Message from the Chairman: August

During the past few weeks, I picked up a number of articles – all dealing with networking.

As an association, shop-sa is the only dedicated platform where individuals and companies from our industry can get together.

We always believed that networking should be on top of the list of what shop-sa has to offer.

Here are a just few pointers from people in the know, relating to networking and why it should be a priority:
  • In any business it’s not always what you know, but who you know
  • The exchange of fresh ideas and real-time information with like minded individuals is invaluable
  • It results in the fostering of mutually beneficial relationships with customers and competitors alike
  • Nothing beats the human factor – even in the current digital world
Especially in trying times, it’s always good to know that we are not alone. Being out of one’s own environment and talking and listening to others from our industry may just spark new ideas!
To get the ball rolling, so to speak, we hope to see you at our next event, the AGM, where – apart from a quick report back of shop-sa‘s business – we will also present the annual OPI research summary and hopefully engage an interesting speaker.
Hans Servas

By Amanda Henderson for News Channel 20

Back to school season is here, but this year it is costing Americans more than ever.

Some said how they buy their supplies has changed over the past few years due to events out of their control.

“Pencils, pens, erasers,” is what Betty Sujaya Ice said she typically buys in bulk when she goes back to school shopping for her children.

There are always familiar sights and sounds of the back to school season. But as another year begins, so do the payments, which are more expensive than ever.

“With the uptick in the taxes, it wouldn’t surprise me at all,” said Bronti Tehandon, a shopper.

But here’s what may catch you off guard.

The average American family is spending nearly $700 on their children for back to school supplies.

“The price has risen and what we’ve found we need less so we only buy what we need to as opposed to what is suggested. The days of 19 cent folders are not there anymore,” said Susan Patel, a parent.

Some believe there’s a new factor this year playing a role in the rising dollar amount, which is social media. Some said seeing other children or parents buying certain items builds up the pressure to then buy them as well, whether or not they have the money for it.

“Whenever you put something on Facebook or Instagram and they post pictures of ‘hey, this is cool, you can have it for your school or something like that and it’s a really nice outfit, it makes you want to go out and buy it,” said Tehandon.

Although, some people say they would much rather shop from the comfort of home for a reason they never expected.

“With all the problems and safety instead of some of these places, Amazon might be the way to go from now on,” said Patel.

She said it is also easier to just go to one store or shop online rather than going to multiple different stores for the school supplies needed.

Now out of that nearly $700 (R10 713,22) each family spends, they said they will only spend about 20% of it on what is considered traditional school supplies.

By Sue Mitchell for Australian Financial Review 

South African retailer Woolworths may be ruing the day it outlaid $2.1 billion for David Jones, but its biggest competitor The Foschini Group (TFG) is eyeing further expansion in Australia after buying menswear retailer Retail Apparel Group for $302-million two years ago.

TFG is looking at “double-digit topline growth” this year at RAG, which owns Tarocash, Yd, Connor and Johnny Big, and plans to expand its American Swiss jewellery chain after testing the market by opening five bricks and mortar stores and an online store, TFG chief executive Anthony Thunstrom told journalists on Thursday.

While David Jones’ profits have halved since the Woolworths takeover in 2014, RAG has gone from strength to strength as rivals such as Ed Harry and Roger David have closed.

According to TFG results for the year ending March, TFG Australia’s topline sales rose 14.5 per cent to $494 million, same-store sales rose 7.8 per cent, online sales jumped 55 per cent and underlying earnings before interest, tax depreciation and amortisation were up 28 per cent at $57.3 million.

TFG Australia opened 36 new stores, lifting its store portfolio to 483.

Why is TFG thriving while Woolworths has been forced to write down the value of David Jones by $1.1 billion in 20 months?

“We find businesses with strong local management – and we don’t change management afterwards,” Mr Thunstrom said. “We also have incentives in place for management to stay on.”

RAG is run by retail veteran Gary Novis, who joined the company in 2007 after careers with Woolworths South Africa, David Jones and Specialty Fashion Group.

