Oil fell from its highest closing price in a week and gasoline declined for a second day after Hurricane Isaac made landfall in the U.S. and the Group of Seven nations said prices may threaten the global economic recovery.
Crude futures slipped as much as 0.9 percent, erasing yesterday’s gain, and gasoline dropped by 1.3 percent, after Isaac struck the coast of southeastern Louisiana. A shutdown of refineries because of the storm has curbed crude demand, according to Goldman Sachs Group Inc. The G-7 called on oil- producing countries to increase output and is monitoring the economic risk posed by current prices, according to a joint statement issued yesterday by the U.S. Treasury Department.
“The information we have on Isaac as of now suggests it has not been as destructive as the market had perhaps feared,” said Hannes Loacker, an analyst at Raiffeisen Bank International AG (RBI) in Vienna, who predicts crude prices will remain near current levels this month. “The focus is on when the majority of production will resume and whether or not there will be any serious damage to the infrastructure.”
Oil for October delivery declined as much as 89 cents to $95.44 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange and was at $95.62 at 11:43 a.m. London time.
The Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC) released its list of the top 25 U.S. business publications of the first half of 2012 with ABM members capturing 15 spots. The publications were ranked by total average paid and qualified nonpaid print circulation.
Topping the list is International Fire Fighter (circulation of 285,308), followed by Nursing 2012 (191,937), Advanstar's Motor Age (120,332), Modern Salon (104,135) and PennWell Corporation's Oil & Gas Journal (99,710). Crain Communications secured the most spots with six of its publications -- Automotive News, Investment News, Advertising Age, Crain's New York Business, Crain's Chicago Business and Plastics News -- named on the list. The list also included two publications from PennWell Corporation (Oil & Gas Journal, Fire Engineering), two from The McGraw-Hill Companies (Architectural Record, ENR: Engineering News-Record), two from Advanstar (Motor Age, Automotive Body Repair News), two from Lehbar-Friedman Inc. (Drug Store News, Home Channel News) and one publication from NewBay Media (Tech & Learning).
JoS. A. Bank Clothiers, Inc. announces that net income for the second quarter of fiscal year 2012 increased 12.7% to $23.2 million as compared with net income of $20.6 million for the second quarter of fiscal year 2011. Earnings per share for the second quarter of fiscal year 2012 increased 12.2% to $0.83 per share as compared with earnings per share of $0.74 for the second quarter of fiscal year 2011. Total sales for the second quarter of fiscal year 2012 increased 12.9% to $260.3 million from $230.7 million in the second quarter of fiscal year 2011. Comparable store sales increased 6.1% and Direct Marketing sales increased 39.3% in the second quarter of 2012.
Comparing the first six months of fiscal year 2012 with the first six months of fiscal year 2011, net income declined 1.0% to $38.0 million as compared with $38.4 million and earnings per share declined 0.7% to $1.36 per share as compared to $1.37 per share. Total sales for the first six months of fiscal year 2012 increased 8.9% to $461.7 million from $423.9 million for the first six months of fiscal year 2011, while comparable store sales increased 2.9% and direct marketing sales increased 19.8%.
The second quarter of fiscal year 2012 ended July 28, 2012; the second quarter of fiscal year 2011 ended July 30, 2011.
Effective with all new and existing orders with confirmed delivery dates of October 1, 2012 or later, NewPage is implementing the following price increase:
Grade Increase Amount
•Escanaba® web $3.00/cwt US$/CAD$
•Dependoweb® web $3.00/cwt US$/CAD$
•Capri® web $3.00/cwt US$/CAD$
•Consoweb® web $3.00/cwt US$/CAD$
•Voyager® web $2.00/cwt US$/CAD$
•Superior Gloss® web $2.00/cwt US$/CAD$
This increase applies to all basis weights, finishes, and all related private label grades.
EFI™ Electronics For Imaging, Inc., a world leader in customer-focused digital printing innovation, today announced that Gigantic Color of Dallas, Texas is acquiring an EFI VUTEk® GS5000r five-meter, roll-to-roll UV printer that delivers POP quality yet prints at high speeds required to produce billboards and banners. This is the 500th installation of the highly successful GS series of VUTEk printers.
"We are pleased to be adding this outstanding printer to our production floor," said John Bowers, Sr., owner of Gigantic Color. "We were looking for a reliable, very fast work-horse machine and wanted to work with an industry leader, a company with the latest technologies and one capable of addressing every possible application need. EFI and the VUTEk GS5000r best meet those requirements. But we'll also be able to offer higher resolution images than anyone in the industry, unique multi-layer white ink printing, plus the MCS™ Warranty in partnership with 3M™. With the new VUTEk printer, we can serve our existing customers better and faster, acquire new customers and develop new applications such as printing onto rolled styrene."
"Gigantic Color is the ideal location for the GS5000r," said Scott Schinlever, senior vice president and general manager of EFI's Inkjet Solutions. "We believe that Gigantic Color's highly creative team will be able to do amazing things with this printer to serve its broad customer base in Texas and across the nation. And we are very proud to have them as our 500th installation of the highly successful GS product line, which has only been in the market for a relatively short period of time. Gigantic Color will also be able to take advantage of the capabilities of the Fiery® proServer in streamlining workflow and color management."
NewPage Corporation (NewPage) today announced that it has upgraded its Digital Coated Paper line with a new look and new paper. Sterling® Premium Digital™ and Sterling® Premium Digital™ for HP Indigo are the new digital premium papers without the premium price tag.
"On July 30, NewPage announced that the company's legendary Sterling brand had been reengineered to provide enhanced optics, an extremely smooth surface and premium shade – all at a No. 2 price," stated Aaron Haas, director, Commercial Product Management at NewPage. "Orders for the new sheetfed product, Sterling Premium, began shipping August 6."
Now, digital coated paper buyers can place orders for Sterling Premium Digital to get the same enhanced optics, surface and budget-friendly pricing. Sterling Premium Digital and Sterling Premium Digital for HP Indigo are available in a full range of finishes, weights and sizes – including a new 120 lb. gloss and dull cover weight.
The US newspaper industry has taken to the law courts in an attempt to block a key US Postal Service direct mail contract, which was approved by regulators last week.
The Newspaper Association of America, representing around 2,000 local and community newspapers across the country, filed on Friday for an emergency injunction on the new USPS contract with Michigan-based direct marketing giant Valassis.
The trade association hopes to block the three-year, $107m contract pending a full judicial review.
The contract proposed by USPS back in April offers discounts of around 20% for Valassis if the company sends out at least a million extra mailpieces a year beyond its existing mailing campaigns.
The newspaper industry, which says the deal could actually mean more than 400m extra direct mail items a year, says the Postal Service is giving unfair assistance to Valassis to take advertising that newspapers currently send out via the mail.
