Tag: stationery

Bullet journalling drives stationery sales

By Tori Linville for Gifts and Dec

A journal is one of the most personal items someone can own, and the trend of bullet journals skyrocketed in the past year, driving sales of traditional stationery supplies like writing instruments and notebooks, according to The NPD Group.

The bullet journal was deemed “the analogue system for the digital age” by creator Ryder Carroll, and has seen more than 2-million Instagram posts relating to the trend.

Last year alone, consumers spend almost $210-million on unruled spiral, composition, graphing and other kinds of notebooks – 18% more than the year before.

Writing instruments that are often seen being used for bullet journals saw growth in sales as well: colour markers saw a 17% increase, paint markers had a 9% increase, permanent markers saw a 6% increase, gel pens increased by 6% and porous pens increased by 5%.

“Today’s continuously evolving digital transition makes for challenging times in the office supplies industry, but there’s still plenty of opportunity for traditional products to spark interest and maintain relevance,” says Tia Frapolli, president of The NPD Group’s Office Supplies practice.

“As bullet journalling and its close relative hand lettering are the most recent trends to emerge, it’s clear that notebooks and writing instruments remain important to consumers’ lives in terms of creativity, self-expression, and productivity.”

By Louisa Hallett for RetailLeader

Staples is acquiring HiTouch Business Services to enhance the customer experience when it comes to technology, product assortment and services capabilities.

Staples is following the lead of rival Office Depot in enhancing its business services.

Staples is acquiring HiTouch Business Services to enhance the customer experience when it comes to technology, product assortment and services capabilities.

“We think Staples can bring tremendous value to HiTouch Business Services in the form of more robust capabilities and the scale that comes with being the industry leader for workplace solutions,” says Sandy Douglas, CEO of Staples.

“The combination of HiTouch’s sales organization and the strength of Staples will allow us to give customers an even higher level of service. We will continue to look for strategic opportunities like this one where we feel we can help create better options for businesses in the marketplace.”

HiTouch Business Services is a company that provides everything a business needs to operate, according to their company description. They will be a part of the Staples Business Advantage delivery organization, as well as supplying an expanded assortment of products and up-to-date e-commerce tools. HiTouch’s marketplace will still serve as its own independent platform.

“For the past 15 years, HiTouch Business Services has served its customers with pride and we look forward to the next chapter with Staples,” says John Frisk, president and CEO of HiTouch Business Services.

“We will continue to support businesses as we always have, but now with enhanced solutions from a best-in-class service provider. Together, we can create a new business model which leverages the size of a company like Staples, with the local touch HiTouch is known for, to create a truly differentiated offering.”

Staples is the world’s largest office solutions provider to date and is headquartered near Boston, with 1 255 stores located across the U.S. and 304 located throughout Canada.

By Anne Quito for Quartzy

Patented in the US over a century ago as a manuscript binding solution, the humble plastic and metal fold-over fastener (a.k.a. banker’s clip) has been extolled as one of the world’s best design objects in the compendium Phaidon Design Classics. Writers, office workers and neatniks of all shades cherish the binder clip’s versatility. There’s even a popular life hack video highlighting its many uses. As celebrated designer Naoto Fukasawa told Quartz, the office supplies favorite is fine as it is.

But the original binder clip’s iconic status hasn’t deterred the stationery-obsessed Japanese from improving the original. A new binder clip model that requires half the strength to use has been named among the top products at this year’s International Stationery & Office Products Fair in Tokyo. Developed by office supplies company Plus Corporation, the so-called “Air Karu Airy Light Touch Binder Clip” features a longer, flatter finger lever and repositions the fulcrum higher up the triangular spring.

These small engineering tweaks make the clip easier to use and reduces finger pain, as its name suggests.

If Plus’s efforts to retool a perfectly fine apparatus seems frivolous, consider its effect on the billions of binder clips used each day. Air Karu’s designers estimate that a worker conserves as much as 50% energy (or “labor saving rate”) when using the largest of the three available new sizes.

Reviews on Amazon have been positive, with many saying how surprised they were with the clip’s efficiency and ease of use.