“Australia has not been in a recession since 1990 – it is almost the polar opposite to South Africa with unemployment also at record lows,” Mr Thunstrom said.

“Retail is not by any means easy there with the high costs around rentals and other operational costs, so there is little margin for error to get it right or wrong.”

TFG owns 22 retail brands including Fabiani, Markham, DueSouth, Charles and Keith, Colette and Next, and has more than 4000 stores in 32 countries, including the UK, where it owns fashion brands Phase Eight, Whistles and Hobbs.

By Carlene Olsen for Interior Design

Fellowes Brands, a global manufacturer of office and technology products since 1917, today announced the acquisition of Michigan-based Trendway Corporation—expanding its offerings in the contract furniture space. The acquisition comes the same day that Don Heeringa, Trendway’s chairman and business head since 1973, announced his retirement.

While the acquisition ensures the future stability of Trendway—a family-owned innovator of office furniture systems, movable walls, and office seating—it also gives Fellowes a 500,000-square-foot furniture manufacturing facility in the U.S., complementing its Bankers Box factory in its headqaurters city of Itasca, Illinois. Fellowes first expanded into contract furniture in 2017, through its acquisition of ESI Ergonomic Solutions, a manufacturer of height-adjustable tables and workstations.

“The Heeringa family has built Trendway through a commitment to strong values, good people, responsiveness to customers, and a care for those around them—which aligns with our own family’s values and approach,” says John Fellowes, president and CEO of Fellowes Brands. “Over the past few months we have spent time with both Don Heeringa and Bill Bundy to learn the historical culture of Trendway, and we plan to lead this business into its next chapter with a similar spirit to its deep roots—while bringing a greater capabilities and competitiveness to its future efforts.”

Trendway, which launched its new Parley Seating Collection at NeoCon this year, plans to focus on the development of architectural products, curated surface material palettes, and simplified customer experiences going forward. The company will continue to operate from Holland, Michigan, under the leadership of Bill Bundy, its current president. “As I approached retirement, my desire was to find a way to ensure the future growth and success of Trendway,” says Heeringa. “I take great comfort in knowing that Trendway, along with Fellowes’ ownership, will ensure the positive future of the company.”

Trendway’s Pause Chair and Butterfly Series earned nods as finalists during Interior Design’s 2017 HiP Awards at NeoCon, and in 2016 the firm received a Best of Year award nomination for its flow modular seating.

FILA posts positive results

Stationery, school and art supplies manufacturer FILA has reported improvements in key European and North American operations.

The Italian group reported is back on a growth trajectory following the steep declines seen in the first quarter.

Key figures in the report include:

  • Core operating revenue of €350.7 million, +37.4% on the same period of the previous year (€255.2 million in H1 2018);
  • Core operating revenue up 2.4% in H1 2019 (-0.5% net of currency effect) compared to the first six months of the previous year on a pro-forma basis with the first six months of 2018 for the Pacon Group;
  • Significant growth in Asia (+23%), particularly in India, and major recovery for North American revenue in the second quarter of the year, featuring a school’s campaign increasingly concentrated in the second and third quarters, and in Europe for the resolution of the effects stemming from the 2018 reorganisation of and for the efficiency of the Annonay central warehouse from March 2019;
  • Adjusted EBITDA of€58.2 million, +31.2% on €44.4 million for H1 2018;
  • Adjusted EBITDA in H1 2019 recovers significantly on the first quarter, up 1.3% (-2.5% net of the currency effect) on the first half of 2018 on a pro-forma basis with the first six months of 2018 for the Pacon Group;
  • Adjusted net profit of €22-million, against €15.5 million in H1 2018, growth of 42% and mainly due to the M&A effect; and
  • Net debt of €521.9-million at June 30, 2019 (net of the IFRS 16 effect of €80.5-million), compared to €452.8-million at December 31, 2018.

“The first half of 2019 comprehensively highlighted the recovery of Group operating efficiency and the resolution of the main issues stemming from the 2018 reorganisation, while in March the central Annonay European warehouse achieved full efficiency, in line with expectations,” says Massimo Candela, CEO of F.I.L.A.