But last Thursday the Postal Regulatory Commission approved the contract by four votes to one, ruling that the deal was above cost and would not inflict “unreasonable” harm to the mailing market.
The Swedish airline Malmö Aviation has recently launched new breakfast boxes made of paperboard that save space on board, extend the life of their contents, simplify handling, and have a lower environmental impact than their plastic-based predecessors.
The new boxes are made of Invercote and Invercote Bio from Iggesund Paperboard. The environmental impact is reduced because some members of the Invercote family of paperboard are certified compostable. The new breakfast boxes are the result of a long development process focusing on both functionality and user friendliness. Behind this development were the catering company Picknick, the converting company Omikron, and Malmö Aviation.
The materials used in the boxes are the virgin fibre-based paperboards Invercote and Invercote Bio from Iggesund Paperboard. The outer shell of the box is made of ordinary Invercote. Inside is a serving tray made of Invercote Bio to hold the fresh food. This tray is in turn flow packed with a modified atmosphere to increase the food’s shelf life and help prevent fogging. The ingenious feature of Invercote Bio is that it is coated with bioplastic. This means that the tray can go into the same waste stream as the food scraps – they can all be sent directly to an anaerobic digestion plant to produce biogas without the need for prior sorting.
There are few media platforms more in need of some digital juice than print. As ad pages and newsstand sales plummet, magazines and their advertisers are becoming especially aggressive this year in leveraging mobile activation codes to make that digital link with paper.
According to its latest quarterly survey of the top 100 national consumer magazines in the U.S., Nellymoser finds the instance of mobile codes up 107% between Q2 2011 and Q2 2012. In all, the code counters tallied 2200 QR codes, digital watermarks and Microsoft Tags in the 100 largest circulation generally available magazines. Just last quarter they counted 1365, reflecting a quarter-over-quarter increase of 61%.
Magazines reached a kind of mobile milestone last quarter in that every one of the top 100 magazines Nellymoser perused had at least one code. And 90% of the titles had more than 10 codes in the quarter.
The count is likely to go up considerably in the next report, since the all-important September issues of many magazines are going all-in for mobile activation. A number of titles are using image recognition techniques to make almost every ad actionable. GQ plans to mobilize every ad in its September issue, while Seventeen will have over 250 mobile-ready images.
Mobile activation is emerging as a standard operating procedure for some print ads. In just a year, the share of print ads with codes has risen from 5% to 10%. QR codes continue to be the leading form of activation, with over 80% of the instances. But watermarking and image recognition techniques via augmented reality apps have emerged as important areas of growth. On the editorial side, magazines prefer the less intrusive nature of triggering technologies.
Catalyst Paper today announced that the following individuals have been selected by certain of the senior secured and unsecured noteholders in accordance with the terms of the Court-sanctioned second amended Plan of Arrangement to form the new Board of Directors on the company’s emergence from creditor protection.
John Brecker – Mr. Brecker brings director and management experience in a family of hedge funds as well as operations expertise in the chemical, retail and auto industries.
Giorgio Caputo –Mr. Caputo is a Portfolio Manager and Senior Analyst with First Eagle’s Global Value Team.
John Charles – Mr. Charles is a CA with more than 30 years of leadership experience in telecommunications, investment banking, mining and real estate.
Kevin J. Clarke – Mr. Clarke is currently President and CEO and a director of Catalyst Paper and will continue on the new Board.
Todd Dillabough – Mr. Dillabough is President, CEO and COO of Trident Resources Corp, an independent natural gas E&P company that was restructured in 2010.
Walter Jones – Mr. Jones brings 25 years of hands-on experience as a turnaround consultant with companies in a range of industries.
Leslie Lederer – Mr. Lederer is a former industry executive with Smurfit-Stone Container Corporation and a specialist in corporate restructuring, financing, mergers and acquisitions.
In preparing to turn governance of Catalyst to the new Board of Directors, current Chairman Jeffrey Marshall noted that many parties played a vital role in ensuring the second amended Plan of Arrangement was approved by creditors and sanctioned by Order of the Supreme Court of British Columbia on June 28, 2012.
Oil rose for the first time in four days in New York as U.S. crude inventories were forecast to drop, a storm headed for the Gulf of Mexico and a fire continued to burn at Venezuela’s biggest refinery.
U.S. crude stockpiles probably fell by 2 million barrels last week, or 0.6 percent, according to a Bloomberg News survey before an Energy Department report tomorrow. Tropical Storm Isaac was near hurricane strength as it headed for the Gulf coast, according to the National Hurricane Center. Storage tanks burned for a fourth day at Venezuela’s 645,000 barrel-a-day Amuay plant, where an Aug. 25 gas explosion killed 48 people. Oil also increased before a U.S. Federal Reserve symposium in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, on Aug. 31.
“Crude trade will remain jittery this week as storm- related disruptions and refinery and storage tank fires in Venezuela keep investors on edge,” said Andrey Kryuchenkov, an analyst at VTB Capital in London. “On top of that we have expectations of action from central bankers.”
Oil for October delivery advanced as much as 87 cents, or 0.9 percent, to $96.34 a barrel and was at $96.10 in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange at 11:27 a.m. London time. The contract fell 68 cents, or 0.7 percent, to $95.47 yesterday, the lowest close since Aug. 15.
Barnes & Noble, Inc., the world’s largest bookseller and leading retailer of content, digital media and educational products, today announced a partnership with UK retailer John Lewis to bring the company’s award-winning NOOK reading experience and leading digital bookstore to its physical stores and online sales channels this autumn. The partnership with John Lewis, a premium department store brand lauded as “the UK’s leading electrical retailer,” will fortify Barnes & Noble’s newly-announced presence in the UK, and will enable UK shoppers to see, touch and experience NOOK devices and digital content.
John Lewis is the first company outside the US to partner with Barnes & Noble to offer highly sought-after NOOK devices in each of its 37 UK stores and on www.johnlewis.com, with Barnes & Noble’s top-ranked line of E Ink® Readers, NOOK Simple Touch™ and NOOK Simple Touch with GlowLight™, the first products to be available. As previously disclosed, Barnes & Noble will also offer NOOK devices and content to UK customers this autumn through its own online storefront, www.nook.co.uk.
Avery Dennison’s Office and Consumer Products division , a global leader in office products, today announced its new app for Android™ devices. The Avery®Templates Everywhere Android™ app joins the Avery family of mobile solutions along with the highly rated iPad® and the iPhone® mobile digital device apps.
The Avery® Templates Everywhere app for Android™ makes it easy for consumers to import contacts from their Android™ smart phone or tablet to print on Avery®mailing labels, shipping labels, business cards, and more . Users simply choose which Avery® label or card to use and select the desired data from the contact list in their Android™ device. The labels or cards are then automatically formatted into the correct layout for their Avery® product.
