School, Mavumba Primary School, Lephepane Primary school and Dududu Primary school.

Source: www.citizen.co.za

Peeved teachers have had it with forking out for pupils’ stationery.

Several of them have taken to Facebook ahead of the reopening of schools, Netwerk24 reported.

A teacher at a rural school says in the past she’s often paid for stationery herself, but no more.

“The parents expect the school or teacher to provide it and if I don’t give them a pen or pencil, the pupils won’t have anything to write with.”

She has 45 pupils in her class, 15 of whom buy some or all of their own stationery.

Lending pencils to pupils also isn’t an option.

“Some pupils literally chew up a pencil within two days.”

Pupils must ‘work hard’ for pens

She said most of the parents are unemployed and don’t have any money for stationery. She’s spoken to them, “but they don’t do anything about it”.

Stationery does not come cheap. Even for a learner in Grade 0 it could cost around R370.

A teacher at a farm school has also had enough.

“I spent about R900 per term, but no more.”

She doesn’t know what she’ll do with pupils who don’t have stationery. “I’ll probably give in… but it’s not as if teachers get good salaries.”

A teacher at a school in a poor area says he’s managed to get sponsors for pens, but “the pupil must work hard for it and gets only one pen”.

National Department of Basic Education spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga says provincial departments are responsible for providing stationery to state-funded schools. It varies between schools and provinces, but each pupil will get the “minimum basic items”.

The deputy head of the Federation of Governing Bodies of South African Schools, Dr Jaco Deacon, says the quality of the stationery at times is poor.

Limited school budgets

Article 21 schools that have opted out of the centralised provincial purchasing system have to buy the stationery themselves from money allocated to them by the province.

Some of that money must also go towards water, electricity, maintenance and textbooks.

Schools are only allowed to spend a certain percentage of the money on books and after those have been paid for, little is left for stationery.

Deacon said stationery should be covered by the school fees parents are expected to pay.

The school’s budget is approved by parents at a meeting at the end of the year.

Deacon said parents should attend and ask if all the items on the list are essential. Every item should be justified.

In Gauteng, the stationery needed for a Grade 0 pupil at Northmead Primary School in Benoni costs R370.

The 22 items needed include scissors of a specific size, chalk, plastic bags, a wooden puzzle, a stick of glue, water paint and a colouring-in book.

At Pierneef Primary School in Pretoria, a Grade 1 pupil’s stationery costs R440. The 32 items include a skipping rope.

Grades 4 to 7 pupils at Voorpos Primary School need, among other things, a dictionary and mathematics and oil pastel sets.

By Jeanne-Marié Versluis for Netwerk24

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

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