Disciplinary codes are a must

By Ivan Israelstam, chief executive of Labour Law Management Consulting

The LRA requires that “…the standards of conduct are clear and made available to employees in a manner that is easily understood.” Therefore, employers are required to prove when it is dragged to the CCMA are the existence of the rule and that the dismissed employee knew he/she was breaking the rule.

In the case of Martens Vs Nel (1998, 9 BALR 1167) Martens was a bartender in a nightclub. He was dismissed for flirting with customers. He claimed at the CCMA that he had never been informed of any rule prohibiting this conduct. The arbitrator found that the dismissal was unfair because Martens had not been given the rules relating to behaviour towards customers. The employer was ordered to pay Martens 10 months’ remuneration in compensation.

This makes it clear that every company, partnership, sole trader and organisation needs to:

  1. Draw up its own Disciplinary Code
  2. Induct every employee as to its Disciplinary Code
  3. Keep proof that the above has been done so that, if a dismissed employee claims at the CCMA that he did not know the rules, the employer can prove that this is an invalid excuse.

A Disciplinary Code is an internal document devised by the employer in which the rules of conduct are spelt out and in which the suggested penalties for breaking these rules are listed. As required by Schedule 8 of the LRA, these penalties need to be appropriate in the light of the seriousness of the offence.

When designing and implementing your Disciplinary Code remember:

  • The offences need to be clearly described
  • The rules need to be reasonable and fair
  • They need to be realistic so that it is possible for employees to follow them
  • You should try to include all those rules which pertain specifically to your company/organisation
  • To communicate the code to all your employees in a language they understand

You should explain the reason for rules which employees could have trouble in understanding. For example, you may prohibit your employees’ from receiving visitors at work. If your reason is that visits interrupt work or that security could be compromised you should explain this.

To try to get buy-in for the rules from your workforce by consulting them. That is, you should draw up draft rules and then ask your employees for their views. You should not make the final decision on the rules before consulting your employees.

Ensure that, if you deviate from your disciplinary code, you have a solid and legally acceptable reason for the deviation. In the case of Magagula vs Department of Health (2004, 2 BALR 156) the employee was suspended without pay for three months for accepting a bribe. The arbitrator found this to be unfair and awarded compensation because the employer’s code only allowed suspension without pay to be implemented with the employee’s permission.

In view of the dangers involved in designing faulty disciplinary codes and in the implementation thereof it is crucial that all employers assign a labour law and industrial relations expert to:

  • Check their Disciplinary Code for legal defects
  • Add in rules that are missing
  • Train their management in the interpretation and application of the code.

Torn to shreds: how to sell a shredder

A good shredder is an important aspect of compliance for any business

A paper shredder is a mechanical device that is used to destroy paper by cutting it into strips, small blocks or particle. Businesses, government institutions and private individuals use shredders to ensure that classified or confidential information is properly disposed of.

Why use a shredder?
A good starting point when selling shredders is to explain to customers why they need to own one. Due to the increase in fraud and identity theft, it is important people shred their bills, tax documents, credit card and bank statements and CDs that contain confidential information.
Businesses are at particular risk when it comes to compliance. Acts such as the Protection of Personal Information (POPI) stipulate that the onus falls on the company to correctly collect, store and destroy data. Any company that fails to responsibly handle information will face a fine of R10-million or serve 10 years in prison.
According to CNBC, R1-billion is lost in South Africa annually as a result of identity theft, while there are an estimated 20-million ghost identity books. The rising incidence of identity theft in the country is cause for concern, and shredders have an important role to play in protecting businesses and individuals from data loss.

Types of shredders
Shredders range in size from small, inexpensive units designed for light office use to large commercial shredding units. Shredders are classified according to the size and shape of the shreds (or chad) they produce.

Strip-cut shredders are the least secure. They use rotating knives to cut narrow strips that are as long as the original sheet of paper. Because the strips are neither compressed nor randomised, they can easily be reassembled by anyone with time and patience. An A4 sheet of paper will be cut into 39 strips. This level of security is acceptable for home use, where general information is being shredded. It is not ideal for personal information such as bank statements or passwords.