The Avery® Templates Everywhere app also makes it easy to add new contacts to an Android™ device. Users can simply scan addresses from envelopes or business cards using their Android™ phone or tablet and quickly add them to their address book—a great way to conveniently update mailing lists while attending conferences or meetings.
The easy-to-use app offers the flexibility of printing directly with a compatible printer, saving the project online to a MyAvery™ account for printing later, or sending the label or card project by email for later use. The Avery® Templates Everywhere app is available for free online at Google Play store and the Amazon®App store for Android™.
“The Avery® Templates Everywhere app for Android™ lets consumers easily access the content in their MyAvery™ account from almost anywhere,” says David Maxson, Director of Interactive Marketing for Avery Office and Consumer Products Group. “The new Android™ app offers another way for consumers to place addresses right onto the most popular Avery® products, bringing labeling to their mobile lifestyle.”
Ahlstrom Corporation has today signed an agreement with EQT, the principal owner of Munksjö AB, to combine its Label and Processing business area with Munksjö AB to form a global leader in specialty papers through two partial demergers: one consisting of the Label and Processing operations in Europe (LP Europe) and one in Brazil (Coated Specialties). The new company will be called Munksjö Corporation (in Finnish Munksjö Oyj) and its shares will be listed on NASDAQ OMX Helsinki. The transaction enables Ahlstrom to focus exclusively on its value-added business areas: Building and Energy, Filtration and Food and Medical. Meanwhile, the Label and Processing business area can be further developed together with Munksjö.
"During the past three years, Ahlstrom has systematically executed its strategy towards becoming a focused high performance materials company. This transaction of combining the Label and Processing business area with Munksjö is the most significant step in our strategy execution. It allows us to concentrate our resources to the areas where we see the most attractive value-add and growth opportunities," says Jan Lång, President and CEO of Ahlstrom.
"The essence of our strategy is that our high performance materials protect people, purify air and liquids and provide surface and structure to our customers' products. In addition to reinforcing our global leadership in Filtration, we seek growth opportunities in high performance materials for building, food packaging and medical applications," Lång continues.
The other major step in the process of Ahlstrom focusing its business operations was the divestment of the Home and Personal business area to Suominen Corporation in 2011. Ahlstrom expects the future growth to be realized through organic growth as well as acquisitions and partnerships in the three business areas.
Eastman Kodak outlined its next steps toward a successful emergence from Chapter 11 reorganization as a company primarily focused on commercial, packaging and functional printing solutions and enterprise services. Accordingly, the company has initiated sale processes for its market-leading Personalized Imaging and Document Imaging businesses.
Kodak believes that the sale of these assets, as well as continued cost-reduction initiatives, curtailment of its legacy liabilities, and the monetization of the company’s digital imaging patent portfolio, will be significant milestones toward completing the company’s reorganization and emergence from Chapter 11 during 2013.
“The initiation of a process to sell the Personalized Imaging and Document Imaging businesses is an important step in our company’s reorganization to focus our business on the commercial markets and enable Kodak to accelerate its momentum toward emergence,” said Antonio M. Perez, chairman and CEO. “In addition, we continue our initiatives to reduce our cost structure and streamline our operating models in an effort to return the company to profitability.”
“We are reshaping Kodak. We continue to rebalance our company toward commercial, packaging and functional printing—in which we have the broadest portfolio solutions—and enterprise services. These businesses have substantial long-term growth prospects worldwide and are core to the future of Kodak. We are confident that our competitive advantages in materials science and deposition technologies, as well as our know-how in digital imaging, will enable us to capitalize on those opportunities and extend our leadership in key growth markets,” added Perez.
About.com is about to add a new chapter in its short, but storied history as the Web’s first important content farmer, changing hands Sunday night from one of the world’s most elite content organizations, The New York Times Co., to one of its shrewdest, Barry Diller’s IAC, which agreed to acquire it for $300 million in cash.
The deal is part of the New York Times Co.’s overall strategy to liquidate “non-core” assets and focus on its major newspapers and digital publishing extensions, especially The New York Times. The deal also reflects the declining value of content farms in a world of increasing content clutter, including even more sophisticated, algorithmically based content engines such as Demand Media, prosaic content aggregators like BuzzMedia, and a torrent of brand content from marketers and content seeding platforms.
Given the growing morass of marginal content, The New York Times Co.’s decision to unbundle About.com seems like a smart move, and signals a vision that context, not content may actually be king in a digital publishing environment where content has become ubiquitous and seemingly undifferentiated, especially as the lines between professional journalism, user- and brand-generated content seem to be tipping the scales. Earlier this year, Facebook released research estimating that in 2003, the Internet was generating one petabyte of new content annually, and that this year it would generate one petabyte of new information every two or three days.
The New York Times Co.’s decision also reflects the changing economics of generic content relevance in a marketplace of information glut. The New York Times. Co., which acquired About.com from Primedia in 2005 for $410. Primedia acquired it from its founders for $690 million, which means About.com is now worth about 56% less than it was 12 years ago.
Oil climbed the most in a week and gasoline rose to the highest in almost four months as Tropical Storm Isaac strengthened, crimping output in the Gulf of Mexico, and a fire in Venezuela shut part of the world’s No. 2 refinery.
West Texas Intermediate futures climbed as much as 1.6 percent in New York and gasoline surged 4.1 percent. The storm is expected to become a hurricane in “a day or so” as it approaches the northern Gulf coast, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said today. Isaac has shut about 24 percent of U.S. oil production and 8.2 percent of natural-gas output from the Gulf, the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement said yesterday. Firefighters in Venezuela are working to quench fires at two storage tanks after a gas explosion at the Amuay plant, part of the Paraguana complex, killed at least 39 people.
“Oil is higher as the tropical storm is expected to shut in oil in the Gulf of Mexico almost entirely in coming days,” said Carsten Fritsch, an analyst at Commerzbank AG in Frankfurt. “The market is reacting to this temporary supply risk, which will lead to a drop in U.S. inventories. The temporary shutdown of refineries in the Gulf will also lower gasoline supplies.”
Oil for October delivery increased as much as $1.57 to $97.72 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange and was at $97.17 at 9:00 a.m. London time. Front-month prices were up 0.2 percent last week, closing at $96.15 on Aug. 24.
Valassis, one of the nation's leading media and marketing services companies, announced today that it will begin moving forward with plans to introduce a mail product that provides national retail advertisers an affordable avenue to reach a broad base of consumers following the Postal Regulatory Commission's (PRC) approval of a three-year negotiated service agreement (NSA).
"We applaud the PRC's decision and their validation of this innovative proposal," said Steve Mitzel, Valassis Senior Vice President/General Manager, Shared Mail. "They have endorsed the dynamic elements embodied in the Valassis NSA that should incentivize new mail volume growth and marketplace expansion."