“If you frequently use double [large] clips, you know that double clips of this size are too much for women,” writes one five star reviewer. “The double clip seems to be patented in 1910…it is surprising that products that have been invented for more than 100 years now will come up with such ingenuity. Once a patent is registered, a new one page will be added to the patent application textbook.”

Another satisfied customer points out how the new design could benefit Japan’s aging population. “I think that elderly people can use it without inconvenience because of the easy-to-hold lever.” And one customer who sampled the largest Air Karu 32 mm model even had a philosophical take: “it’s a gem when you realize that evolution of technology makes life more convenient.”

At the end of 2017, BIC’s stationery category showed a much-need improvement – but the upward trend seems to have been short-lived.

For the three months ended 31 March 2018 (Q1), sales in the stationery segment of the business declined 8.3% to €151.8-million ($18.5-million).

Overall, BIC Stationery saw adjusted profit increase 60% to €9,6-million – largely due to ofsetting raw material costs and dealing with currency fluctuations.

Key take-aways from the figures are:

  • Sales in Europe were flat – the UK and France showed a decline, which was offset by growth in other European areas
  • Sales in North America increased in low single digits
  • Strong trade in Mexico ofset a weaker Brazil, giving Latin America low-single-digit improvement
  • EMEA (the Middle East and Africa) sales were boosted to double digits, thanks to a robust back-to-school season in South Africa
  • BIC’s Indian subsidiary, Cello Pens, reported flat domestic sales as it continues to streamline its portfolio and increase brand awareness

By Sne Masuku for IOL

Black publishers and stationery service providers in KwaZulu-Natal have criticised the provincial Department of Education for awarding its R263-million stationery/textbook contract to one company to distribute these items to all public schools in the province. They claimed they were being put out of business.

The publishers and service providers, who own medium and small businesses, had previously serviced Section 21 schools. They alleged the new central procurement system tender awarded to one company in 2014 had expired in 2016, but the contract had been renewed for the past two years “illegally and uncompetitively”.

Complaints by the Learner Teacher Support Material (LTSM) Forum, comprised of representatives of the affected businesses, threatened legal action against the central procurement system and planned to challenge the legality of the tender. Should this matter end up in court, it would be the fourth procurement tender of the provincial department taken to court.

The department’s Nutrition Programme, the Scholar Transport Programme and the sanitary pads tender, worth millions, were some of the tenders suspected of irregularities, with some going to court.

Last week, the forum lodged a complaint with the provincial portfolio committee on education. The service providers asked the committee to escalate their matter to Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga after their requests for a meeting with department officials were allegedly ignored.

Most schools had waited nearly a year for the department to give them funds for books and stationery.

Later in the year, the department, through a circular, advised schools that quotes which had exceeded 20% of the catalogue price including VAT, transport costs and other costs, would be migrated to the central procurement system using the service provider appointed by the department.

Service providers which supplied Section 21 schools with their stationery lost business when the department migrated their orders with private service providers to a company it had appointed.

“We are questioning why the department was so eager in doing business with a company that does not have a valid contract.

“The department is deliberately delaying payment of Section 21 school funds to take away business from us. The intention is to create a new monopoly in the Learner Teacher Support Material (LTSM) business,” said Mandla Shangase, the interim LTSM Forum chairperson.

According to the South African Schools Act, Section 21 schools which chose to order through private service providers had a right to do so.

This time, schools were told not to confirm their orders before they received a written confirmation from the department that the funds had been transferred.

A multidisciplinary task team appointed by Motshekga is currently investigating allegations of misappropriation of funds levelled by the National Teachers’ Union against the provincial department.

Department spokesperson Kwazi Mthethwa said any contractual obligations that the department may have with service providers remained confidential.

He said the department would never be involved in unlawful activities because they believed in good governance and transparency.

By Mario Valdivieso for PSFK 

The gender pay gap, which sees women making less than men for the same work, is a problem all over the world.

New Zealand design company 485 design wanted to bring attention to it by inserting it into a line of Office Stationery for Women.

The stationary designs were made with the intention of conveying basic facts that surround gender inequality in the workplace.

The set includes a 13-hour clock to signify the uneven amount money a woman will make in the same amount of time compared to a man. The set also has stationery cards with facts on the issue, and a diary containing 13 months instead of 12. The design was even done in a “soft pink” to represent stereotypical female gender roles and ignorance of this particular problem.