Cross-cut or confetti-cut shredders have a medium level of security. They use two contra-rotating drums to cut rectangular, parallelogram or diamond-shaped shreds. These strips are very difficult to reassemble, as an A4 page will be cut into approximately 300 strips.
Cross-cut shredders cut paper into smaller pieces and five times as much chad can fit in the waste bin, which means that your customers will have to empty it much less often than with a strip-cut shredder. Cross-cut shredders are suitable for disposable of confidential documents, including personnel details and sales and marketing plans.

Particle-cut or micro-cut shredders create tiny square or circular pieces of paper that are almost impossible to reassemble. If your clients are shredding highly confidential documents, such as those that would jeopardise personal or institutional safety, a micro-cut shredder is ideal. It will cut an A4 sheet of paper into more than 3 700 particles.

Disintegrators or granulators repeatedly cut the paper at random. They have a single cutting shaft called a rotor. The material to be shredded is cut into different sized pieces, much like happens in a wood chipper. Shredded material is passed through the holes of a mesh screen. These screens are swappable and have different sized holes, creating finer or courser chad. These machines are used in highly-secure environments, such as government departments.

Hammermills are similar to disintegrators, as they pound the paper through a screen. Rotating hammers pulverise the material to be shredded and pass it through a sizing screen for high-level destruction. The hammers may be blunt, have blades or a combination of the two. Users can change the screen size to fit their particular needs. A hammer mill can reduce paper to dust if the right screen is fitted.

Pierce-and-tear shredders have multiple rotating blades that pierce the paper and then tear it apart. These types of shredders are used primarily in industrial applications and manufacturing operations, to dispose of cardboard or specialty papers like newsprint. Pierce-and-tear shredders are usually used by mobile shredding companies.

Grinders have a rotating shaft with cutting blades that grind the paper until it is small enough to fall through a screen.

Cardboard shredders are designed specifically to shred corrugated material into either strips or a mesh pallet.

Security levels
Your customers’ security needs will depend on the confidentiality of the materials they are shredding. There are four main levels of security: low, medium, high and very high; the higher the level of security, the smaller the cut size. There are numerous standards for the security levels of paper shredders. DIN standards are used to indicate the level of shredder security in South Africa. DIN stands for Deutsches Institut für Normung (German institute for standardisation). The levels according to DIN 66399 are:

  • Level P-1 (strip shredders) – ≤12mm wide strips of any length;\
  • Level P-2 – ≤6mm wide strips of any length;
  • Level P-3 (cross-cut shredders) – ≤2mm wide strips of any length or ≤320mm² particles (of any width);
  • Level P-4 – (micro-cut shredders) ≤160mm² particles with width ≤ 6mm;
  • Level P-5 – ≤30mm² particles with width ≤ 2mm;
  • Level P-6 – ≤10mm² particles with width ≤ 1mm; and
  • Level P-7 – ≤5mm² particles with width ≤ 1mm.

Additional features

Aside from the main specifications of a shredder, there are other features that you can sell to your customers.
Anti-jamming technology is important for shredders that are used in an office environment and have heavy duty cycles. This feature will eliminate paper jams, and some shredders are even able to reverse a paper jam before it occurs.
Versatility is another important criterion that your customers will need to consider before purchasing a shredder. What type of materials do they want to shred? Some machines are capable of shredding staples, paper clips, credit cards, CDs and DVDs in addition to paper. This is an important aspect to consider in an office environment.