Under the terms of the agreement, the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) will provide discounted mailing rates allowing Valassis to attract durable goods advertisers with physical retail outlets in 30 or more states in distinct markets where the company has existing Standard Mail Saturation programs.
"As partners with the USPS and newspapers, we will continue to work hard to sustain the relevancy of hard copy, consumer-valued advertising and promotion delivered to American mailboxes," said Rob Mason, Valassis President and Chief Executive Officer. "It's time to begin the real work of executing our plan and we are excited about testing this program in select markets over the next few months."
The traditional image of young adults gathered around a magazine really hasn’t changed much, although the sharing process is more likely to be virtual nowadays, according to a new benchmark study conducted by GfK MRI for the MPA, the Association of Magazine Media.
The GfK MRI/MPA study, titled “Magazine Readers Are Social,” found that social media enhances distribution, consumption and engagement with magazine content, especially among readers ages 18-34.
A large proportion of young adult magazine readers are also using social media, with 91% using Facebook, 61% using YouTube and 40% using Twitter. Among magazine readers in this age group who use Twitter, 56% say they follow a magazine brand on the microblogging site -- a proportion that jumps to 69% among self-identified “avid magazine readers," who make up 40% of the total survey group.
Sixty-three percent of self-identified “avid readers”have visited a magazine Facebook page, and 62% have posted magazine articles to Facebook. Some 55% of all readers who use Facebook subscribe to a magazine editor or columnist. Overall, 68% of respondents said that technology has improved their media experience.
While the survey group is undoubtedly connected and mobile, with 80% owning a smartphone, that doesn’t mean that they’re ditching print -- 95% say they still read magazines in the traditional format. At the same time, 43% read digital editions, indicating there is a large cohort that moves back and forth between print and digital. They’re also multitasking while consuming magazines, in whatever format: 42% of all respondents said they chat with friends on Facebook while reading a magazine and share what they’re reading, a proportion that rises to 57% among avid readers.
AAA’s Fuel Gage Report as of 8/24/12
National Unleaded Regular:
Current Average - $3.730/gallon
Month Ago Average - $3.485/gallon
Year Ago Average - $3.575/gallon
Highest Recorded Average - $4.114/gallon on 7/17/08
Current Average - $4.019/gallon
Month Ago Average - $3.763/gallon
Year Ago Average - $3.877/gallon
Highest Recorded Average - $4.845/gallon on 7/17/08
Current Exchange Rates as of 8/24/12
American Dollar to Canadian Dollar = 0.99397
American Dollar to Chinese Yuan = 0.157339
American Dollar to Euro = 1.250708
American Dollar to Japanese Yen = 0.010186
American Dollar to Mexican Peso = 0.060485
Resolute Forest Products Inc. announced today that its paper mill in Dolbeau-Mistassini (Québec) is to resume operations. This decision follows the receipt of a notice of acceptance of the tender regarding the sale of electricity to be produced at the Company's Mistassini cogeneration facility to Hydro-Québec. The restart of operations represents an investment of $20 million.
Production of soft nip calendered (SNC and SCB) commercial printing paper will resume as soon as the recall of employees is completed. The restart of the mill will provide direct employment for approximately 135 workers.
"We spared no effort to relaunch the Dolbeau mill because it is a good investment," stated Richard Garneau, President and Chief Executive Officer of Resolute, who was in the Lac-Saint-Jean region to confirm the news. "With today's announcement, Resolute will be more competitive than ever."
The American Forest & Paper Association released its July 2012 U.S. Recovered Fiber Monthly Report today.
According to the report, total U.S. industry consumption of recovered paper in July was 2.43 million tons, less than 1 percent lower than June 2012. Year-to-date consumption in 2012 is 4 percent lower than during the same period last year.
U.S. exports of recovered paper, as reported by the U.S. Census Bureau, dropped 3 percent in June compared to May, led by a steep decrease in Pulp Substitutes exports to China. Year-to-date exports of recovered paper in 2012 are 5.5 percent lower than during the same period in 2011.
The American Forest & Paper Association has released its July 2012 Printing-Writing Paper Report.
According to the report, total printing-writing paper shipments decreased 3 percent last month compared to July 2011. Shipments of coated mechanical papers posted the only year-over-year increase among the four major grades. U.S. purchases (demand) of printing-writing papers also decreased by 4 percent in July. Additional key findings include:
Shipments of coated mechanical papers increased compared to July 2011 – the third such year-over-year increase in 2012.
Shipments of coated free sheet papers reached a new high for the year but still decreased slightly year-over-year.
Shipments of uncoated free sheet papers were down year-over-year, the fifth consecutive year-over-year decrease.
Uncoated mechanical paper shipments continue the downward trend with sixteen consecutive month year-over-year decreases.
Oil is heading for the first weekly decline in a month amid concern of slowing economic growth in the U.S. and speculation that European leaders aren’t making progress on resolving the region’s debt crisis.
Futures fell for a second day, sliding as much as 0.9 percent. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she and French President Francois Hollande will maintain the pressure on Greece to overhaul its economy at meetings with Prime Minister Antonis Samaras in Berlin today and tomorrow. U.S. unemployment claims rose to the highest level in a month and consumer confidence fell to the lowest since January, reports showed yesterday.
“Oil is down today on economic concerns,” said Carsten Fritsch, an analyst at Commerzbank AG in Frankfurt. “QE3 hopes, geopolitical tensions and supply-side risks should limit the downside,” he said, referring to a possible third phase of asset purchases by the Federal Reserve.
Crude for October delivery dropped as much as 86 cents to $95.41 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange and was at $95.80 at 12:30 p.m. London time. The contract yesterday fell 1 percent to $96.27, the lowest close since Aug. 20.
Bonnier Corp. has announced the formation of the Bonnier Innovation Lab. The new initiative is designed to accelerate early stage growth of start-up companies that are offering progressive new methods for the way media is created, distributed and consumed.
"Bonnier Innovation Lab is centered on accelerating company growth via access to expertise and customers that the founders would otherwise not have access to as an early stage company," said David Rich, director of the Bonnier Innovation Lab. "We can provide invaluable feedback to help drive the best possible end product, as well as provide a source of early revenue that many start-ups struggle to find."
Four start-up companies will be chosen for a 14-week program slated for next January through April 2013, set for Bonnier's Boulder, Colorado, office. Prospective companies can apply for the program at www.bonniercorp.com/innovationlab. The program seeks applicants whose core customers would be media companies such as Bonnier as well as bloggers/blog networks, mobile/tablet publishers, multimedia distribution, online news outlets, television, movie studios, social media networks and photo and video-sharing providers.
