Gap Inc. (NYSE: GPS) today reported that net sales for the four-week period ended January 31, 2015 were $888 million compared with net sales of $899 million for the four-week period ended February 1, 2014. For the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2014, Gap Inc.’s net sales increased 3 percent to $4.71 billion compared with $4.58 billion for the fourth quarter last year. On a constant currency basis, Gap Inc. net sales increased 5 percent for the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2014. In calculating net sales growth on a constant currency basis, current year foreign exchange rates are applied to both current year and prior year net sales. This is done to enhance the visibility of underlying business trends, excluding the impact of foreign currency exchange rate fluctuations.
Employees at Madison Paper Industries will return to the mill early next week after a temporary shutdown that left about 110 people out of work for two weeks. Workers will be called back to the mill beginning Monday. It will take a few days before production is back to normal, according to UPM President Russ Drechsel. The mill, owned by UPM Paper Europe & North America, has not produced paper since Jan. 24. “We should be in full production early next week,” Drechsel said. There are no plans for future curtailments, he said.
One of our most important resources, the Myths & Facts Booklet, has been updated for 2015 including two new facts on; the benefits of packaging and, consumers choice to receive paper communications. Paper has been around for almost 2000 years and, during this time, it has undoubtedly established itself as the most effective and versatile means of communication. However, for a long time the industry has tolerated misinformation about its environmental record. Commonly, that print and paper are considered a primary cause of deforestation, uses a lot of non-renewable energy and has a high carbon footprint. The reality is very different. European forests having grown by 30% since 1950 and are expanding by 1.5 million football pitches every year. Furthermore, the paper industry is Europe’s largest user of renewable, low carbon energy and 54% of the energy used in European paper making is biomass based. It is important not to forget that the digital alternatives also have impacts.
Silgan Holdings Inc. (Nasdaq:SLGN), a leading supplier of rigid packaging for shelf-stable food and other consumer goods products, today announced that it has commenced a “modified Dutch Auction” tender offer to purchase up to $200 million of its common stock. The tender offer begins today. “Consistent with our long-term objectives, we seek to utilize leverage to sustain or expand our competitive advantage in each of our markets, while optimizing shareholder returns,” commented Bob Lewis, Executive Vice President and CFO. “Given our relatively low net debt leverage level at year end, we believe this return of capital in the form of a share repurchase is appropriate and further demonstrates our ongoing commitment to delivering shareholder value,” concluded Mr. Lewis.
A work slowdown by longshoremen at West Coast ports, which has been going on since the summer, is reaching a critical point. The job action has slowed imports of books printed in Asia, and although some publishers have had to adjust the publication of only a few titles, more significant delays are likely if a resolution in the labor dispute isn’t reached soon. Michael Jacobs, CEO of Harry Abrams, said that even though a few books from Asian printers have been late, the publisher hasn’t had to delay the release dates of any titles yet. “For the most part, our schedule is holding,” Jacobs said. That could change, however, if the situation at the ports doesn’t improve soon. The freight forwarder used by Abrams reports that talks on a new contract have made progress, and an end to the impasse may be in sight. If things don’t improve in a month or two, Abrams will need to start making contingency plans to ensure that its fall titles are not delayed, Jacobs said.
Monadnock announced a new sample book showcasing beautiful, environmentally-friendly uncoated Marketing Impact Papers . The book of full-sized swatches makes the paper specification process easier and more inspirational for designers, printers and other Monadnock customers. The new sample book features rich print demonstrations on Monadnock's FSC®-certified fine printing grades Astrolite®, Astrolite PC 100®, Dulcet® and Caress®.
Operating profit, excluding items affecting comparability, for 2014 was SEK 1 734 million (2013: 1 209). The improvement in profit is due to higher prices for printing paper and sawn timber, a weaker Swedish krona and reduced production costs for paperboard. Operating profit for the fourth quarter, excluding items affecting comparability, amounted to SEK 472 million, which was SEK 50 million lower than in the third quarter owing mainly to seasonally higher staff and energy costs.
Thanks to record holiday package volume and strength in Standard Mail, the U.S. Postal Service registered a 4.3% increase in operating revenue during the first quarter of its 2015 fiscal year ended December 31. Nonetheless, the agency posted a quarterly loss of $754 million, still plagued by a mandated $1.4 billion prepayment into its Retiree Health Benefits Fund. Reprising what has become a mantra of the last several earnings calls, CFO Joe Corbett pleaded with Congress to pass postal reform legislation.“We need to be making investments in critical infrastructure needs, such as purchasing new vehicles,” he said. “We've delayed too long and we need to take action, and we are taking action.” Yet Corbett and new Postmaster General Megan Brennan exhibited signs of optimism during a press call on quarterly results this morning. Shipping and package revenue increased by nearly $400 million on a 12.8% lift in volume, and Standard Mail receipts increased $351 million on a 3.5% volume rise.
The U.S. Postal Service ended the first quarter of fiscal 2015 (Oct. 1, 2014 – Dec. 31, 2014) with a 4.3 percent increase in operating revenue over the same period last year and a net loss of $754 million. The increase in operating revenue was driven, in part, by the record number of holiday season packages delivered with high reliability during our busiest time of the year. The net loss included a $1.4 billion expense accrued for the mandated prepayment to the Postal Service Retiree Health Benefits Fund. Although revenue and volume are closely linked to the strength of the U.S. economy and changes in how customers use the mail, the Postal Service has been proactive in growing volume in Standard Mail and Shipping and Packages and slowing the decline of the most profitable product, First-Class Mail. Standard Mail volume was up 3.5 percent compared to the same period last year, driven by a 0.9 billion increase in political mail volume, a testament to its effectiveness in political campaigns. First-Class Mail volume decline slowed to a 1.1 percent decrease from the same period last year. Standard Mail revenue and First-Class Mail revenue were up 7.6 percent and 3.7 percent, respectively, compared to the same period last year, driven, in part, by the January 2014 price increase.
CROWN Bevcan Europe & Middle East, a business unit of Crown Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: CCK) (Crown) (www.crowncork.com), has announced it is investing in a new manufacturing line at its Goleniow plant to produce 200 diameter (50mm) ends. The Goleniow plant, located in west Poland, currently produces a range of metal closures serving different food markets. Operational in mid-2015, the new line has a projected production capacity of 2.4 billion ends per year. Crown is installing the new beverage end manufacturing line in response to growing demand for specialty can sizes. Brands are diversifying their portfolios to offer consumers a wider range of beverages, including health and energy drinks that come in non-traditional can sizes. Brands are also making use of different can sizes, slim and sleek variants, to ensure their packaging meets a range of different consumption occasions.