The move to increase the minimum wage gained significant ground in 2020 on the state level. Twenty-five states will raise the minimum wage in 2021, with 21 of those states enacting the increases on January 1, according to payroll experts at Wolters Kluwer Legal & Regulatory U.S. The firm noted that some of the hikes in states such as California, Colorado, Maine, Washington are the result of previously approved incremental increases to reach a specific amount that is considered to be a "living wage." Other states' increases reflect an annual cost-of-living adjustment, which accounts for the changes in states like Alaska, Florida, Minnesota, and Montana.
JCPenney’s new ownership group, consisting of Simon Property Group and Brookfield Asset Management, along with strategic partner Authentic Brands Group, have launched a search for a Chief Executive Officer to replace Jill Soltau, who will be exiting the company effective December 31, 2020. The search will seek to identify a leader that is focused on modern retail, the consumer experience, and the goal of creating a sustainable and enduring JCPenney. With a successful track record of turning around retailers and brands and restoring them to profitability, JCPenney’s new ownership group will establish a temporary office of the CEO to include key members of JCPenney’s current leadership team. Stanley Shashoua, Simon Property Group’s Chief Investment Officer, will be appointed interim CEO effective January 1, 2021.
Diversified Labeling Solutions is expanding its Auto ID product offering to include RAIN RFID labels. RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) labels utilize an embedded UHF inlay to transmit data via radio waves to an RFID encoder. They are used in a wide variety of industries including supply chain and distribution, retail, consumer goods and healthcare to increase speed and accuracy of data collection. RAIN RFID is a global alliance promoting the universal adoption of UHF RFID technology. DLS has long been a leading supplier of Auto ID labels, including traditional 1D and 2D barcodes. Adding RAIN RFID labels to their portfolio allows distributors to provide comprehensive Auto ID and smart label solutions to their customers. With access to a huge array of inlays and face sheet materials, DLS can support almost any RFID label construction for stock or custom-printed RFID labels. DLS will also serve as the genuine OEM supplier for TSC Printronix Auto ID labels.
The number of new print magazines launched in the US dropped by more than half in 2020 to 60, compared to 139 a year earlier. But in a surprise move, the pace of new launches accelerated in the second half of the year with food, home and fitness titles proving the most popular. The data comes from Professor Samir Husni, founder of the University of Mississippi’s Magazine Innovation Center at the School of Journalism and New Media, who bills himself as “Mr. Magazine,” and has been tracking the number of new US magazine launches since 1978.
Thomson Reuters Corporation announced that it has received approval from the Toronto Stock Exchange for the annual renewal of its normal course issuer bid. Under the renewed NCIB, up to 5 million common shares (which represents approximately 1% of Thomson Reuters issued and outstanding common shares) may be repurchased between January 4, 2021 and January 3, 2022. Thomson Reuters has set a target to maintain approximately 500 million common shares outstanding by using share repurchases to offset dilution associated with its dividend reinvestment and equity incentive plans. On December 24, 2020, there were 497,117,528 Thomson Reuters common shares outstanding. For its NCIB that began on August 19, 2019 and expired on August 18, 2020, Thomson Reuters previously received approval from the TSX to repurchase up to 25 million common shares. Of this amount, Thomson Reuters repurchased approximately 6.9 million common shares for a total cost of approximately US$500 million, representing an average price of US$72.61 per share.
In the last full shopping week before Christmas, unit sales of print books rose 5.2% over the week ended December 12 at outlets that report to NPD BookScan. But unlike many weeks in 2020, unit sales fell compared to 2019, with unit sales down 3.5% from the week ended December 21, 2019. The adult segments led the gain over the week ended December 12. Unit sales of adult nonfiction increased 10.3% over the prior week as Barack Obama’s A Promised Land remained the top-seller, selling more than 327,000 copies. Since its release November 17, the memoir has been the #1 selling book in the country every week and has sold over 2,254,000 copies at outlets that report to BookScan.
The Navigator Company announced today that it will increase paper prices in Europe from 4% to 6%, setting a minimum of 30 euros net per tonne. This increase will be effective for all dispatches from 1st February, and the Company will inform shortly about the details of the new prices to be applied by grade. This decision was taken due to unsustainable low levels of profitability across the industry in Europe and following the recent announcements of worldwide increases in pulp and logistics costs.
Total European shipments of graphic papers in October 2020 were down 18.7% vs. October 2019 and are down 19.9% year-to-date. Total European shipments of newsprint in October 2020 were down 21.6% vs. October 2019 and are down 18.7% year-to-date. Total European shipments of sc-magazine in October 2020 were down 16.5% vs. October 2019 and are down 18.8% year-to-date. Total European shipments of coated mechanical reels in October 2020 were down 24.0% vs. October 2019 and are down 27.2% year-to-date. Total European shipments of uncoated mechanical (improved & others) in October 2020 were down 5.0% vs. October 2019 and are down 8.5% year-to-date. Total European shipments of coated woodfree in October 2020 were down 27.1% vs. October 2019 and are down 26.5% year-to-date. Total European shipments of uncoated woodfree in October 2020 were down 10.3% vs. October 2019 and are down 14.3% year-to-date.
Tronox Holdings plc, the world’s leading integrated manufacturer of titanium dioxide pigment, announced that its Board of Directors appointed John D. Romano, Executive Vice President, Chief Commercial and Strategy Officer, and Jean-François Turgeon, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, as co-Chief Executive Officers on an interim basis, effective immediately. In addition, Ilan Kaufthal, Lead Independent Director, has been elected Chairman of the Board on an interim basis, effective immediately. Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Jeffry N. Quinn will take a leave of absence, effective immediately. On December 24, 2020, Mr. Quinn alerted the Board that he had been referenced as an unnamed individual in a Securities and Exchange Commission civil complaint and related criminal complaint regarding alleged insider trading by the defendant named in the complaints in the shares of Ferro Corporation in February and March of 2016.
Please be advised that Catalyst Paper will be implementing a two-step price increase on its Machine Finished papers sold in the United States. For shipments on or after February 1, 2021, the US transaction price for the following grades from Catalyst Paper will be increasing by $25.00/Metric Tonne. The second step increase of $25.00/Metric Tonne will be applied to shipments on or after March 1, 2021. This includes all basis weights, finishes and brightnesses of Electrabrite, Electrabrite Book and Electrastar.