During the 14-week program, the topics discussed will include Product Development Cycle; Audience Development, including SEO, SEM, Social Media Marketing, and Community Management; Content Strategy; Email Marketing; Consumer Marketing/Consumer Behavior; and Investor Relations. Outside speakers and Bonnier staff will take part in the seminar portion of the program.
The U.S. Postal Service's (USPS) oversight body, the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC), released Aug. 23 its advisory opinion on the nationwide Post Office Structure Plan (POStPlan), which allows the USPS to begin implementing reduced hours of retail service at approximately 13,000 locations, says PRC chairman Ruth Goldway.
Operating hours will remain unchanged at most post offices, and fewer than 100 locations will see an increase. Mail and parcel delivery times are unaffected by the POStPlan changes, which focus on reducing post office retail operating costs without violating Title 39, USPS's legislative mandate for comprehensive nationwide service.
By issuing a favorable opinion, the PRC signals that USPS can make the proposed changes without falling afoul of statute. Over the next two years, the affected locations will reduce weekday operations to two, four, or six hours. The plan maintains all collection and post office box services and Saturday hours remain unchanged.
To calibrate the new hours of service to the needs of local communities, the USPS will survey customers and stage presentations at each of the 13,000 affected locations. "The issue was to align retail hours with what customer demand seemed to be in these communities, and to provide universal service but with fewer hours of access," Goldway says. "We believe that the Postal Service has demonstrated that they have a commitment to universal service and retail access through this plan, and believe it meets the minimum standards of Title 39."
The advocacy group Consumer Watchdog is asking a federal judge for permission to weigh in against Google's plan to pay a $22.5 million fine to settle privacy charges with the Federal Trade Commission.
Consumer Watchdog argues that the deal in this case isn't appropriate because Google is denying liability. The nonprofit filed papers this week asking U.S. District Court Judge Susan Illston to allow it to submit a friend-of-the-court brief in the case.
Consumer Watchdog -- which has long criticized the search giant -- also is asking Illston to order the FTC and Google to more fully flesh out why they believe the settlement should move forward.
Google said in a statement that it is "confident that there is no basis for this challenge" to the proposed resolution.
The settlement, announced earlier this month, would resolve contempt charges stemming from allegations that Google developed a workaround to Safari's no-tracking settings. Google still faces a potential class-action lawsuit by users who say the company violated their privacy.
Google said it originally developed a workaround to Safari's no-tracking settings in order to allow Safari users to like ads with the +1 button. But once the workaround was in place, Google's DoubleClick was able to track people in order to target ads to them, based on their Web-surfing history.
HP today announced financial results for its third fiscal quarter ended July 31, 2012. For the quarter, net revenue of $29.7 billion was down 5% year over year and down 2% when adjusted for the effects of currency.
GAAP loss per share was $4.49, down from earnings per share (EPS) of $0.93 in the prior-year period. Non-GAAP diluted EPS was $1.00, down 9% from the prior-year period. Third quarter non-GAAP earnings information excludes after-tax costs of $10.8 billion, or $5.49 per diluted share, related to the amortization and impairment of purchased intangible assets, the impairment of goodwill, restructuring charges, acquisition-related charges and charges relating to the wind-down of certain retail publishing business activities, including the previously announced charges related to the impairment of goodwill within HP’s Services segment, the restructuring program announced in May 2012, and the impairment of the purchased intangible asset associated with the “Compaq” trade name.
The e-book may be the future but it is not yet working, according to librarians and scholarly publishers speaking to the annual meeting of the Special Libraries Association in Chicago in late July.
‘Where are we? In the Wild West,’ Rebecca Vargha of the University of North Carolina’s Library told the meeting during her discussion about ‘e-books: promises and realities’. She noted: ‘I don’t think there is an optimal model yet. Students and instructors are dissatisfied with the content and the interface of e-books.’
Her librarian’s perspective was, interestingly, echoed by a representative of a scholarly publishing house. Krista Coulson, digital publishing manager for the University of Chicago Press, said that the diversity of models is causing confusion. She pointed out that e-books account for about 10 per cent of the Press’s revenues – meaning that 90 per cent of revenues are not from e-books – and that it is impossible to predict the sales of e-books and their use in libraries. In this context, she said, it is difficult to get the design department to set time aside for e-book work.
Rebecca Vargha cited the example of students wanting to use textbooks at unsocial hours. It is in the nature of the way that students work that, if they have an assignment to hand in on Monday morning, many will be up all Sunday night consulting texts and finishing off their work. But if the text is an e-book held on a publisher’s server that is routinely taken down for maintenance on Sunday nights, the students will fail their course-work assignments.
Equally, ‘pricing of e-books is not attractive.’ Because there is no second-hand market for e-books, she pointed out, students who have to re-sit a course can find themselves having to ‘buy’ the same book at full price a second time. For those studying mathematics and sciences, she added, format is a big issue. Tables and equations are seldom correctly formatted and crucial elements are often missing.
Best Buy Co., Inc. today announced GAAP net earnings from continuing operations were $12 million, or $0.04 per diluted share, for the three months ended August 4, 2012 compared to net earnings from continuing operations of $150 million, or $0.39 per diluted share for the prior-year period. Excluding previously announced restructuring charges, adjusted (non-GAAP) net earnings from continuing operations for the second quarter of fiscal 2013 were $68 million, or $0.20 per diluted share.
The Domestic segment comparable store sales decline of 1.6 percent was driven by declines in gaming within the Entertainment revenue category, digital imaging and televisions within the Consumer Electronics revenue category and notebooks within the Computing and Mobile Phones revenue category. These declines were partially offset by comparable store sales growth in tablets and mobile phones within the Computing & Mobile Phones revenue category, the Appliances revenue category, and eReaders within the Consumer Electronics revenue category. The Domestic segment online channel revenue grew 14 percent compared to the prior-year period.
The International segment comparable store sales decline of 8.2 percent was driven by the lower growth in consumer spending in China and the continued impact from the expiration of government sponsored programs, which negatively impacted sales in Five Star. Market softness in notebooks, digital imaging and home theater in Canada also contributed to the International comparable store sales decline.
Domestic segment gross profit decreased 6 percent, reflecting a rate decline of 110 basis points compared to the prior-year period. The Domestic segment rate decline was primarily due to three factors. In mobile phones, connection growth and a mix into higher price point smart phones resulted in strong comp sales and gross profit dollar growth, although at a lower overall rate. Second, industry softness in computing resulted in increased promotional activity in the quarter to stimulate consumer demand ahead of the second half of fiscal 2013, which will include the Windows 8 launch. Finally, there was less favorable product mix within the television category.
International segment gross profit declined 9 percent, reflecting a rate decline of 130 basis points compared to the prior-year period. This rate decline was driven by Best Buy Europe and due primarily to increased mix of lower margin wholesale sales and promotional activity within a price competitive environment for mobile phones.