How to select the correct shredder for your customer
When helping your customer select a paper shredder, be sure to ask these five questions to ensure they have the best machine for their requirements:

  • How much shredding will be done weekly?
    Less than a ream a week? Over 2 000 pages? More than a tonne? This will help correctly identify what type of machine is required, and the work load the machine needs to handle.
  • What kind of documents are going to be shredded?
    Shredding bank statements, daily work spread sheets, junk mail or price lists? The types of documents your customer shreds will determine what security level they will need.
  • How many people will use the paper shredder?
    Will it be one user, fewer than five users, or five or more? Determining this will help narrow down the selection of machines, so your customer will have the correct size motor for the number of users.
  • Where will the machine be located?
    Will the machine be placed under a desk, in a central position in the office or in a shredding department? This information will determine how big the machine should be with regards to the bin size, weight and dimensions.
  • How often will your customer have to use the shredder?
    Will they use the machine for less than five minutes at a time, or more than 30 minutes? This will determine if they need a machine with a continuous duty cycle and no cool down period, or if a cool down period is OK. It will also open up the option of an auto feed machine, as it saves time.

Source: National Retail Federation

As students gear up to go back to school and college, families plan to spend more than ever on supplies ranging from pencils and backpacks to computers and dorm refrigerators, according to the annual survey released today by the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights and Analytics.

“Consumers are in a strong position given the nation’s growing economy, and we see this reflected in what they say they will spend on back-to-class items this year,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay says.

“We’re expecting record spending and retailers are ready to provide students with all the items they need for a successful school year.”

Families with children in elementary school through high school plan to spend an average $696.70. That’s up from $684.79 last year and tops the previous record of $688.62 set in 2012. With fewer families surveyed saying they have children in grades K-12, spending is expected to total $26.2 billion, down from last year’s $27.5 billion despite the increase in per-household spending.

Families with college students are expected to spend an average $976.78, which is up from last year’s $942.17 and tops the previous record of $969.88 set in 2017. With fewer survey respondents saying they are attending college, spending is expected to total $54.5 billion, down from last year’s record $55.3 billion.

Total spending for K-12 schools and college combined is projected to reach $80.7 billion, down from last year’s $82.8 billion largely because of the decreased number of households with children in elementary through high school.

According to the survey, clothing and accessories will top K-12 families’ expenses at an average $239.82, followed by electronics such as computers, calculators and phones ($203.44); shoes ($135.96) and supplies such as notebooks, pencils, backpacks and lunch boxes ($117.49). K-12 families plan to do most of their shopping at department stores (53 percent), discount stores (50 percent), online (49 percent), clothing stores (45 percent) and office supply stores (31 percent).

Among K-12 shoppers, teens are expected to spend an average $36.71 of their own money, up from $30.88 10 years ago, while pre-teens should spend $26.40, up from $11.94 10 years ago.

“Members of Generation Z are clearly becoming more involved with back-to-school purchasing decisions rather than leaving the choices up to mom and dad,” Shay said. “Over the years, both teens and pre-teens are spending more of their own money on back-to-school items.”

College shoppers plan to spend the most on electronics ($234.69), followed by clothing and accessories ($148.54), dorm and apartment furnishings ($120.19) and food items ($98.72). They plan to do most of their shopping online (45 percent), followed by department stores (39 percent), discount stores (36 percent), college bookstores (32 percent) and office supply stores (29 percent).

“College shoppers are really showing their school spirit when it comes to buying collegiate gear this year,” Shay said. Spending on college-branded items is expected to average $62.22, up 17 percent from last year.

For online purchases, 90 percent of K-12 and 85 percent of college shoppers plan to take advantage of free shipping.

“Back-to-class shoppers still have the bulk of their shopping to do and are waiting to see what the best deals and promotions will be at a variety of different retailers,” Prosper Insights Executive Vice President of Strategy Phil Rist said. The survey found 89 percent of both K-12 and college shoppers still had half or more of their purchases left to complete. Of those, 49 percent were waiting for the best deals for items on their lists.

The survey of 7 660 consumers was conducted July 1-July 8 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.2 percentage points.

Message from the Chairman: July

How time flies! Another financial year has passed and, in spite of challenges such as membership, participation and so on, shop-sa continues to strive to provide relevant news, locally and internationally.

The industry-specific, monthly shop-sa newsletter, launched in January, is growing in terms of readership, complementing the weekly My Office News. Again, we appeal to members to let us have their news, as well as take advantage of the advertising opportunity it provides.