By suggesting women work longer hours to receive equal pay, Office Stationery for Women hopes the absurdity of its solution will point out how little sense it makes for women to be paid less than men in the first place.

Charges will be laid against 31 City of Johannesburg officials implicated in an alleged kickback scandal involving a Johannesburg stationery provider, Mayor Herman Mashaba said in a statement on Wednesday.

“This morning, I received shocking news that 31 city officials allegedly received about R2.7m in kickbacks from a single service provider registered on the city’s and municipal-owned entities (MOEs) database,” said Mashaba.

The company, in the south of Johannesburg, supplied office stationery and equipment including desktop computers, laptops, printer cartridges and toners worth around R20m.

The implicated officials work in various departments within the city, Johannesburg Water, Johannesburg City Parks, Joburg Property Company, Johannesburg Roads Agency and Pikitup.

One official allegedly made R1m from one transaction, and another allegedly got R685 000 in a toner transaction.

The method was allegedly to inflate quotes to include their cut. This was collected via their payment method of choice which included Shoprite money transfers, First National Bank e-wallet payments, cash payments and transfers to individual accounts.

City to lay charges

“In some instances the goods were ordered and not delivered but they were paid for,” the mayor continued.

He said the Hawks, working with the city’s group forensic and investigation services department and the Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department, seized documents on Tuesday night after a raid was conducted at the company’s offices.

The company also conducts business with other municipalities where officials are also paid a certain fee for giving them business, the mayor alleged.

“I am disappointed to learn that there are still people in the system who are still involved or engaged in corrupt activities and colluding with service providers. This is despite the fact that we continuously educate employees about fraud and corruption,” he said.

Mashaba said the city would lay charges against the employees and the company.

Comment from the Hawks on the raid or what would happen to the stationery company was not immediately available.

By Jenni Evans for News24
Image: supplied by City of Johannesburg

 

Back-to-school stationery price shock

The average stationery list for a primary school child starting Grade 1 has a total cost of between R700 and R1 000 and, while parents would want to compare prices to get the best deals, schools are prescribing certain brands for parents to buy.
Many schools offered parents the option of paying the school for the stationery or purchasing it themselves.

Most parents who spoke to the Daily News on Monday while doing their last-minute stationery shopping felt some items on the list were “overboard”.

Parents believed items such as a box of tissues and toilet paper should be provided by the school.

Different types of crayons, glue sticks and paper reams were some of the items schools required on the first day, but parents said this added another expense to the already exorbitant price of getting children back to school.

The price of a ream of A4 paper of 500 sheets is about R47.99 and some schools stipulated which brand they wanted parents to buy.

Grade R pupils were no exception. A stationery list for Grade R pupils at a Durban North public school with 18 items cost R615.22, excluding an extra R200 for a swimming bag, a chair bag and a library bag.

Five-year-old Thando Mokwena of Westville is attending Holy Family College this year and was busy shopping for stationery with her parents on Monday. Picture: Motshwari Mofokeng/ANA
A mother of a Grade 1 pupil said she thought being told to buy 17 exercise books for her child was a bit too much.

“I have a problem with the school asking me to buy so many exercise books. I know that times have changed and that children these days do more than I did in my time, but I think 17 books are just too much. Asking for four items of glue stick, which cost R56.49 each, to be bought at the same time was inconsiderate,” she said.

She said it would be reasonable for schools to instead ask parents to supply one of each item which could be replaced when they ran out.

Sizakele Mthembu, a parent of a Grade 2 pupil attending a private school in Durban, said she had a problem with schools dictating which brands parents should buy.

“There are retail shops with cheaper options on items such as pencils, glue sticks, wax crayons, rulers, paper reams and ballpoints, but schools ask for specific brands,” she said.

A Grade 6 pupil said: “I find myself having to ask my parents to buy me more glue stick, pens and pencils by the end of the first term. They are stolen,” she said.

Khethiwe Ndlovu, a parent of a Grade 3 pupil, said last year she had dropped off all the stationery on the first day of school and was told not to remove the items from their packaging. That was the last time she saw the stationery.

