Target and Ulta Beauty Announce Brands and First Locations Ahead of Highly Anticipated August Launch

Target Corporation and Ulta Beauty shared details about the highly anticipated Ulta Beauty at Target, slated to begin rolling out in more than 100 Target stores nationwide and online with more than 50 specially curated prestige brands this August. The differentiated retail concept pairs Ulta Beauty's industry authority with Target's beloved experience, bringing a one-of-a-kind beauty experience to millions of guests. The companies are planning for these experiential "shop-in-shops" to reach a total of 800 Target stores across the country in the coming years. "As the retail and beauty industries continue to evolve, we take pride in being leaders that continually redefine and elevate guest experiences. Ulta Beauty at Target reflects our commitment to drive the industry forward and keep our guests meaningfully engaged," said Kecia Steelman, chief operating officer, Ulta Beauty. "Our dynamic teams have worked together to create a disruptive, exciting way to discover prestige beauty with a thoughtfully curated assortment and knowledgeable, approachable experts to serve as beauty gurus."
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USPS Reports Ongoing Service Performance Improvements Across All Mail Categories

Fourth-quarter service performance for July 1 through July 16 included: *First-Class Mail: Delivered 89.3 percent of First-Class Mail on time against the USPS service standard, an improvement of nearly 2 percentage points from the third quarter. *Marketing Mail: Delivered 92.0 percent of Marketing Mail on time against the USPS service standard, an improvement of 1 percentage point from the third quarter. *Periodicals: Delivered 83.0 percent of Periodicals on time against the USPS service standard, an improvement of nearly 4 percentage points from the third quarter. The Postal Service’s continued improvement despite seasonal effects from the Independence Day federal holiday anticipated during for the period of July 10 to July 16.
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Print Book Sales Could Grow by 2% This Year—Or by 8% (publishersweekly.com)

Few people in the industry have been willing to venture a prediction on how the book business will finish 2021, but in a July 21 presentation on industry print unit sales through the first half of the year, NPD BookScan analyst Kristen McLean laid out three possible scenarios. All outcomes assume that the rapid gains in print unit sales the industry has posted so far this year will slow in the last six months of 2021. Indeed, McLean noted that, since the end of what she called an historic first quarter, the year-to-date growth rate has lost about one point per week; in other words, growth was up 29% at the close of the first quarter and ahead 18% at the end of the second quarter. At present, she said, sales appear to be steadily gliding back to a more normal performance.
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AAP May 2021 StatShot Report: Publishing Industry Up 11.1% for May and 23.4% Year-to-Date

Total revenues across all categories for May 2021 were up 11.1% as compared to May 2020, coming in at $1.1 billion. Year to date revenues were up 23.4%, at $5.1 billion for the first five months of the year. Trade (Consumer Books) sales were up 7.9% in May, coming in at $685.2 million, and up 23.2% year to date, with $3.5 billion in revenue. In terms of physical paper format revenues during the month of May, in the Trade (Consumer Books) category, Hardback revenues were up 18.7%, coming in at $252.8 million; Paperbacks were up 14.5%, with $229.9 million in revenue; Mass Market was down 15.1% to $19.2 million; and Board Books were down 4.8%, with $9.0 million in revenue.
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Consumers Want The Right To Choose How They Receive Their Communications. Latest Study Reveals (twosides.info/UK)

There is a worrying trend from organisations who increasingly want to move their customer communications online, particularly bills and statements. Typically, this decision is made for cost reasons, but misleading claims about the environment are being used all too often instead. This is commonly referred to as Greenwashing. A study, conducted by the not-for-profit organisation Two Sides and independent research company Toluna, aims to understand changing consumer perceptions towards print and paper. The study found that consumers overwhelmingly want the right to choose how they receive their communications (digitally or printed) from organisations. 76% of UK consumers (74% EU) want this choice. Defaulting people online without a choice to save cost, will impact those most vulnerable and at risk in our communities. In the UK, 6.3% of all adults have never used the internet (Office of National Statistics, 2020). Often, it is the most vulnerable members of society that depend on traditional, postal, transactional mail. The move to an online only society risks leaving older people, the disabled, rural dwellers and those on low incomes disconnected.
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Midland Paper to Present Case Study at Inkjet Summit 2021

For the eighth consecutive year, Midland Paper is a co-sponsor for the Inkjet Summit 2021 to be held July 26 – 28, 2021 in Austin, Texas. The Inkjet Summit is an exclusive invitation-only, hosted event designed for senior managers and business executives who want to understand how inkjet technology trends, software, consumables and finishing solutions will impact their businesses and help them shape their strategies for the future. David Field, Midland Paper’s General Manager for Specialty Paper & Films, will present a ‘Case Study’ illustrating effective print media options across a multitude of different production inkjet platforms. “The production inkjet equipment market continues to expand with OEM press announcements unveiled at a rapid rate, including a whole new wave of sheet fed inkjet options. In addition, new OEM inkjet presses are being developed for web and sheet fed configurations which adds to the complexity for printers who are aiming to make an inkjet equipment investment decision.” “We offer consultative advice for printers who plan on entering the production inkjet market. Midland Paper is truly OEM and Paper agnostic when it comes to objective advice in todays’ evolving production inkjet market”, quotes Mike Ratcliff, President of Midland Paper’s Specialty Paper & Film Division.
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Bloomsbury: AGM Trading Update, Year-on-year revenue growth of 28%

Bloomsbury experienced strong trading for the first four months of its financial year, with year-on-year sales growth of 28%, maintaining momentum from the prior year's outstanding performance. Consumer division revenues were 26% ahead of last year, with strong print and e-book sales. Adult revenues grew by 17% and Children's revenues by 32%. Bestsellers included Tom Kerridge's Outdoor Cooking, the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling, Sarah J. Maas' A Court of Silver Flames and Lisa Taddeo's Animal. UK Consumer print sales growth was ahead of the market.* Non-Consumer division revenue was 31% higher than last year, with Academic and Professional growth of 35%, driven by continued strong demand for Bloomsbury Digital Resources, which was 41% ahead of last year. Special Interest revenue increased by 23%. In June, our revenue benefitted from the two most recent strategic acquisitions: Head of Zeus delivered £859k, within Consumer Adult, and Red Globe Press delivered £478k, within Non-Consumer Academic and Professional.
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PRC Issues Advisory Opinion on Postal Service Plan to Implement Service Standards Changes Associated with First-Class Mail and Periodicals

The Postal Service’s proposal appears to target mail that consistently fails to meet service performance goals and has the most opportunity for improvement. However, the Commission is concerned that the Postal Service did not conduct any operational or pilot testing of its proposed service standard changes. The Commission finds this lack of testing problematic as mail processing is complex and requires timely execution to provide reliable service performance. In addition, the Commission notes that the Postal Service’s estimated annual cost savings for the proposed service standard changes do not indicate much improvement, if any, to the Postal Service’s current financial condition. Rather, the estimated cost savings from extending the service standard would be eliminated by additional costs associated with the growth in packages. Therefore, it is not clear that the tradeoff between financial viability and maintaining high-quality service standards is reasonable. Likewise, the Postal Service concludes that any reduction in First-Class Mail and Periodical volume due to its proposal will be modest, but that conclusion is premised upon analysis of customer satisfaction and demand that relies on numerous unproven assumptions. The Commission encourages the Postal Service to consider the full recommendations outlined in its advisory opinion prior to implementing its plan. The Postal Service should: *Regularly update and publicly communicate realistic targets throughout its implementation *Ensure cost savings are realized but balanced with and not prioritized over maintaining high-quality service standards *Closely monitor the implementation of its plan to determine whether the new potential surface transportation network actually increases efficiency and capacity utilization *Monitor more closely customer satisfaction going forward, particularly for customer and mailer segments that the change may most impact *Be more transparent in the feedback it receives from stakeholders and keep its plan flexible to the needs of customers, stakeholders, and the general public *Not rely upon its filed econometric analysis to estimate the impact of the proposed service changes on volume
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May Bookstore Sales Jumped 130% (publisahersweekly.com)

Bookstore sales continued their strong rebound from the lows of spring 2020. According to preliminary estimates released by the U.S. Census Bureau, bookstore sales soared 130% in May over May 2020, rising to $632 million. Last April and May saw the weakest bookstore sales performances of 2020, with sales in May 2020 totaling just $275 million. Compared to May 2019, May sales this year were down 9.2%.
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USPS 4th Quarter Begins with Continued Service Performance Improvements

The U.S. Postal Service reported initial fourth-quarter service delivery performance data that showed continued improvement from the third quarter across all First-Class, Marketing and Periodical mail categories. Fourth quarter service performance for July 1 through July 9 included: *First-Class Mail: Delivered 90.6 percent of First-Class Mail on time against the USPS service standard, an improvement of more than 3 percentage points from the third quarter. *Marketing Mail: Delivered 91.6 percent of Marketing Mail on time against the USPS service standard, consistent with third quarter performance. *Periodicals: Delivered 84.7 percent of Periodicals on time against the USPS service standard, an improvement of more than 5 percentage points from the third quarter.
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Print Book Sales Fell Last Week, Ending Long Winning Streak (publishersweekly.com)

The streak is over. The long run of unit sales of print books posting weekly sales gains over the comparable week in 2020 came to an end last week, with units falling 1.3% compared to the week ending July 11, 2020, at outlets the report to NPD BookScan. The decline is the result of continued pressure on nonfiction sales, particularly adult nonfiction, the industry’s largest category. Print sales fell 10.2% compared to a year ago in adult nonfiction. Last year at this time, books on race and social justice spurred by the #blackoutbestsellerlist campaign continued to sell in large numbers, taking up six of the top ten slots at the time. And John Bolton’s The Room Where It Happened, which was #1 on the category bestseller list, sold nearly 57,000 copies in the comparable week last year.
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L Brands Reports Second Quarter-to-Date 2021 Sales

L Brands, Inc. reported net sales of $2.351 billion for the nine weeks ended July 3, 2021, compared to net sales of $1.369 billion for the nine weeks ended July 4, 2020. Second quarter 2020 sales were negatively impacted by the closure of stores for approximately half the quarter due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Sales for the first nine weeks of the second quarter of 2021 increased 12 percent compared to sales of $2.101 billion for the same period of 2019. Bath & Body Works net sales were $1.239 billion for the nine-week period ended July 3, 2021, compared to net sales of $743.5 million for the nine weeks ended July 4, 2020. Bath & Body Works sales for the first nine weeks of the second quarter of 2021 increased 48 percent compared to the same period of 2019. Victoria’s Secret net sales were $1.112 billion for the nine-week period ended July 3, 2021, compared to net sales of $625.7 million for the nine weeks ended July 4, 2020. Victoria’s Secret comparable sales for the first nine weeks of the second quarter of 2021 increased 3 percent compared to the same period in 2019.
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New Proposed Postal Rates Could Hurt Small Publishers (mediapost.com)

Mail order and publishing executives once followed every hiccup within the U.S. Postal Service. Their businesses depended on it. Those days aren’t over for publishers, judging by an article that appeared last week in The Washington Post. Periodical rates could leap by 8% on Aug. 29, a potentially devastating hit to struggling community newspapers, forcing them to reduce staffs and distribution, critics say. Such a hike could be the tipping point for survival for those publishers, Paul Boyle, senior vice president at the News Media Alliance, told WaPo. However, the USPS contends the impact will not be that serious.
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Nordstrom and ASOS Announce Game-changing Joint Venture

Nordstrom and ASOS announced that Nordstrom has acquired a minority interest in the Topshop, Topman, Miss Selfridge and HIIT brands. This investment will help drive the growth of these brands globally, setting the stage for Nordstrom and ASOS to sit alongside a new wider strategic partnership. This innovative partnership will involve unprecedented collaboration and alignment, redefining the traditional retail/wholesale model. Whilst ASOS will retain operational and creative control of the Topshop brands, a shared ownership model will ensure close collaboration between the U.S. retailer and ASOS, driving a stronger future for the iconic Topshop brands worldwide. Nordstrom is a leading multichannel retailer, with unmatched physical and digital reach in North America, operating two powerful brands with over 350 physical stores and sites that attract almost 2 billion annual visits. The retailer has been the exclusive distributer of Topshop and Topman in the U.S. since 2012 when they became the first to bring the brand to the U.S. market. Nordstrom will now have the exclusive multi-channel retail rights for Topshop and Topman in all of North America, including Canada and own a minority stake globally. The retailer will also become the only brick and mortar presence for these brands worldwide.
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Runner’s World Wins Pulitzer Prize and National Magazine Award for Feature Writing

