Meredith Corporation's Southern Living reports that its December issue ad revenue is up 51% from last year, its monthly year-to-date audience across digital, print and online has averaged 25.5 million, up 2% from 2019 (AAM, Sept. 2020) and its website experienced its highest trafficked November in its history with nearly 19 million visits, up 23% year over year. The December issue, on newsstands now, marks the 25th year of the brand's popular annual holiday white cake cover and feature story. Continuing to advance the brand's momentum, Southern Living will introduce enhanced paper stock, along with a refreshed design, beginning with the January/February 2021 issue. A new front-of-book section called "In Season" will debut to reflect readers' passionate interest in seasonal moments, experiences and celebrations, and a range of new columns will roll out in various issues throughout the year covering topics ranging from home and cooking to travel and beauty. Doug Olson, President of Meredith Magazines, said, "Southern Living's success underscores the brand's resonance with people across the South and beyond. The brand's rich heritage coupled with its modern take on the Southern lifestyle continues to appeal to marketers seeking the right environment to reach engaged consumers across the country. With our investment in improved paper, we're excited to provide an even better reader experience."
For the Third Quarter of Fiscal 2020 *Net sales decreased 7.8% to $1.6 billion compared to $1.7 billion in the third quarter of fiscal 2019 due to the impact of COVID-19. *Comparable sales (sales for stores open at least 14 months, including stores temporarily closed due to COVID-19, and e-commerce sales) decreased 8.9% compared to an increase of 3.2% in the third quarter of fiscal 2019. In the third quarter of fiscal 2020, transactions declined 15.4% and average ticket increased 7.6%. *Gross profit decreased 12.5% to $545.5 million compared to $623.4 million in the third quarter of fiscal 2019. *Tax rate increased to 25.1% compared to 23.1% in the third quarter of fiscal 2019. The higher effective tax rate is primarily due to less investment tax credits received. *Net income was $74.8 million compared to $129.7 million in the third quarter of fiscal 2019. Adjusted net income was $92.5 million compared to $128.6 million in the third quarter of fiscal 2019. For the First Nine Months of Fiscal 2020 *Net sales decreased 22.4% to $4.0 billion compared to $5.1 billion in first nine months of fiscal 2019 due to the impact of COVID-19.*Comparable sales decreased 23.8% compared to an increase of 5.4% in the first nine months of fiscal 2019. During the first nine months of fiscal 2020, transactions declined 30.1% and average ticket increased 9.0%. *Gross profit decreased to $1.2 billion compared to $1.9 billion in the first nine months of fiscal 2019. *Net income was $4.3 million compared to $483.2 million in the first nine months of fiscal 2019.
*Total net sales were $140.3 million, a decrease of $14.5 million or 9.4%, compared to $154.8 million last year. -Net sales from physical stores were $104.6 million, a decrease of $27.5 million or 20.8%, compared to $132.1 million last year. -Net sales from e-commerce were $35.7 million, an increase of $13.0 million or 57.3% compared to approximately $22.7 million last year. *Gross profit was $40.7 million, or 29.0% of net sales, compared to $47.2 million, or 30.5% of net sales last year. *Net income was $2.1 million, or $0.07 per diluted share, compared to $6.4 million, or $0.21 per diluted share, last year.
Urban Outfitters, Inc. announced the promotion of Melanie Marein-Efron, the Company’s Executive Director of Corporate Development and Finance, to Chief Financial Officer, effective December 2, 2020. “I am pleased to announce Melanie’s promotion to be our new Chief Financial Officer, and I welcome her to our Executive Leadership Team,” said Richard A. Hayne, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. “I am confident Melanie will approach her new role with the same energy, dedication and thoroughness she has displayed since joining URBN eight years ago,” finished Mr. Hayne.
FedEx Corp. announced that it has agreed to acquire ShopRunner, the e-commerce platform that directly connects brands and merchants with online shoppers. ShopRunner’s capabilities will complement and expand the FedEx e-commerce portfolio and are expected to create increased value for brands, merchants, and consumers. The parties anticipate the acquisition to close by the end of the calendar year, and it is subject to customary closing conditions, including regulatory approval. ShopRunner connects more than 100 brands and merchants to millions of consumers and offers a seamless shopping experience from inspiration through delivery. Members enjoy benefits including free two-day shipping, free returns, member-exclusive discounts, and seamless checkout. ShopRunner’s data-driven marketing and omnichannel enablement capabilities also help brands and merchants acquire high-value customers and accelerate their digital innovation by using ShopRunner’s e-commerce platform.