Having missed the breakfast event with Dion Chang, one of SA’s leading trend analysts, I was pleased to hear that it was excellent and that tickets sold out.

Needless to say, shop-sa will try to organise other exciting events for the industry, which we hope will receive the same support. Your comments and suggestions with regards to topic, venue and time would be appreciated.

Unfortunately, politics in South Africa is still hampering the economy and, even though stationery and office products are essential items, the effects are felt even in our industry.

However, we are sure that innovation, service and experience will ensure that the industry stays strong.

Needless to say, we are not alone! Having just come back from an extensive trip to Europe, it was evident that many countries struggle with growth and political instability; Brexit being one example.

All this makes a strong association more relevant and important.

In the words of JK Rowling, “we are only as strong as we are united and as weak as we are divided”!

Hans Servas


Pritt turns 50

Source and image: Henkel

For half a century, the Pritt glue stick has been a staple item in the everyday life of children all around the world – supporting them in developing their crafting skills or helping them finish school projects. Now it’s time to celebrate Pritt’s milestone birthday!

But what made Pritt so ingenious in the first place? With an innovative idea that closed a gap in the market, this German success story was off to a good start. Additionally, its formula and almost solid substance set it apart from many other adhesives. Lastly, Pritt’s unique and practical packaging quickly won over its users for being small, handy and always ready to use.

How it all began: The origins of Pritt
The story of Pritt began with Henkel taking its first ever step into the world of adhesives in 1922. In the cellar of the packing department building in Düsseldorf-Holthausen, Henkel established the production of paper, board and packet adhesives for in-house consumption – thereby creating a solution for gluing its powder detergents paper bags and cardboard boxes for transportation. The business grew once the company started selling decorator’s glue and wallpaper paste to neighboring craftsmen’s companies. In the following decades, more and more brands and products were launched, and in 1969, Pritt’s iconic twist-up stick finally hit the market.

From idea to reality: The first Pritt glue stick is born
After seeing a woman apply lipstick in public in 1967, former Henkel engineer Dr. Wolfgang Dierichs started thinking. The simple and convenient twist-up mechanism of the lipstick gave him a revolutionary idea: Why not develop an adhesive in the shape of a lipstick, making the application quick, clean and accurate? Taking this thought as a basic construct, Henkel tested and developed different variations of the product over the course of the next two years. In 1969, the testing period was completed, so it was time to launch the first ever Pritt glue stick.

During the following decades, Henkel has strived to continuously improve the quality and formula of its glue sticks. In 2000, the company reached a milestone, when it launched the first solvent-free Pritt generation which met the modern demands for safety and sustainability.

Out of this world: Pritt in Space
In 2001, Pritt was able to call itself “out of this world,” when a rocket ferried a cargo of Pritt products to the International Space Station (ISS). The glue sticks were successfully tested under extreme space conditions, resulting in Pritt being officially awarded with the exclusive seal of “Space-Proof Quality.” Up to this day, Pritt is still being used in space by astronauts on the ISS.

The evolution of Pritt: Introducing a more sustainable formula
The start of a new decade in 2010 initiated a major move towards sustainability. The exact components of the glue sticks are a secret, but it is mostly made up of water, sugar and starch. What’s no secret? Over 90 % of the ingredients are based on renewable raw materials, therefore making the Pritt glue stick non-toxic and biodegradable.

Pritt today: Celebrating 50 years of magic moments
Since its creation in 1969, the Pritt glue stick helped children develop creative and motor skills through glue related crafting activities in school and at home. To enable children’s crafting of their dreams and ideas, all products are created with the goal of being easy to use. And because of the creative extensions of their product range, Pritt is the number one brand in more than 120 countries and receives international acclaim: from South America to Africa, the Middle East and, of course, Europe. In many countries, Pritt has become the leading brand in the category of glue sticks, making it the most successful paper adhesive in the world with more than 80 million pieces being produced every year.

With continuous new and creative product additions, Pritt is looking forward to being a part of children’s lives throughout the next decades and to accompany them through any creative tasks they might endeavor.


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