American Eagle Outfitters, Inc. today announced income from continuing operations increased 62% to $0.21 per diluted share for the second quarter ended July 28, 2012, compared to $0.13 per diluted share for the comparable quarter last year. Due to the closure of the 77kids business, results are presented as discontinued operations for all periods and are further discussed below. Net income for the second quarter, which includes a loss from discontinued operations, was $0.09 per diluted share, compared to $0.10 per diluted share last year.
Net sales increased 11% to a record $740 million, compared to $669 million last year.
Comparable store sales, including AE Direct, increased 9%, compared to a 1% increase last year.
Gross profit increased 17% to $277 million, or 37.4% as a rate to sales, compared to $236 million, or 35.3% as a rate to sales, last year. Decreased product costs and markdowns led to a 120 basis point improvement in the merchandise margin. Buying, occupancy and warehousing costs improved 90 basis points due to strong sales.
Selling general and administrative expense of $178 million, which excludes $4 million of restructuring costs, improved 40 basis points to 24.0%, compared to 24.4% last year.
1-800-FLOWERS.COM, Inc., the world's leading florist and gift shop, today reported results for its fiscal 2012 fourth quarter and full year. Total revenue from continuing operations for the year increased 7.6 percent to $716.3 million in fiscal 2012 and 4.0 percent to $179.6 million in the fiscal fourth quarter ended July 1, 2012 on a comparable, non-GAAP basis reflecting results for fiscal 2012 full year which include 52 weeks compared with 53 weeks in fiscal 2011 and fiscal 2012 fourth quarter results which include 13 weeks compared with 14 weeks and the shift of the Easter holiday. On a reported basis, fiscal 2012 revenues grew 6.6 percent and fourth quarter revenues declined 1.4 percent.
Gross profit margin from continuing operations for the year was 41.0 percent, down 20 basis points compared with 41.2 percent in the prior year. For the fourth quarter, gross margin increased 100 basis points to 41.2 percent, compared with 40.2 percent in the prior year period. Operating expenses increased $11.2 million during the year, while operating expense ratio improved 90 basis points to 38.3 percent of total net sales, compared with 39.2 percent in the prior year. For the quarter, operating expenses decreased $1.6 million to $71.6 million, compared with $73.3 million in the prior year period, while operating expense ratio improved by 30 basis points to 39.9 percent, compared with 40.2 percent in the prior year period.
Presstek, Inc., a leading supplier of digital offset printing solutions to the printing and communications industries ("Presstek"), today announced that it has entered into a definitive merger agreement under which it would be acquired by MAI Holdings, Inc., an entity affiliated with American Industrial Partners Capital Fund IV, L.P. ("AIP").
Under the terms of the agreement and plan of merger, which has been unanimously approved by the Company's Board of Directors, Presstek's shareholders will receive $0.50 in cash for each share of Common Stock. This represents a premium of 16.3% over closing share price of the Common Stock on August 22, 2012. The agreement is subject to the approval of shareholders and other customary closing conditions and is expected to close during the fourth quarter of 2012. In connection with the transaction, AIP has obtained the agreement of Presstek's largest shareholder, IAT Reinsurance Company, Ltd. and its affiliates, which own 24.5% of the outstanding Common Stock, to vote in favor of the merger at the special shareholders meeting to be called for that purpose, subject to certain conditions.
Pacific Sunwear of California, Inc., announced today that net sales for the second quarter of fiscal 2012 ended July 28, 2012, were $210.3 million versus net sales of $200.9 million for the second quarter of fiscal 2011 ended July 30, 2011.
On a GAAP basis, the Company reported a loss from continuing operations of $17.5 million, or $(0.26) per share, for the second quarter of fiscal 2012, compared to a loss from continuing operations of $17.5 million, or $(0.26) per share, for the second quarter of fiscal 2011. The loss from continuing operations for the Company's second quarter of fiscal 2012 included a non-cash loss of $8.2 million, or $0.12 per share, related to a derivative liability that resulted from the issuance of the Convertible Series B Preferred Stock (the "Series B Preferred") in connection with the term loan financing the Company completed in December 2011.
Oil rose to a three-month high in New York amid speculation that central banks in the U.S. and China will ease monitory policy to stimulate growth.
West Texas Intermediate futures added as much as 1.1 percent after minutes of the U.S. Federal Reserve’s last meeting showed many policy makers favor more stimulus unless the economic recovery picks up. People’s Bank of China Governor Zhou Xiaochuan said adjustments to interest rates and banks’ reserve requirements are still possible. U.S. crude inventories dropped 5.4 million barrels last week, the Energy Department said. That was more than forecast.
“All the bad news for the economy is good news because it means we are that much closer to quantitative easing,” said Torbjoern Kjus, an oil analyst at DNB ASA in Oslo. “The Chinese will likely do it because the leadership does not want to transfer power without securing the economy first.”
Oil for October delivery gained as much as $1.03 to $98.29 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the highest since May 4. The contract was at $97.91 at 11:33 a.m. London time. Prices are 0.9 percent lower this year.
Brent oil for October settlement advanced 1.1 percent to $116.14 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange.
Cenveo Inc., a Stamford, Conn.-based printing services company, has informed state of Wisconsin officials that it has decided to close its plant in Kenosha, resulting in the loss of 103 jobs.
The Cenveo EPG Kenosha facility, at 5612 95th Ave., is expected to permanently close Oct. 19, according to a mass layoff notice filed with the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development. Under state law, employers employing 50 or more individuals in the state are required to give 60 days notice before a mass layoff or closing.
Cenveo acquired the Kenosha plant with its February 2011 acquisition of MeadWestvaco Corp.'s Envelope Product Group. Cenveo had previously said that the integration of the MeadWestvaco business would result in plant consolidations and job cuts.
Creel Printing has extended its G7 designation, achieving Master Printer certification across prepress, sheetfed, and heatset web operations. It is among an elite group of G7-certified printers in the southwest, and is the only company in Nevada holding all three merits. Creel has held the prestigious G7 distinction since 2009.
G7 Master qualification signifies that a company uses the most modern technology, standards, and quality controls to produce a near-exact match from proof to print, time after time, regardless of substrate. With Creel’s combined prepress/press certifications, customers are ensured the best possible accuracy from their final files, enabling easy one-stop sourcing.
Since it reduces waste and makeready times, G7 is also a more cost-effective and sustainable approach to printing—an added benefit.
“Perfect color matching makes a critical difference in companies’ advertising and marketing results, yet few print providers can achieve it,” noted Chris Evans, vp, premedia & customer solutions. “Creel’s closed-loop, proof-to-press G7-certified process guarantees exact reproduction. Our customers can be confident they are getting the very best possible color match and the meticulous quality Creel is known for.”