Hearst Magazines announced that Runner’s World is the recipient of two prestigious awards, a Pulitzer Prize and a National Magazine Award, both in the Feature Writing category, for “Twelve Minutes and a Life,” a story about the tragic killing of 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery. The announcement was made by Hearst Magazines President Debi Chirichella. “Twelve Minutes and a Life,” published in Runner’s World’s September/October 2020 issue and written by contributor Mitchell S. Jackson, examines racism in running in America and recounts the last 12 minutes of the young Black man’s life as he was chased and fatally shot while jogging near his home. “Hearst has a long history of important reporting and storytelling in serving our communities,” said Hearst President and Chief Executive Officer Steve Swartz. “Runner’s World’s remarkable piece, covering a crucial topic and a devastating incident in the killing of Ahmaud Arbery, is a significant example of our duty as journalists to tell these stories. Congratulations to Mitchell S. Jackson and the Runner’s World team on these well-deserved honors from two of the most prestigious awards in our industry.”
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Print Book Sales Soar in Year’s First Half (publishersweekly.com)

In the first half of 2020, unit sales of print books surprised many in the industry by posting a 2.9% increase over the same period in 2019 at outlets that report to NPD BookScan, overcoming a slump in sales in early spring following the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. Print sales finished 2020 up 8.2% over 2019, and that strong performance continued into 2021, with units jumping 18.5% in the first six months over the comparable period in 2020. With the exception of the juvenile nonfiction category, all the major publishing categories had double-digit sales increases in the first half of the year. Backlist had the strongest gains, up 21.4%, but frontlist sales were also solid, rising 12.4%. The increase in the first half of 2021 was led by the adult fiction category, where units rose 30.7%. The top seller in the category was Kristin Hannah’s The Four Winds, which sold more than 558,000 copies since its release in early February (see “2021 Bestselling Print Books [So Far],” p. 6). The other top sellers in adult fiction were a mix of new releases and backlist titles.
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USPS Finishes Third Quarter with Strongest Service Performance in a Year

The U.S. Postal Service reported third quarter FY 2021 service performance improvements over the second quarter across First-Class Mail, Marketing Mail and Periodicals. The quarter was USPS’s strongest quarterly service performance for all mail categories since the third quarter of FY2020. Third quarter FY2021 (covering the weeks of April 1 through June 30) performance numbers include: *First-Class Mail: 87.5 percent of First-Class Mail delivered on time against the USPS service standard, a more than 9 percentage point increase over the second quarter. *Marketing Mail: 91.0 percent of Marketing Mail delivered on time against the USPS service standard, a nearly 6 percentage point increase over the second quarter. *Periodicals: 79.2 percent of Periodicals delivered on time against the USPS service standard, a nearly 8 percentage point increase over the second quarter.
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Costco Wholesale Corporation Reports June Sales Results

Costco Wholesale Corporation reported net sales of $18.92 billion for the retail month of June, the five weeks ended July 4, 2021, an increase of 16.9 percent from $16.18 billion last year. For the forty-four weeks ended July 4, 2021, the Company reported net sales of $161.09 billion, an increase of 18.1 percent from $136.37 billion last year. This year’s June retail month had one fewer shopping day versus last year, due to the calendar shift of Memorial Day. This shift negatively impacted sales by approximately one and one-half to two percent.
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High Costs, Services Disruptions Plague Book Biz Supply Chain (publishersweekly.com)

Truck driver shortages, widespread port congestion, and skyrocketing container costs are among the biggest challenges facing the book industry supply chain for the rest of the year and into 2022, panelists on a July 6 BISG webinar looking at freight and shipping issues agreed. Book International’s v-p of global business development David Hetherington said that, in all his time in the book business, he has never seen such pressure building in the supply chain as is happening now. He predicted that things could get worse as more buying shifts online and more packages need to go directly to consumers’ homes. Hetherington, along with Ryan Forbes of Readerlink and Susie Scally of the international logistics firm Meadows Wye, also agreed that now is not the time for publishers to negotiate with trucking companies or the major delivery services. The lack of freight capacity is a real issue, Forbes said, and companies don’t need to yield on price.
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Print Sales Rose 6.4% at the End of June (publishersweekly.com)

Unit sales of print books rose 6.4% in the week ended June 26, 2021, over the comparable week in 2020, at outlets that report to NPD BookScan. Adult fiction sales increased 28.1%, and the gains were achieved without any new releases making a splash. The President’s Daughter by James Patterson and Bill Clinton remained #1 on the category list, selling more than 30,000 copies. Two books released early this spring had good weeks: People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry sold more than 21,000 copies, good enough for fourth place on the adult fiction list, and Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid was fifth, selling more than 18,000 copies. YA fiction sales jumped 49.6% over the week ended June 27, 2020, as books propelled by exposure on #BookTok continued to do well. Two such books, They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera and We Were Liars by E. Lockhart, finished first and second on this week’s category list, selling more than 17,000 copies and nearly 9,000 copies, respectively. The juvenile fiction category’s 11.2% sales increase was due in part to a new book: Alice Schertle’s Time for School, Little Blue Truck was #1 in the category, selling just over 24,000 copies.
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USPS Reports Consistent Service Across All Mail Categories

The U.S. Postal Service provided updated third quarter service performance data through the week of June 25th which shows consistent and improved delivery performance across all First-Class, Marketing and Periodical mail categories since the second quarter. Performance numbers below include the weeks of April 1 through June 25: *First-Class Mail: 87.5 percent of First-Class Mail delivered on-time against the USPS service standard, a more than 9 percent increase over the second quarter. *Marketing Mail: 90.9 percent of Marketing Mail delivered on time against the USPS service standard, a nearly 6 percent increase over the second quarter. *Periodicals: 79.2 percent of Periodicals delivered on time against the USPS service standard, a nearly 8 percent increase over the second quarter.
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Fiction Sales Continue to Rise (publishersweekly.com)

Fiction rode to the rescue again to lift up unit sales of print books 6.4% last week over the week ended June 27, 2020, at outlets that report to NPD BookScan. Adult fiction sales increased 28.1%, young adult fiction sales jumped 49.6%, and juvenile fiction sales were up 11.2% over last year. The jumps offset continued weakness in adult nonfiction, the industry’s biggest category, where sales fell 8.7%. The big gain in adult fiction unit sales was notable since the increase was achieved without any new releases making a splash. The President’s Daughter by James Patterson and Bill Clinton remained #1 on the category list, selling more than 30,000 copies. Two books released early this spring had good weeks: People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry, released on May 11, sold over 21,000 copies, good enough for fourth place on the adult fiction list; and Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid, which came out on June 1, was fifth on the list, selling over 18,000 copies.
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Parents of Students in Grades K through 12 Show Overwhelming Preference for Physical Printed Books Over Digital

The Book Manufacturers Institute (BMI) recently commissioned well-known pollster Frank Luntz to find out how parents view the effectiveness of various learning materials, including books, textbooks and workbooks. The most definitive conclusion was that virtually every parent wants physical materials as part of student learning. 85% of parents want physical books in some form, and 88% think they are important and essential learning tools. In summarizing the study results, Luntz said, “With parents keenly aware of the shortcomings of online learning thanks to the pandemic, this finding is only surprising in its intensity and uniformity. Every demographic and geographic subgroup agrees: printed materials are essential to student learning.”
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2020 North American Comics Sales Grow to $1.28 Billion (publishersweekly.com)

Combined sales of comics periodicals and graphic novels in North America continued to climb in 2020, reaching approximately $1.28 billion, according to a joint estimate by pop culture trade news sites ICv2 and Comichron. The new estimate represents a 6% increase over 2019 combined sales. ICv2 CEO Milton Griepp said that in the face of a global pandemic, lockdowns, and widespread economic dislocation, consumer demand for comics and graphic novels continued to grow. “The challenges of retailing in the pandemic had profound impacts on the market, including the acceleration of trends that have been in place for years,” he reported.
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Walgreens Boots Alliance Fiscal 2021 Third Quarter Results Exceed Expectations

WBA third quarter sales from continuing operations increased 12.1 percent from the year-ago quarter to $34.0 billion, an increase of 10.4 percent on a constant currency basis1, reflecting strong growth in the International segment, aided by the formation of the company's joint venture in Germany during the fiscal year, and solid growth in the United States segment. Operating income from continuing operations was $1.1 billion in the third quarter, compared with a loss of $1.7 billion in the year-ago quarter, primarily due to $2 billion non-cash impairment charges in the year-ago quarter related to goodwill and intangible assets in Boots UK. Total net earnings attributable to WBA were $1.2 billion compared with a loss of $1.7 billion in the year-ago quarter, reflecting non-cash impairment charges in the previous period, increased operating income in both segments and earnings from the company's equity method investment related to Option Care Health; this was partially offset by a higher effective tax rate driven by discrete items in the year-ago quarter. Total adjusted net earnings in constant currency increased 79.5 percent to $1.3 billion.
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FedEx Corp. Reports Record Fourth Quarter and Full-Year Results

Fourth quarter operating results increased primarily due to volume growth and disciplined revenue and portfolio management. These factors were partially offset by costs to support strong demand, increased variable compensation expense, and higher labor rates. Net results include a loss on debt extinguishment of $393 million ($297 million net of tax). FedEx Express fourth quarter operating income more than doubled year over year, driven by exceptional growth in international export and U.S. domestic package services. Operating margin increased 260 basis points (an adjusted 340 basis points; adjusted measures exclude the items listed below for the applicable fiscal year), as improved network optimization and asset utilization enabled profit growth from record fourth quarter volume.
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ACMA Seeks Mailers Impacted by Rate Hike to Support Our Stay Request

Dear Industry Executive: As you know, the ACMA is challenging the legality of the Postal Service’s recently-granted rate authority in the US Court of Appeals. While our case will be heard September 13th, a decision is not expected until later this year or early 2022, well after these new rates have taken effect. The ACMA is considering asking the Court to stay this order until the legality of it can be adjudicated. Part of evaluating the wisdom of such a stay will depend on identifying mailers who are facing irreparable harm from this price increase. We need companies willing to show such harm to the Court. If you are considering making significant circulation cuts, dropping titles, cutting employment, leaving the mail or any other major shifts in your business operations in response to these new postage rates, please let us know by close of business today. We will be happy to share an outline of what would need to be submitted to the Court for you to consider. Click read more below for additional information.
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AAP April 2021 StatShot Report: Publishing Industry Up 43.7% for April 2021 and 27% Year-to-Date

The Association of American Publishers (AAP) released its StatShot report for April 2021 reflecting reported revenue for all tracked categories, including Trade (Consumer Books), K-12 Instructional Materials, Higher Education Course Materials, and Professional Publishing. Total revenues across all categories for April 2021 were up 43.7% as compared to April 2020, coming in at $994.1 million. Year to date revenues were up 27.0%, at $4.1 billion for the first four months of the year. Click read more below for details
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HH Global Features in Sunday Times’ Sustainable Innovation Report

HH Global has been featured in The Sunday Times Sustainable Innovation report, which explores how greentech startups are improving supply chain transparency, how consumer technology is embracing the circular economy, and how innovators are working towards a greener future for work, cities, and travel. HH Global’s responsibility for governing sustainability and ESG within a managed supply chain was the focus of a featured article titled ‘Brands transform in the decade of action’. Kevin Dunckley, Chief Sustainability & Innovation Officer at HH Global, explains how our inclusion in this thought leadership piece is a clear endorsement of our credibility in this important field.
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USPS Service Performance Improvement Holds Steady in Latest Weekly Update

The U.S. Postal Service provided updated third quarter service performance data through the week of June 18th which shows performance improvement continues to hold steady since the second quarter. Performance numbers below include the weeks of April 1 through June 18: *First-Class Mail: 87.5 percent of First-Class Mail delivered on-time against the USPS service standard, an over 9 percent increase over the second quarter. *Marketing Mail: 90.8 percent of Marketing Mail delivered on time against the USPS service standard, a nearly 6 percent increase over the second quarter. *Periodicals: 79.1 percent of Periodicals delivered on time against the USPS service standard, a nearly 8 percent increase over the second quarter.
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Unit Sales Had Small Gain Last Week (publishersweekly.com)

Despite nonfiction sales being down in all major categories, unit sales of print books managed to eke out a 1.1% increase last week over the week ended June 20, 2020 in outlets that report to NPD BookScan Solid sales of backlist titles drove up unit sales 25.7% in the young adult fiction segment while adult fiction sales increased 16% in the week and juvenile fiction sales rose 2.2%. Only one new release made an impact on adult fiction sales. The Maidens by Alex Michaelides sold close to 25,000 copies in its first week on sale, landing it in second place on the adult fiction bestseller list.
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Book Manufacturers’ Institute Publishes 2021 State of the Book Industry Report

The Book Manufacturers’ Institute (BMI), has released this year’s State of the Book Industry Report, to inform business leadership across the supply chain on current market data and emerging trends. Last year’s report was done just as many COVID lockdowns had started. It was hard to make any predictions about what the rest of 2020 would look like. Now that we are fully into 2021, this year’s report looks back at a year like none other and points to what is coming down the road. The full report is offered for free as a benefit to members of BMI; interested parties in the print sector can request an executive summary by contacting BMI directly. Topics covered in the 2021 State of the Book Industry report include: *Overall economic trends and statistics *Factors impacting book manufacturers, such as employment *Key trends in book readership, consumption, and demand *Key Management Issues for Book Manufacturers in 2021
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Amazon Becomes Largest Corporate Buyer of Renewable Energy in the U.S.

