Import cargo volume at the nation’s major retail container ports is expected to rise an unusually high 16.9% this month over the same time last year as West Coast ports begin to dig out from a backlog of cargo that built up during just-concluded contract negotiations with dockworkers, according to the monthly Global Port Tracker report released today by the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates. “The contract talks are over, but the tentative agreement still has to be ratified and it’s going to take months to get back to normal on the West Coast,” said NRF VP for supply chain and customs policy. “Retailers’ immediate priority is to make sure spring merchandise reaches store shelves in time.”
Macy’s, Inc. (NYSE:M) today announced the completion of its previously announced acquisition of Bluemercury, Inc., widely recognized as America’s largest and fastest-growing luxury beauty products and spa services retailer, for $210 million in cash. Bluemercury, based in Washington, D.C., currently operates about 60 specialty stores in 18 states, typically in prime street-level locations and urban lifestyle centers, as well as an online business. Macy’s, Inc. plans to operate and significantly expand Bluemercury stand-alone specialty stores, enhance its online capabilities and add selected Bluemercury boutiques and private-brand products to Macy’s stores nationwide over time.
“We’re seeing almost an explosion of digitally printed folding cartons. For a company like ours which offers stiff paperboard of the highest quality this is a terrific development,” comments Fredrik Lisinski, who is responsible for developing Iggesund Paperboard’s sales to the digital print market. Strong brands led by Coca Cola have shown that the intelligent personalisation or regionalisation of packaging and labels can drive sales. Presses designed for higher grammages as well as new finishing equipment are opening up new possibilities. At the same time, larger sheet formats are paving the way for better economies of scale for digital printing. “In addition, new applications are appearing that were previously unimaginable,” Lisinski adds. “Fifteen – or even ten – years ago, who could have thought that a print run of five calendars featuring photos of someone’s grandchildren or three copies of a photo book could form the financial backbone of a printing firm.”
Gap Inc. (NYSE: GPS) today announced it has been recognized by the Ethisphere® Institute, a leader in defining and advancing the standards of ethical business practices, as a 2015 World’s Most Ethical Company®. The annual designation recognizes organizations that foster a culture of ethics and transparency at every level of the company. The company is one of only fifteen to have been honored every year since the list’s inception, underscoring Gap Inc.’s ongoing commitment to leading ethical business standards and practices, and driving long-term value for customers, employees, suppliers, and investors.
Fortress Paper Ltd. (“Fortress Paper” or the “Company”) reported 2014 fourth quarter EBITDA loss of $1.4 million. The Dissolving Pulp Segment generated EBITDA loss of $3.7 million and the Security Paper Products Segment generated EBITDA of $3.2 million. Corporate costs contributed $0.9 million to EBITDA loss. EBITDA loss of $3.7 million for the Dissolving Pulp Segment for the quarter ended December 31, 2014 was $2.5 million greater, primarily due to the eight day annual maintenance shut-down and operational challenges in the lime kiln and re-caust areas, when compared to the third quarter of 2014 EBITDA loss of $1.2 million, and $7.1 million less compared to the fourth quarter of 2013 EBITDA loss of $10.8 million.
After the steep selloff between June and January, the oil market had recovered in February, and appeared to reach some sort of a plateau toward the end of the month. In part, that was because of a rush to buy up oil stocks to be able to sell them at higher prices in the future, which absorbed some of the global glut. But as storage tanks around the world have filled up, concerns about the oversupply of crude are returning. A barrel of Brent crude for April delivery was nearly 8% lower since the beginning of March. On Tuesday, the price of a barrel of Brent traded on London’s ICE Futures exchange fell 1.3% to be at $57.76 a barrel.
Berry Plastics (NYSE: BERY) is honored to have recently received the Association of Postconsumer Plastic Recyclers’ (APR) inaugural Responsible Innovation Acknowledgment award. Berry Plastics earned the award for the work it completed in bringing to market VersaliteTM, a fully recyclable food and beverage packaging solution. The APR is the leading trade organization representing the plastics recycling industry in North America. Berry Plastics first introduced Versalite technology to the market as a to-go cup for both hot and cold beverages. Made from #5 polypropylene, the Company’s Versalite cup provides a solution consumers were seeking -- a to-go cup that is recyclable, durable, and can keep beverages hot or cold for extended periods of time.
Appvion’s full year 2014 net sales of $809.8 million increased 0.3% compared to 2013. Encapsys net sales increased $9.5 million while sales to external customers rose 29.7% on a volume increase of approximately 11%. Thermal papers net sales of $415.3 million declined $6.0 million compared to 2013 despite shipment volumes that were approximately 2% higher. Carbonless papers net sales of $349.4 million were 0.6% lower than prior year, while shipment volumes improved approximately 2%. Appvion reported an operating loss of $40.7 million for 2014 compared to operating income of $132.8 million in 2013. The current year operating loss includes a $66.3 million mark-to-market loss related to the Company’s pension and other postretirement benefit plans whereas 2013 included a $63.0 million gain associated with those liabilities. Current year results also include a $24.0 million charge for the Fox River Funding Agreement executed at the end of third quarter as well as higher legal costs.
“Greenwashing” is now a term most of us are familiar with. It means “the practice of making an unsubstantiated or misleading claim about the environmental benefits of a product, service or technology.” Terrachoice[i] found that over 95% of “greener” products commit one or more of the seven “Sins of Greenwashing,” so it’s a major problem in the marketplace. Paper products in particular seem to suffer from many unsubstantiated and vague claims, especially when it comes to corporations trying to promote electronic services over paper-based communications. The bottom line is that corporate marketers need to follow certain specific guidelines for environmental marketing, such as those published by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission[ii], and in Canada by the Competition Bureau of Canada[iii]. If they don’t, their company could face corrective action by the FTC[iv]. The International Standardization Organization (ISO) also has a series of standards on environmental declarations (ISO 14020) and has classified environmental claims into three categories – Type I, Type II and Type III.
Quick: What is the largest-circulation print monthly in these United States? If your answer is Costco Connection, you’re correct. Domestically, the pub has 8.6 million subscribers -- and millions more when Canada, United Kingdom, Taiwan, Korea, and recently added editions for Australia and Japan are part of the mix, according to Ginnie Roeglin, who has been its publisher for the last 16 years. Costco Wholesale doesn't break out revenue numbers for its magazine, but Roeglin allows that it is profitable, and circulation has experienced steady growth for more than a decade. Talk about a content marketing powerhouse from the nation's second largest retailer after Walmart.