The all-important post-Thanksgiving holiday sales period got off to a subdued start at bookstores around the country this year. As expected, foot traffic was light. The National Retail Federation reported the number of in-store shoppers fell 37% on Black Friday compared with last year while the number of customers who shopped only online through the weekend and on Cyber Monday rose by 44% over 2019. Bookshop.org sold some approximately $2.3 million in books over the period from Friday through Monday, according to Andy Hunter, CEO of Bookshop.org. Unsurprisingly, Amazon.com reported it had its best period ever in the company’s history and noted on a blog post that among its bestselling items were several books, including Barack Obama’s A Promised Land (Crown) and The Deep End (Diary of a Wimpy Kid #15) by Jeff Kinney (Abrams/Amulet); both titles were also cited by nearly all the bookstores surveyed by PW. Other bestsellers at Amazon included Greenlights by Matthew McConaughey (Crown), A Time for Mercy by John Grisham (Doubleday), The Sentinel by Lee Child (Delacorte), and Rhythm of War by Brandon Sanderson (Tor), among adult books, as well as Grime and Punishment (Dog Man #9) by Dav Pilkey (Scholastic/Grafix) in the children’s category.
Pearson announced that Mike Howells will become its new Chief Strategy Officer to further strengthen its focus on building a direct, lifetime relationship with learners around the world and to enhance its partnerships with learning institutions globally. Mike will further strengthen Pearson’s global corporate and educational partnerships as the company aims to expand and enhance its direct-to-consumer offering. He will be based in London and will work with the executive team and Board to shape and execute the plan for the business, reporting to Andy Bird, Chief Executive.
Costco Wholesale Corporation reported net sales of $15.67 billion for the retail month of November, the four weeks ended November 29, 2020, an increase of 15.1 percent from $13.62 billion last year. For the twelve-week first quarter ended November 22, 2020, the Company reported net sales of $42.35 billion, an increase of 16.9 percent from $36.24 billion last year. For the thirteen weeks ended November 29, 2020, the Company reported net sales of $46.33 billion, an increase of 16.0 percent from $39.95 billion during the similar period last year.
Meredith Corporation announced that Catherine Levene has been named National Media Group (NMG) President, effective immediately. Meredith's National Media Group reaches nearly 95 percent of all U.S. women and more than 190 million unduplicated American consumers every month through iconic brands such as PEOPLE, Better Homes & Gardens, Allrecipes, Southern Living, and REAL SIMPLE. Meredith's premium digital network reaches more than 150 million consumers each month. The company is the No. 1 U.S. magazine operator with 36 million subscribers and the No. 2 global licensor with robust brand licensing activities that include a Better Homes & Gardens partnership with Walmart. Levene, 50, currently serves as the NMG's Chief Digital Officer. In her new role, she will oversee all NMG activities, including its Digital, Magazine (led by Doug Olson), and Consumer Products (led by Tom Witschi) businesses. Levene will report to Meredith Chairman and CEO Tom Harty.
Kohl’s and Sephora announced a long-term strategic partnership to create a new era of elevated Beauty at Kohl's, marrying Kohl's expansive customer reach and omnichannel convenience with Sephora's prestige service, product selection and exceptional beauty experience. "Sephora at Kohl's" will be a fully-immersive, premium beauty destination, designed within a 2,500 square foot space and prominently located at the front of the store. When the first 200 locations open in Fall 2021, the Kohls.com online beauty selection will also convert to exclusively showcase an expanded assortment of Sephora's prestige product offerings. The partnership will expand into at least 850 stores by 2023, offering an expansive footprint, a wide-reaching customer base and unmatched visibility for Sephora’s brand partners within the prestige environment in which they thrive. Sephora has 500 of its 2,600 stores in the Americas and Kohl's has more than 1,150 locations in 49 states, serving 65 million customers, with very limited overlap between the two store networks.