Amazon announced 14 new renewable energy projects in the U.S., Canada, Finland, and Spain to advance its ambitious goal to power 100% of company activities with renewable energy by 2025—five years ahead of the original target of 2030. The new projects bring Amazon’s total renewable energy investments to date to 10 gigawatts (GW) of electricity production capacity—enough to power 2.5 million U.S. homes. Amazon is now the largest corporate buyer of renewable energy in the U.S. and the world. The latest utility-scale solar and wind projects will supply renewable energy for Amazon’s corporate offices, fulfillment centers, and Amazon Web Services (AWS) data centers that support millions of customers globally. These projects will also help Amazon meet its commitment to produce enough renewable energy to cover the electricity used by all Echo devices in use. These new projects support hundreds of jobs while providing hundreds of millions of dollars of investment in local communities.
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Q2 Publishing Sales Rose 27.6% at IDW (publishersweekly.com)

Publishing sales at IDW Media Holdings rose 27.6% in the quarter ended April 30, 2021 over the comparable period in 2020. Sales in the group, which includes the graphic novel imprints IDW and Top Shelf, increased to $6.0 million in the quarter from $4.7 million in the second quarter of fiscal 2020. The company said the jump in sales was led by the revival of the direct market channel, which had largely shut last spring with the outbreak of the pandemic. Direct-to-consumer sales were also up in the quarter, but digital sale fell. Among the titles and series that sold well in the period were Locke & Key/The Sandman Universe crossover, Sonic the Hedgehog, X-Men, and TMNT.
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Packaging Preferences Unpacked – Consumers Choose Paper Packaging (twosides.info)

2020 saw dramatic changes to the way society lives. How people work and socialise might have changed forever. Consumption habits have also changed, which has had major impacts on the packaging industry. In a year when some industries struggled, the packaging industry reported increased volumes and revenue, in part, due to a surge in online shopping. But consumers are conscious of their impact on the environment and are demanding more sustainable packaging choices to be used. A recent survey shows that UK consumers believe paper-based packaging to be better for the environment and is the preferred packaging choice for many. The study, commissioned by not-for-profit organisation Two Sides and conducted by independent research company Toluna, aims to understand changing consumer perceptions towards print, paper and paper-based packaging. See more at: https://www.twosides.info/UK/packaging-preferences-unpacked/?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=TSUK%20Packaging%20Preferences%20Unpacked&utm_content=TSUK%20Packaging%20Preferences%20Unpacked+CID_683d50ad23c868cdb1a689f14452563c&utm_source=Email%20marketing%20software&utm_term=Read%20More
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HH Global announces the signing of an agreement to acquire Adare International

HH Global is pleased to announce the signing of an agreement on Monday 21 June 2021 to fully acquire Adare International from the private equity firm Endless LLP. Adare is a British-headquartered provider of marketing services with strong procurement, creative and data offerings. The combined global business will consist of more than 4,000 employees across more than 50 countries, generating approximately $2.1bn in annual sales as HH Global consolidates our leading position in the sector. Consistent with the recent merger with InnerWorkings, the fundamental rationale for the deal is the strategic fit, in that the businesses are tremendously complementary. Geographically, the acquisition enhances our international footprint and scope, particularly in Europe and Latin America. From a solutions perspective, Adare has an excellent procurement offering, as well as bringing expanded content and interactive service lines which we’re excited about taking to our clients.
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Print Unit Sales Rose 4.8% in Early June (publishersweekly.com)

Unit sales of print books rose 4.8% in the week ended June 11, 2021, over the comparable week in 2020, at outlets that report to NPD BookScan. Adult fiction led the way, with sales up 23.2% over the week ended June 12, 2020. The top book was The President’s Daughter by James Patterson and Bill Clinton, which sold more than 60,000 copies in its first week. Other new novels that did well included The Texan Code by Diana Palmer, which sold more than 18,000 copies, and Don Bentley’s Tom Clancy: Target Acquired, which sold nearly 16,000 copies. YA fiction print sales increased 17.9% in the most recent week, largely driven by backlist titles. They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera remained the category’s top title, selling more than 14,000 copies. Leigh Bardugo’s books continue to be steady sellers, led by Shadow and Bone, the basis for the Netflix show of the same name: the book sold nearly 7,000 copies, and six other Bardugo books sold a total of about 25,000 copies.
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Ad Spending Surges 56% In May, All Media Except Magazines Rise (mediapost.com)

U.S. ad spending continued to rebound in May, according to a new, enriched database from Standard Media Index. The data, which is derived from SMI's expanded pool of actual media buys contributed by major agency holding companies, includes IPG Mediabrands, which announced in February that it was rejoining SMI's cooperative pool, and which beginning this month has been reincorporated. The addition of IPG Mediabrands means that SMI's U.S. database is more representative and less modeled for total media spending volume among the major agency holding companies. The new data, meanwhile, shows the U.S. ad market surged 56% in May, following a 53% gain in April and a 22% increase in March, which was the first to show a year-over-year rebound from the pandemic-influenced advertising recession, which began a year earlier.
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USPS Service Performance Continues to Improve During the Third Quarter

The U.S. Postal Service provided updated third quarter service performance data through the week of June 11th which shows steady performance improvement since the second quarter. Performance numbers below include the weeks of April 1 through June 11: *First-Class Mail: 87.60 percent of First-Class Mail delivered on-time against the USPS service standard, an over 9 percent increase over the second quarter. *Marketing Mail: 90.40 percent of Marketing Mail delivered on time against the USPS service standard, an over 5 percent increase over the second quarter. *Periodicals: 78.80 percent of Periodicals delivered on time against the USPS service standard, an over 7 percent increase over the second quarter.
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Private Equity Firm to Buy McGraw-Hill for $4.5 Billion (publishersweekly.com)

Eight years after it bought McGraw-Hill Education for $2.4 billion, Apollo Global Management has reached an agreement to sell the company to another private equity firm, Platinum Equity, for $4.5 billion. The proposed purchase comes about a year after MH and Cengage called off their merger following opposition from the Justice Department. When Apollo acquired the publisher, MHE had revenue of about $2 billion; in the fiscal year ended March 31, 2020, company revenue was $1.58 billion and it had an operating loss of $135.3 million, with EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) of $372.9 million. Results for fiscal 2021 have not been released, but for the nine months ended December 31, 2020, revenue fell 5.4%, to $1.22 billion; still, the company posted net income of $118 million, up from a loss of $28.3 million. EBITDA in the nine months rose 6.4%, to $439.9 million.
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Barnes & Noble Announces The Best Books of 2021 (So Far)

Barnes & Noble today announced its selection for The Best Books of 2021 (So Far). Booksellers from across the U.S. selected these ten titles, including stunning debuts, compelling memoirs, thrilling adventures and an inspirational book of essays, as the best new releases so far this year. “2021 has, so far, been a plethora of top-notch publishing,” said Jackie De Leo, Vice President, Bookstore, Barnes & Noble. “These wonderfully diverse books, ranging from a dustbowl drama to a space odyssey, show characters – real and fictional – facing and overcoming obstacles and challenges in every scenario imaginable. What connects these titles is heart and readability. Readers of all types will find something they love on this list.” “Narrowing this list down to just ten books was no easy feat,” said Shannon DeVito, Director of Books, Barnes & Noble. “It was a spirited debate between our team of book lovers that resulted in a fabulous list of titles that I am very excited about. Our booksellers from Alaska to Florida are delighted to get these must-read books into the hands of readers.” see the list at: https://www.barnesandnobleinc.com/press-release/barnes-noble-announces-best-books-2021-far/
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Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Completes $337 Million Debt Paydown with Proceeds from HMH Books & Media Sale

Learning technology company Houghton Mifflin Harcourt announced that it has paid down approximately $337 million in principal of its outstanding debt with the net proceeds of its recent divestiture of HMH Books & Media, its consumer publishing business. Following the completion of the required Asset Sale Offer and Collateral Asset Sale offer on June 8, HMH has reduced the outstanding principal amount of its Senior Secured Notes due 2025 to approximately $303 million. Additionally, via a combination of mandatory and voluntary prepayments, the Company has reduced the outstanding principal amount of its Senior Secured Term Loan Facility due 2024 to approximately $22 million. All prepayments were completed at a price of 100% of the principal amount.
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April Bookstore Sales Skyrocketed (publishersweekly.com)

Rebounding from the worst month of the 2020 sales collapse, April bookstore sales soared 204% over last year, jumping to $514 million, from $169 million in April 2020. Despite the huge improvement, April bookstore sales were still 21% below sales in April 2019. The increase in bookstore sales was in keeping with the improvement in the retail sector in general in April, which had a 53.5% sales increase in the month.
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Shutterfly Signs Definitive Agreement to Acquire Spoonflower

Shutterfly announced an agreement to acquire Spoonflower, a global marketplace connecting makers and consumers with artists worldwide, in an accretive acquisition for approximately $225 million of enterprise value subject to certain working capital and other adjustments. The acquisition will enable Shutterfly to more broadly serve the fast-growing home decor marketplace by adding Spoonflower wallpaper, fabric, linens, bedding and other home decor soft goods to its product assortment and connecting Shutterfly’s 21 million active users to Spoonflower’s artists and design community. The acquisition, which is subject to regulatory approvals and customary closing conditions, is expected to close in the third quarter of 2021. “We are excited to welcome Spoonflower to the Shutterfly family of brands,” said Hilary Schneider, Chief Executive Officer of Shutterfly. “Millions of consumers use Spoonflower to make and upload their own designs on premium fabric, wallpaper and home decor, ignite their entrepreneurial spirit by launching small businesses or express their personal style by shopping the marketplace of more than one million designs. Driven by its passionate creative community and a visionary management team, Spoonflower has also experienced explosive growth over the last 18 months amid the thriving DIY consumer movement. It’s a highly complementary strategic fit for Shutterfly and a win/win for consumers, employees, and members of our creative community alike.” 
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IWCO Direct Announces Historic Strategic Investment

IWCO Direct announced a new strategic plan that features the largest investment in the history of the 52-year-old company. The investment of approximately $50 million will accelerate IWCO Direct’s evolution as a leading strategic solutions partner, well-positioned to meet the current and future needs of performance marketers. “With this historic investment in IWCO Direct, we will quickly and significantly enhance the value we can bring to marketers in delivering response and business impact through our strategy, creative, data, and campaign execution,” stated John Ashe, CEO of IWCO Direct.
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End of an era: American Airlines is retiring its in-flight magazine (usatoday.com)

In the first issue of American Airlines' in-flight magazine, flight attendants were called stewardesses and business travelers were pitched family fares offering half-price tickets for "your wife.'' It was 1966. The cover story in the latest issue of American Way: LGBTQ neighborhoods across the country. The changes in the seatback pocket staple reflect how times have changed in the past 50 years. But perhaps no sign of the times is more telling than this: the June issue of American Way will be the airline's last. American is ceasing publication of what it calls the industry's longest continually published in-flight magazine, joining Delta and Southwest, which stopped publishing their magazines during the pandemic and decided against bringing them back.
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Runner’s World Wins Pulitzer Prize and National Magazine Award for Feature Writing

Hearst Magazines announced that Runner’s World is the recipient of two prestigious awards, a Pulitzer Prize and a National Magazine Award, both in the Feature Writing category, for “Twelve Minutes and a Life,” a story about the tragic killing of 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery. The announcement was made by Hearst Magazines President Debi Chirichella. “Twelve Minutes and a Life,” published in Runner’s World’s September/October 2020 issue and written by contributor Mitchell S. Jackson, examines racism in running in America and recounts the last 12 minutes of the young Black man’s life as he was chased and fatally shot while jogging near his home. “Hearst has a long history of important reporting and storytelling in serving our communities,” said Hearst President and Chief Executive Officer Steve Swartz. “Runner’s World’s remarkable piece, covering a crucial topic and a devastating incident in the killing of Ahmaud Arbery, is a significant example of our duty as journalists to tell these stories. Congratulations to Mitchell S. Jackson and the Runner’s World team on these well-deserved honors from two of the most prestigious awards in our industry.”
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June Starts with a 4.1% Gain in Print Unit Sales (publishersweekly.com)