“The children are made to keep the books at school and only take their homework books home,” she said.

She suspected that schools were supplying other children who did not have.

“I understand the kind of poverty that some pupils come from and, if that is the case, then the school should make us aware of such challenges so that it can be done properly,” she said.

Ntombizodwa Zungu, a mother of a Grade 9 pupil, had the choice of buying her daughter’s stationery from the school but instead opted for shopping around at different retail shops, saving R350.

“Checking for prices beforehand helps and, although it is a lot of work, my secret has always been to buy early and have a proper shopping plan. The last-minute rush would always work out to be expensive,” she said

Vanessa Chetty said she found exercise books were not expensive, but it was the extras, such as dictionaries and crayons, that were.

She said that while they could be used for more than a year, she was forced to buy them twice a year.

Vee Gani, South Durban chairman of the KZN Parents Association, said stationery was expensive and schools and parents should have discussions about making cost effective purchases.

He said when it came to schools’ choice of brands, there was no choice as some cheaper brands were useless.

“I can understand why parents are sceptical about sending more than one item to school for risk of it being stolen or lost.

“But teachers also want to prevent a situation of items being forgotten at home,” he said

By Sne Masuku for IOL

BIC sees increase in stationery sales

Back-to-school (BTS) trading and new products helped to lift BIC sales in an otherwise tough Q3 for the manufacturer.

In the manufacturer’s stationery division, quarterly sales rose 2.6% on a comparative basis to €191.3 million ($226 million).

Overall, BIC’s Q3 was below expectations with sales down 5% at €465.8 million while profit fell 21.5% to €57.8 million. The group said it would be cutting its full year forecasts of slightly less that 2% sales growth.

For the nine months ended 30 September, sales rose 2.9% to €619.4 million.

Sales in Europe recorded mid-single digit growth. It reported a good BTS period across all European countries, which managed to offset market softness.

The stationery segment gained market share across the board, most notably in France for the 14th consecutive year, and also in the UK.

The group attributed this to improved customer relationships, targeted brand support investment and the success of new products.

In North America, sales grew low-single digit in a slightly declining market. During the BTS period, it remained flat, but new product launches allowed BIC to gain share.

In developing markets, Latin America sales grew low-single digits. In Brazil, it continued to gain market share despite a weak environment. Good BTS trading in Mexico allowed BIC to outperform the market there.

In the Middle-East and Africa, it delivered robust growth alongside market share gains, particularly in South Africa.

Adjusted operating profit margins for the segment were reported at 8.9%, compared to 9.9% for the period last year. Q3 margins were also slightly lower at 3.6% compared to 4% last year. This was due to increased brand support investment.

BIC also announced that it is to invest around €28 million in a new writing instruments facility in India. Its subsidiary Cello has acquired land and building for the construction of a new writing instrument facility in Vapi, Gujarat.

The investment will enhance its manufacturing reach in India, and enable it to meet consumer demand more effectively in this rapidly growing market. The facility is expected to be operational by the end of 2018.

By Joshua Allsopp for OPI

The rise of kids stationery chain Smiggle

Brightly coloured children’s stationery chain Smiggle, the profit powerhouse ready to roll into Europe, has grown rapidly in just 14 years.

The first Smiggle store opened in Melbourne by founders Stephen Meurs and Peter Pausewang in 2003. Apparel retailer the Just Group, the company behind Just Jeans, bought Smiggle in 2007.

Solomon Lew’s company Premier Investments bought the Just Group in 2008 and at the time, Smiggle was making $19-million from 35 stores. In that same year, Smiggle opened its first New Zealand store.

Smiggle expanded into Singapore in 2011, then in the UK in 2014, followed by Malaysia and Hong Kong in 2016.

It now has 300 stores across Australia and overseas and in the 2017 financial year, made $238.9 million in sales.

Premier plans to expand Smiggle into the Netherlands and Belgium in 2018.

Source: SBS 

  • 1
  • 2
  • 5

Follow us on social media: 

               

View our magazine archives: 

                       


My Office News Ⓒ 2017 - Designed by A Collective


SUBSCRIBE TO OUR NEWSLETTER
Top