NewPage announced today that it has teamed with L.L.Bean and the Wisconsin Woodland Owners Association (WWOA) in an effort to increase sustainably managed woodlands in six Central Wisconsin counties. The project partners will provide forest management assistance and third-party certification using certification standards of the American Tree Farm System to woodland owners at no cost.
The initial pilot program is targeted at WWOA-member woodland owners in the Central Sands Chapter, which includes: Wood, Portage, Waushara, Adams, Juneau and Marquette counties. To date, 42 landowners owning more than 6,000 acres of forest have committed to the program.
According to Brian Kozlowski, director of Sustainable Development at NewPage, "This groundbreaking project reflects a shared commitment to forest stewardship. At the same time it helps increase the availability of locally certified wood to support the growing demand from our customers, including L.L.Bean, seeking paper sourced from certified timberlands."
In 2011, 48 percent of the fiber purchased by NewPage came from certified sources. NewPage is the largest buyer of pulpwood in the Great Lake States. This program is designed to increase the level of certification and provide forest management resources to WWOA members.
Gannett Co., Inc. today acquired BLiNQ Media LLC, a leading global innovator of Social Engagement Advertising(SM) solutions for agencies and brands. Since 2008, BLiNQ has managed social media marketing campaigns for more than 600 of the world's largest advertisers.
"With demand for social media marketing solutions continuing to grow at a rapid pace, this acquisition is part of our ongoing transformation at Gannett and positions us to be a leader in both local and global social media marketing. BLiNQ will enhance Gannett Digital Marketing Services' ability to deliver a one-stop shop for all marketing needs, including social marketing," said Gracia Martore, president and CEO at Gannett.
"BLiNQ has the ability to deliver innovative and differentiated social media marketing solutions, especially at the local level, which is great news for businesses in our 100+ local communities, as well as for national brands that want to reach audiences in those communities."
BLiNQ will continue to operate its core business as part of Gannett's portfolio of brands, providing technology and media solutions for social advertising and engagement to agencies and brands. As part of Gannett's Digital Marketing Services organization, BLiNQ will help develop innovative social marketing solutions for businesses that want to reach local consumers. Gannett Digital Marketing Services will fully leverage BLiNQ's BAM 2.0 technology platform, which facilitates social media campaign planning, set-up, management, optimization and insights. BLiNQ will have a strong focus on delivering robust solutions for local social engagement at scale, including working closely with ShopLocal to help shape best practices and results in reaching, engaging and building loyalty with retail consumers via social media. Dave Williams, BLiNQ's CEO, will report to Vikram Sharma, president and CEO at Gannett Digital Marketing Services. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Direct mail spending rose to $21 billion in 2011. Up 2.9 percent from 2010, according to the Magna Advertising Group, direct mail is one of the largest advertising channels for U.S. businesses.
“Direct mail creates a one-on-one connection that’s hard for other media channels to match,” says Tom Foti, manager, Direct Mail and Periodicals. “The average household receives only two pieces of direct mail a day compared with 157 emails. It lets you incorporate coupons, reply cards, mobile barcodes — such as QR codes — URLs and other response mechanisms. Direct mail is a workhorse for generating leads, traffic and sales.”
Direct mail is a powerful part of an integrated marketing campaign. By using it, businesses can target advertising dollars on those most likely to respond. By choosing what to measure — from offers to creative elements — businesses can reach almost anyone and then use the data to improve effectiveness. “Tell customers the complete story; mail is not limited to a 30-second sound bite,” added Foti.
Virtually everyone has a mailing address, and direct mail allows businesses to tailor each mail piece with highly personalized messaging, offers and graphics — enabled by today’s technologies. Tap into countless creative formats, touching every sense through product samples or QR codes. Begin to learn more about your customers with surveys or reply cards. And as a highly trackable medium, mail lets you monitor impact and return on investment.
Collective Brands stockholders voted at a special meeting on Tuesday to approve the sale of the company for about $1.32 billion.
Collective, which owns the Payless and Stride Rite shoe store banners, had announced in May that it accepted a purchase offer from a group that includes Wolverine Worldwide Inc., Blum Capital Partners and Golden Gate Capital.
The transaction will split Payless and Collective’s brand development and licensing arm into separate companies. Wolverine, which owns Hush Puppy, will acquire the Performance + Lifestyle Group, which includes Sperry Top-Sider, Saucony, Stride Rite and Keds.
Microsoft is rolling out a series of new ad units to support the more than $8.4 billion that marketers spend quarterly on online media ads. The units, ranging in size and function, will assist marketers with multichannel advertising strategies across PC, tablet, Xbox, Skype and mobile.
VPAID ads, for example, are user-initiated ads highlighting video storytelling. Unlike pre-roll video ads, people can interact directly with videos instead of just watching them.
Mindmap, exclusive to the MSN home page, creates a digital circular-style ad of up to 30 products. The Magnetic Canvas ad creates a 3D effect when users hover over the ad. The Swell ad expands, but doesn't interfere with the content being read.
Polymorphic Ads allow advertisers to scale creative assets across multiple devices and ad sizes, freeing up production time and budgets. Eventually, these ads will run across MSN, Windows 8 apps, Xbox and mobile.
About 56% of those on the Internet visit MSN's pages monthly, and 76 million of them don't visit AOL or Yahoo, according to comScore. The data research firm also shows that consumers stay on Microsoft sites longer.
For the first time, mobile devices have topped laptops in public Wi-Fi network usage, according to a Q2 2012 study by location-based mobile ad network JiWire. JiWire serves ads to devices accessing the web via 30,000 public Wi-Fi locations in North America, the company reports.
In Q2 2011, 70% of public Wi-Fi network traffic stemmed from laptops, while only 21% came from smartphones and 9% from tablets, JiWire finds. But one year changed everything. In Q2 2012, laptop traffic sunk to less than half, 48%, while smartphone traffic jumped to 35% and tablets to 17%.
“This represents a major milestone: Mobile devices are leading a category that has historically been considered laptop-centric, and in places like restaurants and shopping malls,” says Dee Dee Paeseler, director of strategic marketing at JiWire. “Now it becomes more about reaching the right audience in the right location with the right message.”
Mobile devices dominated the airwaves in shopping malls and restaurants. 50% of Wi-Fi traffic in shopping malls stemmed from smartphones, 37% from laptops and 13% from tablets, JiWire finds. 72% of Wi-Fi traffic in restaurants came from smartphones, 20% from laptops and 8% from tablets, the study says.
Chico's FAS, Inc. today announced its financial results for the fiscal 2012 second quarter and twenty-six weeks ended July 28, 2012.
For the second quarter, the Company reported net income of $53.4 million, an increase of 23% compared to net income of $43.4 million in last year's second quarter and record earnings per diluted share of $0.32, an increase of 28% compared to $0.25 per diluted share in last year's second quarter.