With only the adult and YA fiction categories posting increases, unit sales of print books still rose 4.1% in the week ended June 5, 2021, over the comparable week in 2020, at outlets that report to NPD BookScan. Seven of the top 10 bestsellers in the week were new fiction releases, including three graphic novels from Viz Media that sold a combined 68,000 copies. The top three sellers in the week were Golden Girl by Elin Hilderbrand (more than 50,000 copies), Freed: Fifty Shades Freed as Told by Christian by E.L. James (more than 48,000 copies), and Casey McQuiston’s One Last Stop (more than 31,000 copies). Unit sales increased 19.7% in YA fiction without the benefit of a new bestseller. Adam Silvera’s They Both Die in the End remained #1 in the category, selling just over 15,000 copies.
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USPS Service Performance Shows Continued Improvement Across First-Class Mail and Periodicals

The U.S. Postal Service provided new service performance data today for the week of May 29 through June 4, 2021. During the seven-day period, First-Class Mail and Periodicals experienced positive improvement in service delivery, while Marketing Mail saw a slight decline. Key performance indicators for the week of May 29th include: *First-Class Mail: 89.95 percent of First-Class Mail was delivered on time, a 1.06 percent increase from the week of May 22. *Marketing Mail: 90.67 percent of Marketing Mail was delivered on time, a 1.29 percent decline from week of May 22. *Periodicals: 80.70 percent of Periodicals were delivered on time, a 1.31 percent increase from the week of May 22.
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Wiley Reports Fourth Quarter and Fiscal Year 2021 Results

Fourth Quarter 2021 Summary: GAAP results: Revenue of $536 million, Operating Income of $51 million, and EPS of $0.73. Fiscal Year 2021 Summary: GAAP results: Revenue of $1,942 million, Operating Income of $186 million, EPS of $2.63, and Cash Flow from Operations of $360 million; Free Cash Flow of $257 million, up 48% from prior year; Digital products and tech-enabled services now at 82% of total revenue, up from 80% a year ago
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RH Q1 sales soar 78% (chainstoreage.com)

RH reported first-quarter sales and earnings that beat expectations and raised its full-year forecast, expressing confidence that its strong performance will continue through the rest of the year and in 2022 and beyond. The luxury home furnishings company (formerly known as Restoration Hardware) cited a number of factors for its positive outlook, including a strong housing and renovation market (both with pent up demand and a long tail), a record stock market, low interest rates and the reopening of several large parts of the economy. It will also launch the largest new product introduction cycle in its history, beginning this fall. “Additionally, the un-masking of the general public could lead to a Roaring Twenties type of consumer exuberance,” CEO Gary Friedman wrote in his quarterly letter to shareholders.
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Best Buy Joins Growing List of Retailers Closing Stores on Thanksgiving Day (mytotalretail.com)

Best Buy is the latest retailer to announce it will keep its stores closed on Thanksgiving Day this year, CNBC reported. The company will instead offer its Black Friday deals online for the second year in a row. Best Buy joins a growing list of retailers that have started to share holiday season plans. Both Target and Walmart will also be closed on Thanksgiving Day. For years, Black Friday had been the kick-off to holiday shopping, but more recently, retailers pushed for consumers to shop earlier by providing discounts to them in-store on Thanksgiving Day. However, the pandemic shifted consumers' shopping patterns, with many opting to shop online or use curbside pickup. As a result, more companies offered shoppers discounts online.
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Supply chains struggle to keep up; problems likely to persist (chainstoreage.com)

Retail supply chains are working overtime to keep up as consumers return to normal shopping patterns amid increased vaccination rates. “There’s no shortage of demand from consumers, but there continue to be shortages of labor, equipment and shipping capacity to meet that demand,” said Jonathan Gold, VP for supply chain and customs policy for the National Retail Federation. “Supply chain disruptions, port congestion and rising shipping costs could continue to be challenges through the end of the year.” Supply chains are finding it difficult to keep up with demand as shipping capacity struggles, added Ben Hackett, founder, Hackett Associates, which produces the monthly Global Port Tracker report for the NRF.
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Johnny Morris, Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s donating more than 40,000 rods and reels across North America in challenge to get more kids outside

Noted conservationist and Bass Pro Shops founder Johnny Morris is challenging families everywhere to put down their digital devices and head outside to discover the joys of fishing this summer. Morris, Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s are once again donating more than 40,000 rods and reels to hundreds of not-for-profit partners that help kids from all backgrounds connect to the great outdoors to kick off Gone Fishing. Many of the recipients engage underprivileged, minority and urban youth who might otherwise not have a chance to get introduced to the sport of fishing. The nationwide movement is part of an annual call-to-action that aims to introduce the sport to millions of kids. In addition to donating tens of thousands of rods and reels, all Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s stores will host free in-store fishing and casting activities during the weekends of June 12-13 and 19-20. Since the program’s inception, Johnny, Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s have donated more than 500,000 products to youth-focused nonprofit organizations across North America and helped millions of families catch their first fish, with over 150,000 kids participating in free events.
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Bertelsmann Significantly Expands Its Education Business

Bertelsmann is expanding its footprint in Brazil’s fast-growing education market. The international media, services and education company is acquiring a 25-percent stake and 46 percent of the voting rights in Afya, the leading provider of medical education and training in Brazil, for the equivalent of €500 million. Bertelsmann co-founded and helped build Afya. The transaction is pending regulatory approval. Since 2017, Afya has grown its revenue by an average of 80 percent per year to €203 million in 2020. Based on market capitalization, Afya is Brazil’s largest education company focused on the medical field.
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The ODP Corporation Confirms Receipt of Staples Proposal to Acquire Consumer Business

The ODP Corporation confirmed that its Board of Directors has received a proposal from USR Parent, Inc., the parent company of Staples and a portfolio company of Sycamore Partners, to acquire the Company’s consumer business for $1 billion in cash. ODP’s Board of Directors is carefully reviewing Staples’ proposal with the assistance of its financial and legal advisors to determine the course of action that it believes is in the best interests of the Company and its shareholders. No action is required by the Company’s shareholders at this time. Last month, the Company announced a plan to separate into two independent, publicly-traded companies, each with a unique and highly focused strategy and investment profile.
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Walmart to Close All U.S. Store Locations for Thanksgiving Day

Walmart announced all U.S. store locations will close for Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 25, as a ‘thank you’ to associates for their continued hard work during the pandemic. Associate Elizabeth Brown, a people lead from Store 5260 in Rogers, Arkansas, shared the exciting news before a crowd of approximately 1,000 associates during the retailer’s Associate Celebration meeting. This is the second year running that Walmart has closed stores on Thanksgiving Day to give time back to associates. Throughout the pandemic, Walmart has continued to place a heavy emphasis on the well-being of its associates. Recently, the company expanded access to no-cost counseling and extended its COVID-19 emergency leave policy through Sept. 30. Closing its stores on Thanksgiving Day is an additional way the retailer is thanking associates for their dedication to serving customers and their perseverance throughout the pandemic.
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U.S. Postal Service Delivery of Mail Sees Across-the-Board Improvements

The United States Postal Service announced today improved deliveries of First-Class Mail, Marketing Mail and Periodicals since the second quarter as its operations continue to recover from challenges experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic. Since the second quarter, delivery performance against existing USPS service targets showed the following improvements: *A 9.5 percentage point improvement in First-Class Mail deliveries, as 87.6 percent were delivered on-time against the USPS service standard in May. On average, a first-class mailpiece took 2.4 days to be delivered so far this quarter. *A 5.5 percentage point improvement in delivery of Marketing Mail to 90.6 percent against the USPS service standard in May. On average, a marketing mailpiece took 2.9 days to be delivered so far this quarter.
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Tilly’s, Inc. Announces Fiscal 2021 First Quarter Operating Results

First Quarter Results Overview - The comparisons refer to operating results for the first quarter of fiscal 2021 versus the first quarter of fiscal 2020 ended May 2, 2020: *Total net sales were $163.2 million, a record for a first quarter, which represented an increase of $85.9 million or 111.1%, compared to $77.3 million last year. *Gross profit was $54.8 million, or 33.6% of net sales, compared to $1.6 million, or 2.1% of net sales, last year. *Operating income improved to $14.9 million, or 9.1% of net sales, compared to an operating loss of $(28.4) million, or (36.7)% of net sales, last year as a result of the combined impact of the factors described above. *Net income improved to $11.0 million, or $0.36 per diluted share, records for a first quarter since the Company became publicly-traded, compared to a net loss of $(17.4) million, or $(0.59) per share, last year. Weighted average shares were 30.5 million this year compared to 29.7 million last year.
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Sales of Adult Fiction Books Stay on Fire (publishersweekly.com)

Unit sales of print books rose 11.6% last week over the week ended May 30, 2020, at outlets that report to NPD BookScan and through the first five months of 2021, sales were up 22.4% over the comparable period in 2020. The adult fiction category had another big week, with sales up 25.8% over the week ended May 30, 2020. Legacy by Nora Roberts was the top-selling title in the category, selling nearly 33,000 copies in its first week on sale. Other new books that cracked the top 10 adult fiction bestseller list were Christine Feehan’s Shadow Storm, which sold more than 18,000 copies, and The Saboteurs by Clive Cussler, which sold over 14,000 copies. Through May 29, print unit sales were up 32.4% over the first five months of 2020.
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Nationwide Poll in the United States Finds K-12 Parents Overwhelmingly View Printed Materials as Essential Part of Student Learning

Following a year of extraordinary disruption to the nation’s educational system and the necessary shift to online instruction, parents of students in grades K-12 have reached a clear consensus: When it comes to books, the physical version matters. Parents are acutely focused on what their children learn and are convinced they will learn more via printed materials, according to national study conducted in the United States recently by pollster Frank Luntz. The survey of 1,000 parents with school-aged children across the country found the following: *Virtually every parent wants physical materials as a part of student learning. *76% of parents find physical books “extremely/very” impactful, compared to 68% for online/digital books. *When given the choice of only one or the other, 69% of parents prefer physical materials and only 31% choose online materials. *Physical books matter greatly in school board elections. 71% of parents would be more likely to vote for a school board member who supports students learning with physical materials – over the 29% who would prefer a member who wants online materials. *The frustrations with online learning during COVID are real. More than 80% of parents from all backgrounds (including 74% of those who typically favor online materials) believe physical materials would have made their jobs easier helping their students from home.
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Meredith Corporation Accepts Revised Proposal From Gray Television To Acquire Local Media Group

Meredith Corporation announced that it has accepted a revised proposal from Gray Television, Inc. to acquire Meredith's Local Media Group for approximately $2.825 billion in cash, and that the two companies have entered into an amendment to their previously announced definitive merger agreement reflecting the revised terms. Under the terms of the revised Gray proposal, Meredith Corporation shareholders would receive $16.99 per share in cash, revised from the previously announced $14.51 per share in cash, and 1-for-1 equity share in post-close Meredith. Meredith received an unsolicited proposal from another party after announcing the definitive agreement with Gray and subsequently received the revised Gray proposal. Meredith's Board of Directors gave due consideration to both proposals and carefully assessed the risks and benefits of each and unanimously approved the revised Gray proposal. The Board of Directors of Meredith unanimously recommends that Meredith shareholders vote in favor of the revised Gray proposal.
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Postal Regulator Releases Report Evaluating USPS FY 2020 Performance Report and FY 2021 Performance Plan

The Postal Regulatory Commission (Commission) issued its analysis of the United States Postal Service (Postal Service) Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 Annual Performance Report and FY 2021 Performance Plan. The Commission is statutorily required to review whether the Postal Service met its goals and may provide recommendations to the Postal Service related to the protection or promotion of public policy objectives. 39 U.S.C. § 3653(d). The Commission’s in-depth review of the Postal Service’s four performance goals: 1) High-Quality Service, 2) Excellent Customer Experiences, 3) Safe Workplace and Engaged Workforce, and 4) Financial Health finds that: *The Postal Service did not meet the High-Quality Service performance goal, which measures on-time delivery of mail and packages. *The Postal Service partially met the Excellent Customer Experiences performance goal, which measures customer service satisfaction, because it only met four of the eight targets associated with the goal. *The Postal Service partially met the Safe Workplace and Engaged Workforce performance goal because it met the Total Accident Rate target but missed the Survey Response Rate target. The Postal Service also partially met the Financial Health performance goal—missing one target but meeting another.
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Tight Paper Markets Highlight the Importance of Plan-Ahead Scheduling for a Smooth 2021 (piworld.com)

If 2020 was anything but business as usual in the world of direct mail, 2021 is most certainly cut from the same cloth. From lockdowns in the beginning of the year to – what appears to be – a sharp economic rebound, the COVID-19 economic roller coaster is ever-present in the acquisitional direct mail markets. At the time of this post, we have seen paper supplies become constricted and schedules move out, all while marketers appear to be clamoring to reach their consumers (flush with cash and new-found freedoms) in reliable and effective ways. Direct mail contractors that understand today’s paper market, forge and maintain strong alliances with their vendors, and understand the importance of a schedule will be far better equipped to fair the tumultuous seas of 2021. For a decade, mills have been shuttering doors one-by-one to try to control the supply-demand equation. Today, however, mill operating rates are well above 95%, have put all its customers on allocation (which prevents hoarding and is typically a function of historic usage), and have little to no flexibility in scheduling. It’s widely expected that mills will have another increase this summer (some are announcing at the release of this memo) and that schedules will stay tight through the end of the year.
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Bloomsbury acquisition strengthens Consumer division: Acquisition of Head of Zeus Limited

Bloomsbury Publishing Plc announces that it has completed the acquisition of the issued share capital of Head of Zeus Limited. The total valuation is £8.45 million, including payments of pre-existing loans. The consideration, net of pre-existing loans, is £7.35 million, of which £5.5 million will be satisfied in cash at completion, with £1.1 million payable in cash post completion, subject to working capital and other considerations, and £0.75 million of deferred consideration payable in cash subject to achievement of revenue, profit and Netflix release targets. Head of Zeus is an independent publisher of genre fiction and narrative non-fiction and children’s books, based in London. It has published many bestsellers, won literary prizes and industry awards. Its best-selling authors include Dan Jones, Cixin Liu, Victoria Hislop, and Lesley Thomson, and Elodie Harper, whose The Wolf Den went last week to number 5 in The Times bestseller list. Cixin Liu’s bestselling science fiction trilogy, The Three-Body Problem, is being adapted for Netflix by David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, creators of HBO’s Game of Thrones.
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Bloomsbury’s Audited Preliminary Results for the year ended 28 February 2021

Financial Highlights: *Revenues increased by 14% to £185.1 million (2019/20: £162.8 million) *Profit before taxation and highlighted items4 grew by 22% to £19.2 million, up from £15.7 million in 2019/20 *Profit before taxation grew by 31% to £17.3 million (2019/20: £13.2 million) *Net cash of £54.5 million at 28 February 2021, up 74% (2020: £31.3 million) *Cash conversion of 142% (2019/20: 111%)
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A Better Way to Produce Books Locally and Fulfill Global Demand: Spotlight on HP Publishing Solutions (publishersweekly.com)

Through its global print partner network, HP offers publishers a more economic, sustainable, and resilient way to do business. Print-on-demand is not a new capability. In fact, publishers have been benefiting from POD for decades. “However, it’s typically been used for managing lower print volume requirements,” says Paul Randall, product marketing manager at HP Publishing Solutions. “But now the industry needs to address other challenges around the sustainability of its supply chains, as well as its ability to react quickly and with agility to changing market dynamics.” As the publishing industry continues to cope with the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic, many publishers are finding that their supply chains are no longer sustainable. That’s where HP Publishing Solutions can help, with its global print partner network that offers publishers a better way to do business.
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Bloomsbury Completes acquisition of Red Globe Press

On 23 April 2021, Bloomsbury Publishing Plc (LSE: BMY), the leading independent publisher, announced that it has signed a sale and purchase agreement for the acquisition of certain assets of Red Globe Press (“RGP”), the academic imprint, from Macmillan Education Limited, a part of Springer Nature Group. Bloomsbury announces that pursuant to the terms of the sale and purchase agreement with Macmillan Education Limited, completion has taken place. The consideration was £3.7 million, of which £1.8 million has been satisfied in cash at completion and up to £1.9 million will be paid post-completion, subject to assignment of certain contracts.
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U.S. Postal Service Proceeds with Request for Postal Rate Change

As part of “Delivering for America,” its 10-year plan to achieve financial sustainability and service excellence, the United States Postal Service filed notice today with the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) requesting price changes to take effect Aug. 29, 2021 that are in accordance with approvals provided by the PRC last year. The proposed price changes would raise overall Market Dominant product and service prices by approximately 6.9 percent. First-Class Mail prices would increase by 6.8 percent to offset declining revenue due to First-Class Mail volume declines. In the past 10 years, mail volume has declined by 46 billion pieces, or 28 percent, and is continuing to decline. Over the same period, First-Class Mail volume has dropped 32 percent, and single piece First-Class Mail volume — including letters bearing postage stamps — has declined 47 percent.
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Print Unit Sales Rose 2.3% in Mid-May (publishersweekly.com)

Unit sales of print books rose 2.3% in the week ended May 22, 2021, over the comparable week in 2020, at outlets that report to NPD BookScan. The relatively small increase is due in part to last year’s release at this time of The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins, which sold more than 271,000 copies in its first week. As a result of Ballad’s blockbuster performance last year, units in the week dropped 24.4% in the young adult fiction category. The juvenile nonfiction category had its worst week so far this year, with units falling 21.3% compared to the week ended May 23, 2020, when parents were still heavily buying books to teach their children at home. My First Learn-to-Write Workbook by Crystal Radke was #1 in the category last year at this time, selling more than 20,000 copies, and it was tops again in the most recent week, selling just over 7,000 copies.
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Print buyers warned over delivery delays (printweek.com)

Print firms involved with the production of time-sensitive products are warning customers that nationwide haulage issues are resulting in delayed deliveries and the potential for additional costs to meet tight deadlines. Earlier this month the Road Haulage Association (RHA) sounded the alarm over a growing shortage of HGV drivers, and urged the government to help the industry recruit new talent. It said the current driver shortage “exceeds 60,000”. The RHA wants HGV drivers to be added to the Home Office UK Shortage Occupation List. Logistics UK, formerly the Freight Transport Association, also flagged that long-standing issues around driver shortages had been exacerbated by Brexit, which has resulted in an exodus of EU drivers.
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Ulta Beauty Announces Record First Quarter Fiscal 2021 Results

*Net sales increased 65.2% to $1.9 billion compared to $1.2 billion in the first quarter of fiscal 2020. The net sales increase during the first quarter of fiscal 2021 was primarily due to the favorable impact in the U.S. from improving consumer confidence, government stimulus payments and the easing of COVID-19 restrictions. *Comparable sales (sales for stores open at least 14 months, including stores temporarily closed due to COVID-19, and e-commerce sales) increased 65.9% compared to a decrease of 35.3% in the first quarter of fiscal 2020, driven by a 52.5% increase in transactions and an 8.8% increase in average ticket. Compared to the first quarter of fiscal 2019, comparable sales increased 7.0%. *Gross profit increased to $753.8 million compared to $303.6 million in the first quarter of fiscal 2020. As a percentage of net sales, gross profit increased to 38.9% compared to 25.9% in the first quarter of fiscal 2020, primarily due to leverage in fixed costs due to higher sales; improvement in merchandise margins; lower salon expenses; and favorable channel mix shifts. *Operating income was $305.3 million, or 15.8% of net sales, compared to operating loss of $101.5 million, or (8.7)% of net sales, in the first quarter of fiscal 2020. Adjusted operating loss for the first quarter of fiscal 2020 was $81.9 million, or (7.0)% of net sales. *Net income was $230.3 million compared to net loss of $78.5 million in the first quarter of fiscal 2020. Adjusted net loss for the first quarter of fiscal 2020 was $63.6 million.
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Gap Inc. Reports First Quarter Results

*First quarter comparable sales increased 28% year-over year, and 13% versus 2019 *Net sales of $4 billion were up 89% versus 2020 and up 8% compared to 2019 pre-COVID levels *Reported earnings per share for the quarter were $0.43, and $0.48 on an adjusted basis *Reported Operating Margin of 6.0% with Adjusted Operating Margin of 7.4% *Company raising full year outlook for sales, operating margin, and earnings per share *Sales growth up low-to mid-twenty percent range versus 2020
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Costco Wholesale Corporation Reports Third Quarter and Year-to-Date Operating Results for Fiscal 2021

Net sales for the quarter increased 21.7 percent, to $44.38 billion, from $36.45 billion last year. Net sales for the first 36 weeks increased 17.7 percent, to $130.61 billion, from $110.94 billion last year. Net income for the quarter was $1,220 million, or $2.75 per diluted share, which included $57 million pretax, or $0.09 per diluted share, in COVID-19 related costs, primarily from $2 per hour premium pay. Last year’s third quarter net income was $838 million, or $1.89 per diluted share, inclusive of $283 million pretax, or $0.47 per diluted share of COVID related costs. Net income for the first 36 weeks was $3.34 billion, or $7.51 per diluted share, compared to $2.61 billion, or $5.89 per diluted share, last year.
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AAP StatShot Report: Publishing Industry UP 40.2% for Third Month of 2021 and 22.3% Year-to-Date

The Association of American Publishers (AAP) released its StatShot report for March 2021 reflecting reported revenue for all tracked categories, including Trade (Consumer Books), K-12 Instructional Materials, Higher Education Course Materials, and Professional Publishing. Total revenues across all categories for March 2021 were up 40.2% as compared to March 2020, coming in at $896.1 million. Year to date revenues were up 22.3%, at $3.1 billion for the first three months of the year. Trade (Consumer Books) sales were up 34.2% in March, coming in at $743.9 million, and up 24.9% year to date, with $2.1 billion in revenue.
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ANA Urges New York To Put Brakes On Opt-In Privacy Bill (mediapost.com)

New York lawmakers should wait until next year before taking up a broad privacy bill that would require companies to obtain consumers' opt-in consent before processing their data for ad targeting, the Association of National Advertisers urged Wednesday. "The bill was introduced in the New York Senate just two weeks ago,” Dan Jaffe, ANA executive vice president for government relations, and Christopher Oswald, ANA senior vice president for government relations, wrote Wednesday to state lawmakers. “As a result, it has not received the benefit of careful and rigorous consideration by lawmakers, which is necessary to develop a workable privacy law that will significantly impact New York businesses and consumers alike.” The proposed New York Privacy Act (SB 6701), introduced by state Senator Kevin Thomas, would also give consumers the right to access, correct and delete data about themselves.
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Best Buy Reports Better-Than-Expected First Quarter Results

Domestic revenue of $10.84 billion increased 37.0% versus last year. The increase was primarily driven by comparable sales growth of 37.9%, which was partially offset by the loss of revenue from permanent store closures in the past year. Domestic gross profit rate was 23.3% versus 23.0% last year. The gross profit rate increase of approximately 30 basis points was primarily driven by improved product margin rates, including reduced promotions, and rate leverage from supply chain costs. These items were partially offset by increased installation and delivery costs. International revenue of $796 million increased 23.0% versus last year. This increase was primarily driven by comparable sales growth of 27.8% and the benefit of approximately 1,000 basis points of favorable foreign currency exchange rates. These items were partially offset by lower revenue in Mexico of $69 million, which was a result of the company exiting operations from the country, as previously announced on November 24, 2020. International GAAP gross profit rate was 23.7% versus 22.3% last year.
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Pick Your Plans and Pick a Book for Your Summer 2021 Reading List

It’s time to kick off the summer 2021 vacation season. For most people, the furthest they traveled from home last summer was to an essential business or a local park. This year, however, travel restrictions and lockdowns have been lifted in many areas, thanks to compliance with local mandates and vaccine availability. How do you want to spend your summer? Whether you plan to travel or explore your own backyard, make sure reading is on your to-do list. Here are some books — all printed on Domtar publishing paper — that can inspire your summer 2021 reading list. click read more below for recommendations...
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Nordstrom Reports First Quarter 2021 Earnings

•Total Company net sales increased 44 percent compared with the same period in fiscal 2020, during which stores were temporarily closed for approximately half of the quarter. Sales decreased 13 percent relative to the same period in fiscal 2019, and marked sequential improvement of 720 basis points relative to the fourth quarter of 2020. •Digital sales increased 23 percent compared with the same period in fiscal 2020 and increased 28 percent compared with the same period in fiscal 2019. Digital sales represented 46 percent of total sales during the quarter. •Gross profit, as a percentage of net sales, of 31 percent increased approximately 2,000 basis points compared with the same period in fiscal 2020, primarily due to lower markdowns and leverage from higher net sales volume. Gross profit, as a percentage of net sales, decreased 260 basis points compared with the same period in fiscal 2019 as a result of deleverage on lower sales and lower merchandise margins, partially offset by permanent reductions in buying and occupancy costs. •Loss before interest and taxes of $85 million decreased from loss of $813 million during the same period in fiscal 2020 primarily due to higher sales volume as well as the decrease in SG&A expense. Last year’s loss included $280 million in charges related to COVID-19.
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URBN Reports Record Q1 Sales and EPS

Total Company net sales for the three months ended April 30, 2021, increased 57.6% compared to the three months ended April 30, 2020. For the three months ended April 30, 2021, the gross profit rate increased to 32.4% from 2.0% in the prior year’s comparable period. Gross profit dollars increased by $288.8 million to $300.7 million from $11.8 million in the prior year’s comparable period. Net income for the three months ended April 30, 2021, was $54 million and record first quarter earnings per diluted share was $0.54.
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Abercrombie & Fitch Co. Reports First Quarter Results