For the twenty-six weeks ended July 28, 2012, the Company reported record net income of $107.0 million, an increase of 20% compared to net income of $89.3 million in the same period last year and record earnings per diluted share of $0.64, an increase of 25% compared to $0.51 per diluted share in the same period last year.
For the second quarter, net sales were $641.7 million, an increase of 16.4% compared to $551.4 million in last year's second quarter, reflecting comparable sales growth of 5.6%, square footage increase of 7.4%, and sales for Boston Proper of $32.6 million. The 5.6% increase in comparable sales for the second quarter was on top of a 12.8% increase in last year's second quarter, for a two-year stack of 18.4%, and reflected increases in both average dollar sale and transaction count. The Company's comparable sales growth primarily reflected the effectiveness of the Company's innovative marketing plans, a positive customer response to the Company's merchandise offering and new product launches.
Books-A-Million, Inc. today announced financial results for the 13-week and 26-week periods ended July 28, 2012. Net sales for the 13-week period ended July 28, 2012 increased 14.9% to $120.4 million compared with sales of $104.8 million in the year-earlier period. Comparable store sales for the second quarter increased 0.5%, compared with the 13-week period in the prior year. Net loss from continuing operations for the second quarter was $0.9 million, or $0.06 per diluted share, compared with net loss from continuing operations of $2.9 million, or $0.18 per diluted share, in the year-earlier period.
For the 26-week period ended July 28, 2012, net sales increased 12.7% to $233.5 million from net sales of $207.2 million in the year-earlier period. Comparable store sales declined 1.8% compared with the same period in the prior year. For the 26-week period ended July 28, 2012, the Company reported net loss from continuing operations of $2.8 million, or $0.18 per diluted share, compared with net loss from continuing operations of $6.3 million, or $0.40 per diluted share, in the year-earlier period.
Oil dropped from its highest close in three days in London as concern that demand will weaken countered signs of shrinking supply in the U.S., the world’s biggest crude consumer.
Brent dropped as much as 1 percent after Japan’s trade deficit widened more than expected as Europe’s debt crisis and a slowdown in China dragged down exports. An Energy Department report today may show U.S. crude supplies slid by 250,000 barrels, according to a Bloomberg News survey. United Nations nuclear inspectors and Iran agreed to meet again over access to disputed documents, people and sites allegedly linked to the Persian Gulf country’s nuclear program.
“Oil is going to be caught in a tug-of-war range until the issues of geopolitical turbulence or economic slump are resolved,” said Christopher Bellew, a senior broker at Jefferies Bache Ltd. in London. “Ultimately, bullish factors such as tension over Iran, instability in the wider Middle East and good economic growth in emerging markets will win out, but for now the market will be range-bound.”
Brent oil for October settlement on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange was at $113.59 a barrel, down $1.05, as of 12:06 p.m. local time. Yesterday, it settled at $114.64, the highest since Aug. 16. The European benchmark crude was at a $17.25 premium to New York-traded West Texas Intermediate grade, from $17.80 yesterday.
Barnes & Noble, Inc. today reported sales and earnings for its fiscal 2013 first quarter ended July 28, 2012.
First quarter consolidated revenues increased 2.5% to $1.5 billion as compared to the prior year. First quarter consolidated earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) was $4 million as compared to a loss of $24 million a year ago. The consolidated first quarter net loss declined 28% as compared to the prior year to $41.0 million, or $0.78 per share.
“During the first quarter, we continued to see improvement in both our rapidly growing NOOK business, which saw digital content sales increase 46% during the quarter, and at our bookstores, which continue to benefit from market consolidation and strong sales of the Fifty Shades series,” said William Lynch, Chief Executive Officer of Barnes & Noble. “The growth in comps at retail and the continued strong growth of our digital content business, as well as increased cost management focus, were drivers in the business turning from an EBITDA loss last year to slightly positive EBITDA in the first quarter of this year. As announced yesterday, we are excited to expand our award winning NOOK digital bookstore and devices beyond the U.S. market and to work with U.K. retailers to bring millions of U.K. customers the best experience in digital reading.”
PPPC released final July print/write stats after the close. Shipments fell 5.5% y/y, improved from the 11.5% drop in June. Inventories fell 14kt vs normal 20kt rise. Op rate was flat m/m and up 200bp m/m. Net imports were flat m/m and up 3% y/y.
While still reflecting weak markets, the data was notably improved from a particularly weak June. The shipment decline moderated to 5.5% from 11.5% with only a slightly easier comp in July. Demand fell 5.1% year over year versus an approximate 12% decline in June. Inventories fell 14,000 tonnes (~1%) compared to a typical 20,000 increase in July. Inventories stand at the lowest level since February. Trade flows were mixed. Net imports were flat month over month and up 3% year over year. Total imports rose 11.6% year over year, while exports increased 16.4% compared to July 2011. While the pickup in imports is consistent with recent currency moves, the rise in exports is less intuitive.
In terms of grades, coated groundwood had the highest operating rate and best shipment/demand trends. However the grade faced a materially easier comp than other grades. The grade had a slightly favorable inventory change compared to normal. Coated groundwood had the most negative trade trends.
dELiA*s, Inc., a multi-channel retail company comprised of two lifestyle brands primarily targeting teenage girls and young women, today announced the results for its second quarter of fiscal 2012.
Second Quarter Fiscal 2012 Highlights:
Total revenue increased 8.9% to $48.3 million from $44.3 million in the second quarter of fiscal 2011. Revenue from the retail segment increased 8.8% to $28.7 million, including a comparable store sales increase of 14.0%. Revenue from the direct segment increased 9.1% to $19.6 million.
Consolidated gross margin was 33.4% compared to 27.0% in the prior year quarter, primarily due to increased merchandise margins and leveraging of occupancy costs.
Net loss was $5.2 million, or $0.17 per diluted share, compared to net loss for the second quarter of fiscal 2011 of $9.6 million, or $0.31 per diluted share.
Urban Outfitters, Inc., a leading lifestyle specialty retail company operating under the Anthropologie, BHLDN, Free People, Terrain and Urban Outfitters brands, today announced net income of $61 million and $95 million for the three and six months ended July 31, 2012, respectively. Earnings per diluted share were $0.42 and $0.65 for the three and six months ended July 31, 2012, respectively.
Total Company net sales rose by 11% over the same quarter last year to $676 million. Comparable retail segment net sales, which include our comparable direct-to-consumer channel, increased 4% for the quarter, while comparable store net sales decreased 1%. Comparable retail segment net sales at Free People and Urban Outfitters increased 12%, and 6%, respectively, while comparable retail segment net sales at Anthropologie were flat for the quarter. Direct-to-Consumer net sales increased 22% and wholesale segment net sales rose 17% for the quarter.