A summary of results for the first quarter ended May 1, 2021 as compared to the first quarter ended May 2, 2020: *Net sales of $781 million, up 61% as compared to last year and up 6% as compared to pre-COVID 2019 first quarter net sales. *Digital net sales increased 45% to $403 million reflecting robust growth in every month of the quarter. *Gross profit rate improved 900 basis points to 63.4% driven by higher average unit retail on lower promotions. *Operating income of $57 million and $60 million on a reported and adjusted non-GAAP basis, respectively, as compared to operating loss of $209 million and $166 million last year, on a reported and adjusted non-GAAP basis, respectively.
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REI Co-op to open first store in Maine in fall 2021

REI Co-op is opening its first location in Maine, bringing quality outdoor gear and renowned expertise to the Greater Portland area in fall 2021. The approximately 24,400 square-foot store will be part of the new Rock Row development in Westbrook and will serve as a home base for the co-op's 47,000 lifetime members in Maine by inspiring and enabling a life outside for all. REI will offer top-quality gear for the activities that each season offers, ranging from paddling to cold weather gear. “A part of the New England community since we opened our first store in Massachusetts in 1987, we’re thrilled to expand our regional presence with our first store in Maine,” says Becky Smith, REI’s Northeast regional director. “We are especially excited to share a passion with the community for spending time outside year-round, from trekking through the snow to paddling along the coast.”
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Newspaper Layoffs Grew In 2020 (mediapost.com)

Last year was a bad one for newspaper staffs. A full 31% of papers with Sunday circulations of 50,000 or more experienced layoffs, and 11% had multiple rounds, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis. In contrast, 27% of papers saw layoffs in 2019, up from 18% in 2019. And many of them took hits. The largest papers — those with Sunday circ of 250,000 or more — were the hardest hit, with 55% suffering staff cuts. The year before, the pain was roughly similar across groups.
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Print Unit Sales Rose 8.8% in Mid-May (publishersweekly.com)

Unit sales of print books rose 8.8% in the week ended May 15, 2021, over the comparable week in 2020 at outlets that report to NPD BookScan. Adult fiction continued to see solid gains, with units up 19.2% over the week ended May 16, 2020. Within the adult segment, graphic novels continued to lead the way, with units up 188%. New releases also contributed, led by While Justice Sleeps by Stacey Abrams, which sold about 23,000 copies in its first week. Diana Palmer’s Texas Dare followed, selling almost 22,000 copies, and Jennifer Weiner’s That Summer sold approximately 16,000 copies in its first week. Unit sales of adult nonfiction increased 3.6% compared to 2020. As in recent weeks, subcategories that were hurt by the pandemic are seeing a rebound, led by travel (up almost 100%); business and economics (up 31.6%); and history, law, political science (up 24.8%).
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Senate Gets Into the Postal Reform Game; Has Strong Bipartisan Support (piworld.com)

On the heels of last week’s House action on postal reform, the Senate this week got into the game by introducing companion legislation, the Postal Reform Act of 2021, to address USPS financial, service and transparency reforms. This bipartisan legislation, led by Senate Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Gary Peters (D-MI) and Ranking Member Rob Portman (R-OH), is substantively identical to the legislation of the same name that was approved by the House Oversight Committee last week. The bill was introduced with strong bipartisan co-sponsorship, including nine Democrats and eight Republicans, which bodes well for committee passage and – eventually – 60 votes on final passage. Like its House counterpart, the Act focuses on key financial reforms that have been long-sought by the printing and mailing industry, including: 1) elimination the onerous retiree pre-funding requirement; and 2) integrating postal retirees’ health care into Medicare. According to Senator Portman, these two reforms alone would save $45.9 billion in savings for USPS over the next 10 years.
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Midland Undergoes Complete Rebranding Initiative

In an effort to demonstrate that it’s much more than a paper company, Midland Paper Packaging + Supplies has officially shortened its name to MIDLAND as part of a comprehensive rebranding initiative. The fresh approach, from the new logo and tagline to the updated brand messaging, reflects a modern distribution company with an eye toward the future. For more than a century, Midland has been a leader in paper distribution. But over the past two decades, it has evolved into much more than that. Today Midland is a dynamic company with a broad range of offerings. In addition to a full complement of paper offerings, MIDLAND offers solutions in sustainable packaging, automation equipment, and direct-to-consumer marketing and consulting. Given MIDLAND’s recent rapid sales growth and market diversification, the company underwent an exercise in brand clarity, starting with the name change. “By shortening our name to simply MIDLAND, we avoid being pigeon-holed into a single category, and are able to broaden our appeal beyond just paper. This is a logical evolution for our brand and will help unify our messaging” said Executive Vice President Jim O’Toole. With a renewed emphasis on performance and exceeding expectations, Midland’s mission is to deliver on commitments in its three core segments: • Packaging materials and custom design solutions • Paper and Specialty Media solutions for a variety of applications • Direct-to-consumer Marketing strategy and consulting. “At MIDLAND, performance matters. Delivering on our commitments is more than just our mission statement. It’s what defines us. It’s in our DNA” added O’Toole. “Our strength is our wide-ranging network of knowledge. We have a team of industry veterans for every service offered and our experience is unmatched. When people engage MIDLAND, they don’t just get one person – they get access to an entire network of experts.” said Mike Graves, MIDLAND’s President and Chief Executive Officer.
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L Brands Reports Record First Quarter Earnings

The company reported earnings per share of $0.97 for the first quarter ended May 1, 2021 compared to a loss per share of $1.07 for the first quarter ended May 2, 2020. First quarter operating income was $572.1 million compared to a loss of $317.7 million last year, and net income was $276.6 million compared to a loss of $296.9 million last year.
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L Brands Appoints Chief Financial Officers for Bath & Body Works and Victoria’s Secret Standalone Businesses

L Brands, Inc. announced the appointment of Chief Financial Officers for the standalone Bath & Body Works and Victoria’s Secret businesses. Upon the completion of the spin-off of Victoria’s Secret, which is targeted to occur in August 2021, Wendy Arlin, currently SVP of Finance and Controller for L Brands, will become Bath & Body Works CFO, and Tim Johnson, previously CFO and Chief Administrative Officer for Big Lots, will become Victoria’s Secret CFO. As previously announced, current L Brands CFO Stuart Burgdoerfer will retire at that time.
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Kohl’s Reports First Quarter Fiscal 2021 Financial Results

*First quarter net sales and earnings exceed expectations and company raises full year 2021 financial outlook *First quarter net sales increase 69.5% *First quarter diluted earnings per share of $0.09; adjusted diluted earnings per share(2) of $1.05 *Strengthened financial position during the quarter, reducing long-term debt by over $500 million and ending with $1.6 billion in cash *Raises full year 2021 net sales to increase in the mid-to-high teens percentage range as compared to 2020, operating margin to be in the range of 5.7% to 6.1% and adjusted earnings per share to be in the range of $3.80 to $4.20, excluding any non-recurring charges
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Target Corporation Reports First Quarter Earnings

*First quarter comparable sales grew 22.9 percent, on top of 10.8 percent growth last year. *Store comparable sales increased 18.0 percent, on top of 0.9 percent growth last year. Digital comparable sales grew 50 percent, on top of 141 percent growth a year ago. *Same-day services (Order Pickup, Drive Up and Shipt) grew more than 90 percent, led by growth in Drive Up of 123 percent. *More than 95 percent of Target's first quarter sales were fulfilled by its stores. *The Company gained more than $1 billion in market share in the first quarter, on top of a $1 billion share gain in first quarter 2020. *First quarter GAAP EPS of $4.17 was 643.2 percent higher than last year.
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PPLA Action Alert: Protect Printed Package Inserts!

Hello Everyone, We need your help to ensure Congress knows protecting printed package inserts (PI) is a priority! The ECL & Printed Literature Business is once again under attack from a Pharmaceutical lobbying group trying to remove the use of printed literature and other forms of extended content. As you know this is a significant threat to our industry, the good thing is that it is easy for us to start to TAKE ACTON and fight back. It is vitally important that we all support this initiative. It will take support from everyone, and everyone you know, to get the attention of our leaders in Washington DC. Below are the details on how to participate in a campaign being run by PPLA, the Pharmaceutical Printed Literature Association. This campaign is an all-out effort to protect the printed literature/ECLs produced by our all the Pharma Literature printing sites across the entire country. There has been recent movement by another lobbying group (comprised mostly of larger generic drug manufacturers) to have printed literature that is provided to pharmacists/professionals eliminated entirely…our position is that we do not oppose making the information available to professionals electronically but do oppose eliminating the paper format entirely – for 2 reasons, ensuring patient safety and protecting against job losses within the Pharma Literature/ECL Printing Industry. click read more for details...
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The Home Depot Announces First Quarter Results

The Home Depot® reported sales of $37.5 billion for the first quarter of fiscal 2021, an increase of $9.2 billion, or 32.7 percent from the first quarter of fiscal 2020. Comparable sales for the first quarter of fiscal 2021 increased 31.0 percent, and comparable sales in the U.S. increased 29.9 percent. Net earnings for the first quarter of fiscal 2021 were $4.1 billion, or $3.86 per diluted share, compared with net earnings of $2.2 billion, or $2.08 per diluted share, in the same period of fiscal 2020. For the first quarter of fiscal 2021, diluted earnings per share increased 85.6 percent from the same period in the prior year.
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Macy’s, Inc. Reports First Quarter 2021 Results

Comparable sales up 62.5% on an owned basis and up 63.9% on an owned plus licensed basis versus 2020. Comparable sales down 10.5% on an owned basis and down 10.0% on an owned plus licensed basis versus 2019. Trend improvement compared to a 17.1% owned plus licensed comparable sales decline in the fourth quarter of 2020. Digital sales grew 34% over first quarter 2020 and grew 32% over first quarter 2019. Digital penetration was 37% of net sales, a 6-percentage point decline from first quarter 2020 when stores closed, but a 13-percentage point improvement over first quarter 2019. Gross margin for the quarter was 38.6%, up from 17.1% in first quarter 2020 and up 40 basis points from first quarter 2019. Improvement due to increased merchandise margin was largely driven by inventory productivity and the execution of the Polaris strategy.
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Walmart Releases Q1 FY22 Earnings

Total revenue was $138.3 billion, an increase of $3.7 billion, or 2.7%. Revenue was negatively affected by approximately $4.2 billion related to recent divestitures in Walmart International. Excluding currency2, total revenue would have increased 2.1% to reach $137.4 billion. Walmart U.S. comp sales1 increased 6.0% with market share gains in grocery. Operating income increased 26.8%. Walmart U.S. eCommerce sales grew 37% with strong results across all channels, contributing approximately 360 basis points to comp sales. Sales more than doubled over the last two years. Consolidated operating income was $6.9 billion, an increase of 32.3%, with strength across the company. Recently divested businesses in the U.K. and Japan contributed operating income of $289 million, or $0.07 of EPS.
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Postal Reform Legislation Advances in US House: What’s Next? (piworld.com)

On May 13, 2021, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee approved two separate but related bills addressing USPS finances and operations. The first, the bipartisan Postal Service Reform Act of 2021 (H.R. 3076 (PDF)), was approved by voice vote, making it now eligible for a floor vote in the US House of Representatives. The bill was introduced two days prior to committee consideration following a painstaking effort to craft a bipartisan document. Lead sponsors were Committee Chair Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and Ranking Member Rep. James Comer (R-KY) along with original co-sponsors Government Operations Subcommittee Chair Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA) and Ranking Member Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC). The bill was approved by the committee without amendment or any audible dissension, and included bipartisan agreed upon elements such as: codifying six-day delivery, requiring postal employees to enroll in Medicare at eligibility age, and elimination of the requirement that USPS pre-fund its retiree health benefits for 75 years into the future.
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Bauer’s bet on making print a major part of the e-commerce funnel (thedrum.com)

E-commerce has seen years’ worth of growth in a short few months. Consumers, stuck at home, have rapidly become habituated to purchasing online, which has benefited online marketplaces and publishers with strong affiliate and e-commerce programs of their own. But for publishers with a strong print portfolio the question has become how they can use those print products to open the funnel to e-commerce revenue without being too interruptive. Bauer is betting on the advancement of image recognition technology to close that gap between print and digital. Both Grazia and Heat are set to incorporate new scannable images – without the need for QR codes or watermarks – from May 17. These images, once scanned, will then take readers directly to a storefront for more information and purchase options.
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YETI Reports First Quarter 2021 Results

For the Three Months Ended April 3, 2021: Net sales increased 42% to $247.6 million, compared to $174.4 million during the same period last year. Gross profit increased 57% to $145.2 million, or 58.6% of net sales, compared to $92.5 million, or 53.0% of net sales, in the first quarter of 2020. Operating income increased 148% to $40.0 million, or 16.2% of net sales, compared to $16.2 million, or 9.3% of net sales, during the prior year quarter. Net income increased to $30.5 million, or 12.3% of net sales, compared to $8.5 million, or 4.9% of net sales, in the prior year quarter.
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Douglas Tulino Appointed Deputy Postmaster General

The U.S. Postal Service announced today Douglas Tulino, a 41-year veteran of the service, has been appointed deputy postmaster general, reporting directly to Postmaster General and CEO Louis DeJoy. The appointment is effective immediately. Tulino also becomes a member of the Postal Service’s Board of Governors and continues in his current role as chief human resources officer (CHRO). Tulino assumes the deputy role as the Postal Service continues to implement “Delivering for America,” the 10-year plan unveiled on March 23 to restore service excellence and financial sustainability to one of America’s most treasured institutions and a vital part of the nation’s infrastructure.
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Gap Inc. Plans to Sell Intermix

Gap Inc. has entered into an agreement to sell Intermix, a leading omni-channel fashion boutique for customers seeking a highly curated shopping experience, to private equity firm Altamont Capital Partners. Altamont Capital Partners intends to acquire the entire Intermix business, including all store leases, e-commerce and assets. This transaction is another milestone as Gap Inc. continues to execute against its Power Plan 2023, with acute focus on growing its purpose-led, billion-dollar lifestyle brands by leveraging the power of its portfolio and its platform. In April, Gap Inc. completed a transaction to sell Janie and Jack, a leader in premium children’s apparel and accessories, to Go Global Retail.
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The ODP Corporation Announces First Quarter 2021 Results

First Quarter 2021 Summary *Total reported sales of $2.4 billion, down 13% versus last year *GAAP operating income of $55 million and net income of $53 million, or $0.95 per diluted share, versus $80 million and $45 million, or $0.84 per diluted share, respectively in the prior year *Operating cash flow of $86 million and adjusted free cash flow of $79 million, versus $188 million and $173 million, respectively in prior year *$1.7 billion of total available liquidity including $753 million in cash and cash equivalents
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The ODP Corporation Announces Plans to Separate into Two Independent, Publicly Traded Companies

The ODP Corporation announced that its Board of Directors has unanimously approved a plan to pursue a separation of the Company into two independent, publicly traded companies, each with a unique and highly focused strategy and investment profile: *ODP – a leading provider of retail consumer and small business products and services distributed via approximately 1,100 Office Depot and OfficeMax retail locations and an award-winning eCommerce presence, officedepot.com; and *“NewCo” – a leading B2B solutions provider (ODP’s Business Solutions Division contract business, Grand & Toy and ODP’s independent regional office supply distribution businesses) serving small, medium and enterprise level companies. NewCo will also own the Company’s newly formed B2B digital platform technology business, including BuyerQuest, as well as the Company’s global sourcing office and its other sourcing, supply chain and logistics assets.
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The New York Times Company Reports 2021 First-Quarter Results

The New York Times Company announced first-quarter 2021 diluted earnings per share from continuing operations of $.24 compared with $.20 in the same period of 2020. Operating profit increased to $51.7 million in the first quarter of 2021 from $27.3 million in the same period of 2020, as higher digital-only subscription revenues and, to a lesser extent, higher digital advertising revenues more than offset lower print advertising, print subscription and other revenues.
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Consumers Complain, KMP Responds: Four Ways to Reclaim Your Right to Paper Communications

Consumer complaints to Keep Me Posted (KMP) increased throughout the pandemic as service providers altered or removed paper communication preferences at an alarming rate. For years, banks, utilities, telecoms and other companies have encouraged and even incentivized their customers to voluntarily opt in to digital correspondence on their accounts. Over time however, many service providers have replaced carrots with sticks and charge punishing fees for paper bills and statements. Since the beginning of the pandemic, a laundry list of major corporations have taken advantage of widespread disruptions to proactively assault longstanding communications preferences. Far too many stopped asking consumers to opt in to electronic bills, statements and other important notices, and instead just switched their account holders from paper to digital communication without prior consent. These anti-consumer practices show no sign of fixing themselves, but there is a silver lining. In many instances, consumers can reclaim their preferences for paper communications, free of charge, by taking a few proven steps.
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MIDLAND Launches Carbon Balanced Paper in North America to help Organizations Reduce the Carbon Impact of their Paper and Print Communications

Since 2008, the Carbon Balanced Paper initiative has been responsible for balancing 190,000 tons of CO2 and preserving high conservation value land. MIDLAND is now offering Carbon Balanced Paper in North America, administered by the Sustainable Paper Group, and in partnership with the World Land Trust (WLT), an international conservation charity. This is a well-established and successful program in Europe with over 3,000 organizations taking positive action by choosing carbon balanced paper to preserve the most critically endangered places on earth, acre by acre. The launch in North America will help organizations reduce the carbon footprint of their printed media and meet their commitments toward carbon reduction by addressing the unavoidable carbon emissions from the paper manufacturing process. At the same time, choosing Carbon Balanced Paper allows organizations to simply and effectively differentiate themselves as market leaders in environmental responsibility. “MIDLAND is excited to announce the first major Carbon Balanced Paper initiative in North America. Many of our customers have stated objectives to reduce their net carbon impact, and Carbon Balanced Paper is an effective and credible tool to help them achieve these important sustainability goals.”, states David Goldschmidt, President of Midland’s National division.
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Meredith Corporation To Sell Local Media Group For $2.7 Billion, Focus Exclusively On Leading Portfolio Of National Brands

Meredith Corporationannounced that it has agreed to sell its Local Media Group to Gray Television, Inc. for $2.7 billion in cash and will focus exclusively on its National Media Group ("NMG") portfolio post-close. Under the terms of the transaction, Meredith's National Media Group will be spun out to shareholders as a standalone publicly traded company retaining the Meredith Corporation name, with shareholders receiving cash consideration per share of approximately $14.50 and 1-for-1 equity share in post-close Meredith. The transaction was unanimously approved by Meredith's and Gray's Board of Directors. Following the LMG sale, Meredith will focus on accelerating the growth of its iconic brands including PEOPLE, Better Homes & Gardens, and Allrecipes, which deliver trusted, actionable content for every aspect of consumers' lives. The more focused company will continue producing and delivering content for 95% of U.S. women, many of whom are primary decision makers for the household.
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Grainger Reports Results For The First Quarter 2021

Sales for the quarter increased 2.8% as compared to the first quarter of 2020. Excluding revenues from the now divested Fabory and China businesses from the prior year results, and removing the impact from foreign currency translation, daily sales increased 5.9% as compared to the first quarter of 2020. Sales growth was fueled by both the High-Touch Solutions (N.A.) and Endless Assortment segments. Foreign exchange contributed a 1.1% favorable impact during the first quarter of 2021 compared to the first quarter of 2020. There were 63 sales days in the first quarter of 2021 versus 64 sales days in the first quarter of 2020. Gross margin for the first quarter of 2021 was 35.5%, a 190 basis point decline over the prior year quarter. The unfavorable variance was driven almost entirely by a pandemic-related inventory adjustment in the U.S. business on certain non-core SKUs, which are selling below cost based on current market-relevant pricing. ely 30 basis points. Reported operating earnings for the first quarter of 2021 of $358 million were up 126% versus the first quarter of 2020, primarily due to charges taken in the first quarter of 2020 related to the now divested Fabory business. On an adjusted basis, operating earnings for the quarter of $358 million were up 4% versus the first quarter of 2020.
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AAP Welcomes 2021 USTR Special 301 Report Addressing Continuing Copyright Protection and Enforcement Issues

The Association of American Publishers (AAP) welcomes the release of the 2021 Special 301 Report by the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR). The report, which highlights key markets in which publishers have significant copyright concerns and face market-access barriers, is a critically important tool for policymakers to use in identifying issues that impede the ability of U.S. copyright owners to compete in foreign markets. China is once again listed as a Priority Watch List country, as online piracy and the sale of counterfeit products on ecommerce sites continue to be significant problems. Canada also remains on the Watch List, with the Report noting that the U.S. government “remains deeply troubled by the ambiguous education-related exception added to the copyright law in 2012, which reportedly has significantly damaged the market for educational publishers and authors.”
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Print Unit Sales Surge in Late April (publishersweekly.com)

Unit sales of print books rose 24.3% in the week ended Apr. 24, 2021, over the comparable week in 2020, at outlets that report to NPD BookScan. At this time last year, sales were beginning to recover from declines early in the pandemic and were almost flat with the comparable week in 2019. In the most recent week, adult nonfiction unit sales jumped 44.3% over sales in the category during the week ended Apr. 25, 2020, as five of the top 10 adult nonfiction bestsellers were new releases. World Traveler by the late Anthony Bourdain and his longtime collaborator Laurie Woolever took the top spot in the category, selling more than 50,000 copies. George W. Bush’s Out of Many, One was in the fourth place, selling almost 28,000 copies, followed by Cook This Book by Molly Baz, which sold about 22,000 copies. Adult fiction sales increased 33% over 2020.
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Kohl’s to Expand Electric Vehicle Charging Stations for Additional Customer Convenience in Support of Sustainability Goals

Kohl’s and Volta Industries, Inc. announced they will bring 100 electric vehicle (EV) charging stations to 50 additional Kohl’s stores this year, marrying Kohl's expansive customer reach with Volta’s electric vehicle charging experience. With this expansion, Kohl’s customers will have access to 275 charging stations at more than 150 Kohl’s locations across 22 states. Kohl’s store locations offering the convenience of EV charging can be found with the store locator tool on Kohls.com. “Kohl’s has a number of sustainability goals that we seek to make progress against including climate change and the transition to a low-carbon transportation system. These goals not only support environmentally conscious transportation solutions, but mark a reflection of the expectations that our associates, customers and communities have for our role in achieving long-term sustainability,” said Steve Thomas, Kohl’s Chief Risk & Compliance Officer. “Bringing additional electric vehicle charging stations to our store network with a partner like Volta adds an important sustainability touchstone and added convenience for Kohl’s employees and shoppers.”
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Amazon.com Announces First Quarter Results

*Operating cash flow increased 69% to $67.2 billion for the trailing twelve months, compared with $39.7 billion for the trailing twelve months ended March 31, 2020. *Net sales increased 44% to $108.5 billion in the first quarter, compared with $75.5 billion in first quarter 2020. Excluding the $2.1 billion favorable impact from year-over-year changes in foreign exchange rates throughout the quarter, net sales increased 41% compared with first quarter 2020. *Operating income increased to $8.9 billion in the first quarter, compared with operating income of $4.0 billion in first quarter 2020. *Net income increased to $8.1 billion in the first quarter, or $15.79 per diluted share, compared with net income of $2.5 billion, or $5.01 per diluted share, in first quarter 2020.
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Adult Titles Drove a 24% Print Book Sales Gain Last Week (publishersweekly.com)

Big gains in sales of adult and young adult titles drove up unit sales of print books by 24.3% in the week ended April 24, 2021, over the comparable week in 2020 at outlets that report to NPD BookScan. At this time last year, sales were beginning to recover from early pandemic declines, and were almost flat with the comparable week in 2019. Unit sales last week were about 13.5 million, and were approximately 11.1 million in each of the two previous years. In adult nonfiction, all the subcategories—with the exception of humor and crafts/hobbies/antiques/games—had sales increases over the week ended April 25, 2020, led by sales of travel books, where units soared nearly 348% after crashing last spring. Five of the top 10 bestsellers in the category were released last week, with World Travel by the late Anthony Bourdain and his longtime collaborator Laurie Woolever landing in the top spot, selling more than 50,000 copies. George Bush’s Out of Many, One was in the fourth spot, selling almost 28,000 copies, followed by Cook This Book by Molly Baz, which sold about 22,000 copies.
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MIDLAND Launches Carbon Balanced Paper in North America to help Organizations Reduce the Carbon Impact of their Paper and Print Communications

Since 2008, the Carbon Balanced Paper initiative has been responsible for balancing 190,000 tons of CO2 and preserving high conservation value land. MIDLAND is now offering Carbon Balanced Paper in North America, administered by the Sustainable Paper Group, and in partnership with the World Land Trust (WLT), an international conservation charity. This is a well-established and successful program in Europe with over 3,000 organizations taking positive action by choosing carbon balanced paper to preserve the most critically endangered places on earth, acre by acre. The launch in North America will help organizations reduce the carbon footprint of their printed media and meet their commitments toward carbon reduction by addressing the unavoidable carbon emissions from the paper manufacturing process. At the same time, choosing Carbon Balanced Paper allows organizations to simply and effectively differentiate themselves as market leaders in environmental responsibility. “MIDLAND is excited to announce the first major Carbon Balanced Paper initiative in North America. Many of our customers have stated objectives to reduce their net carbon impact, and Carbon Balanced Paper is an effective and credible tool to help them achieve these important sustainability goals.”, states David Goldschmidt, President of Midland’s National division.
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Meredith Reports Fiscal 2021 Third Quarter And Nine Month Results

Fiscal 2021 third quarter revenues declined 5 percent to $665 million. Key performance indicators included: *21 percent increase in National Media Group digital advertising revenues. Sessions grew 17 percent, led by PEOPLE, Allrecipes, Southern Living, and Martha Stewart. Meredith continues benefiting from its proprietary technology platform that brings together content, unique taxonomy, and first party data. *31 percent increase in National Media Group licensing/digital and other consumer driven revenues. Performance was driven by Apple News+, strong sales of Better Homes & Gardens-branded products at Walmart, and performance marketing via retail partners. *6 percent increase in non-political spot advertising and retransmission revenues. Non-political spot advertising growth was the first since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, and was driven primarily by the professional services, gaming, and home categories. *19 percent decline in combined magazine advertising, subscription, and newsstand revenues. Advertising performance was impacted primarily by lower than expected performance in the food & beverage and prescription drug categories. Subscription revenue performance reflects a stable 36 million rate base and Meredith's ongoing strategy to engage subscribers directly. This strategy reduces revenue and increases profitability by fostering a stronger and more profitable relationship with subscribers, including the opportunity for rate increases over time. Newsstand performance was impacted primarily by lower demand and fewer issues published.
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1-800-FLOWERS.COM, Inc. Board Increases Stock Repurchase Program to $40 Million

1-800-FLOWERS.COM, Inc. reported that it had received a new authorization from its Board of Directors increasing funds available for stock repurchase to $40 million. The new authorization replenishes and increases a previous $30 million authorization that had approximately $4 million remaining after the Company had returned approximately $26 million to shareholders by repurchasing shares over the past two years. Chris McCann, CEO, 1-800-FLOWERS.COM, Inc., said, “We believe our stock is a very compelling investment and repurchasing our shares enables us to return additional value to our shareholders.”
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1-800-FLOWERS.COM, Inc. Reports Record Revenue and Earnings Results for its Fiscal 2021 Third Quarter

Total consolidated revenues increased 70.1 percent, or $195.4 million, to $474.2 million, compared with total consolidated revenues of $278.8 million in the prior year period, driven by ecommerce growth of 83.2 percent. Revenue growth in the quarter included contributions from PersonalizationMall.com which the Company acquired in August 2020. Excluding the contribution from PersonalizationMall.com total net revenues increased 55.7 percent, compared with the prior year period. Gross profit margin for the quarter increased 40 basis points to 38.9 percent, compared with 38.5 percent in the prior year period. Operating expenses as a percent of total revenues improved 340 basis points to 39.0 percent, compared with 42.4 percent in the prior year period. Excluding the impacts of the Company’s non-qualified deferred 401k compensation plan and one-time transaction costs, operating expenses, as a percentage of total revenues improved 430 basis points to 38.8 percent in the quarter.
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S&P Global Revenue Increased 13% in the First Quarter with Growth Across All Four Divisions

S&P Global reported first quarter 2021 results with revenue of $2,016 million, an increase of 13% compared to the same period last year. Net income increased 18% to $755 million and diluted earnings per share increased 19% to $3.12 primarily due to revenue growth in every segment and productivity programs and lower T&E across the Company. "Since the beginning of the pandemic, the essential nature of our products has demonstrated the resiliency of our business model. As the global economy recovers, we continue to launch innovative new products to help our customers with the ratings, benchmarks, data, and insights they need to navigate the changing markets," said Douglas L. Peterson, President and Chief Executive Officer of S&P Global. "As to the pending merger with IHS Markit, the shareholders of both companies overwhelmingly approved the transaction and we continue to work with global regulators in anticipation of closing the merger in the second half of 2021."
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‘Field & Stream’ Digitizes Its Magazine (mediapost.com)

Field & Stream, a 125-year-old magazine devoted to physical effort outdoors, is embracing 21st-century technology. Editor-in-chief Colin Kearns writes in a post that “Field & Stream is going to be a digital magazine.” Countless publications have already taken that step. But Kearns explains what it will mean to Field & Stream readers, a hearty breed judging by the pub's content. “For starters, instead of having issues delivered to your mailbox, they’ll conveniently come to where you already consume so much F&S content every day — to your phone, tablet or computer,” Kearns writes.
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U.S. Postal Service Accelerates Key Network Infrastructure Investments Ahead of 2021 Holiday Season

As part of its 10-year plan to achieve financial sustainability and service excellence, the Postal Service announced key network infrastructure investments to meet the evolving mailing and shipping needs of American public and business customers ahead of the 2021 holiday season. These initiatives and investments include: *An accelerated investment and procurement of 138 package processing sorters that will be operational ahead of the 2021 peak holiday season. *The leasing of an additional 45 annex facilities located near processing centers in key locations to support surges and overflow of packages. *The movement of mail processing operations at 18 facilities previously paused in 2015.
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AAP February 2021 StatShot Report: Publishing Industry Up 24.7% For Second Month 2021, And 16.4% Year To Date

The Association of American Publishers released its StatShot report for February 2021 reflecting reported revenue for all tracked categories, including Trade (Consumer Books), K-12 Instructional Materials, Higher Education Course Materials, Professional Publishing, and University Presses. Total revenues across all categories for February 2021 were up 24.7% as compared to February 2020, coming in at $964.5 million. Year to date revenues were up 16.4%, at $2.2 billion for the first two months of the year. click read more below for details
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Bertelsmann Presents New Strategic Priorities

Bertelsmann is using its sound operational and financial health as a starting point to further develop its successful strategy. In doing so, the international media, services and education company is now pursuing five priorities, which Bertelsmann Chairman and CEO Thomas Rabe presented to key executives at the Group’s second purely virtual management meeting on Thursday. The goal is to trigger another growth spurt for Bertelsmann. This is to be achieved by creating national media champions, expanding the global content businesses, Bertelsmann’s global services businesses, the online education division, and the worldwide network of holdings. More than 600 executives from all eight business divisions and the Corporate Center took part in the digital meeting. They come from 30 countries; more than a third of them are women. Besides Thomas Rabe, Bertelsmann Executive Board members Markus Dohle, Rolf Hellermann and Immanuel Hermreck, as well as ten other top executives, most of them members of the Bertelsmann Group Management Committee, presented their strategic priorities and plans.
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PRC Releases Analysis of Postal Service Finances in FY 2020

The Postal Regulatory Commission released its Financial Analysis, an examination of the U.S. Postal Service’s (Postal Service) financial results and 10-K Statements for Fiscal Year (FY) 2020. Despite an increase in Competitive products revenue, the Commission’s overall analysis supports the conclusion that the Postal Service is on a highly unstable financial path. Total net operating losses were $3.6 billion in FY 2020, continuing the trend of significant operational losses. When non-operating expenses are included, such as non-cash workers’ compensation costs and accruals to retirement accounts, the net operating loss of $3.6 billion becomes a total net loss of $9.2 billion. The net operating losses are predominantly due to persistent declines in Market Dominant mail volume and higher operating expenses. click read more for details
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BISG Annual Meeting Examines Sustainability on a Number of Levels (publishersweekly.com)

This year’s Book Industry Study Group annual meeting, held virtually April 23, focused on issues around book publishing’s impact on the environment, the continuing effect of the pandemic on the supply chain, and the industry’s response to both. The program opened with a keynote by Sheri Aldis, chief of publishing at the United Nations, which focused on the need for “global cooperation” to address sustainability and on the role of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), a set of 17 interconnected objectives based around science, economic development, and social well-being considered necessary to create a decent standard of life. Among the SDGs are (1) no poverty, (2) zero hunger, (4) quality education, (5) gender equality, (7) affordable and clean energy, and (13) climate action.
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Carbon Balanced Paper launches in North America to help organizations reduce the carbon impact of their paper and print communications

Since 2008, the Carbon Balanced Paper initiative has been responsible for balancing 190,000 tonnes of CO2 and preserving 19,000 acres of high conservation value land. Carbon Balanced Paper (CBP) is launching in North America, administered by Sustainable Paper Group in partnership with international conservation charity World Land Trust (WLT). This is a well-established and successful program in Europe with over 3,000 organizations taking positive action by choosing Carbon Balanced Paper. The launch in North America will enable brands and organizations in the United States and Canada to carbon balance any paper product, helping them to meet growing commitments to carbon reduction and carbon neutrality and to simply, yet effectively, differentiate themselves as market leaders in environmental responsibility.
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Pearson 2021 Q1 Trading Update (Unaudited)

Highlights * Encouraging start to the year despite challenging market conditions, with underlying revenue growth of 5% reflecting good progress as we reposition Pearson for sustainable growth with a strong direct to consumer focus. * Global Online Learning up 25%, with strong growth in Virtual Schools due to enrolment growth in the current school year in Partner Schools as well as in US district partnerships; modest growth in OPM due to ongoing impact of discontinued programs. * Global Assessment down 2%, as strong recovery in Professional Certification and US Clinical Assessment was more than offset by US School Assessment, where revenue was down significantly due to the challenging comparative and reuse of material from cancelled exams. * North American Courseware up 1% as Canada benefited from the continued sales shift to digital and a school funding increase which more than offset a 1% decline in US Higher Education Courseware. We continued to see good momentum in the US business with growth in total units sold into colleges, growth in digital sales and registrations, and returns continuing to trend lower. Growth in eBooks more than offset declines in print and bundle units, showing signs of secondary market recapture. * International down 2% with a decline in English as COVID-19 continued to impact our courseware and franchise business in Latin America, notwithstanding slight improvement in Pearson Test of English volume and courseware recovery in China. BTEC revenue was lower due to FE College closures and lower resit fees due to 2020 exam cancellations. This was partially negated by strong courseware sales in Europe and South Africa. *We continue to expect our performance to be in line with our 2021 outlook, as outlined on 8 March 2021 at our full year results.
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New Bloomsbury acquisition strengthens Bloomsbury Digital Resources division

Bloomsbury Publishing Plc announces that it has signed a sale and purchase agreement for the acquisition of certain assets of Red Globe Press (“RGP”), the academic imprint, from Macmillan Education Limited, a part of Springer Nature Group. The consideration is £3.7 million, of which £2.1 million will be satisfied in cash at completion and up to £1.6 million will be paid on or post-completion, subject to assignment of certain contracts. RGP specialises in high-quality publishing for Higher Education students globally in Humanities and Social Sciences, Business and Management, and Study Skills. RGP has a backlist of more than 7,000 titles and publishes more than 100 new titles per year, with content including digital platforms, textbooks, research-driven materials and general academic publishing. The acquired RGP titles are a good strategic fit, strengthen Bloomsbury’s existing academic publishing, and establish new areas of academic publishing in Business and Management, Study Skills and Psychology. RGP’s three digital products will be migrated to Bloomsbury Digital Resources’ own platform and its content added to Bloomsbury Collections. The business will operate within Bloomsbury’s Academic and Professional division.
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February Bookstore Sales Dropped 22.3% (publishersweekly.com)

February bookstore sale fell 22.3% compared to 2020, according to preliminary estimates released by the U.S. Census Bureau. The decline is higher than the 16.7% drop bookstore sales experienced in January compared to the first month of 2020. Bad weather and more store lockdowns as Covid-19 cases spread are likely reasons for the higher decline in sales. In the month, sales were $446 million, down from $573 million in February 2020. For the first two months of 2021, bookstore sales were $1.24 billion, down 18.7% from the comparable period last year. For the entire retail sector, February sales rose 2.9% and sales were up 5.3% for the first two months of 2021 over 2020.
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HH Global expands to Indonesia

HH Global continues to go from strength-to-strength with the opening of a new operating location in Indonesia. The fast-paced economy of SEA coupled with our growing client requirements made the expansion for HH Global into Indonesia strategically important. Following on from the successful acquisitions of InnerWorkings and Genii, we continue to grow organically in APAC and extending our services into Indonesia supports this approach. Jakarta adds to the 50+ locations across the world that HH Global are now physically present and adds to our existing 10 operating locations in APAC. Our location in Indonesia will provide the full range of HH Global’s service offerings from consulting, design, retail, print production, events, logistics, packaging and promotional merchandise.
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Kohl’s and Investor Group Reach Agreement

Kohl’s Corporation announced that it has entered into a settlement agreement with Macellum Advisors GP, LLC, Ancora Holdings, Inc., Legion Partners Asset Management, LLC, and 4010 Capital, LLC, which collectively own 9.3% of Kohl’s outstanding common stock, including options. As part of the agreement, two new independent directors nominated by the Investor Group, Margaret Jenkins and Thomas Kingsbury, will join the Kohl’s Board of Directors, as of the close of the 2021 Annual Meeting of Shareholders. An additional independent director identified by Kohl's, and agreed to by the Investor Group, Christine Day, will join the Board at the same time.
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Kohl’s Named ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year for Tenth Consecutive Year

Kohl’s is proud to receive the 2021 ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year Sustained Excellence Award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Energy. This year marks the 10th consecutive year that the EPA has recognized Kohl’s with the Sustained Excellence award, the highest honor bestowed by the ENERGY STAR program and selection from a network of thousands of ENERGY STAR partners. “Kohl’s has been a longtime partner of the EPA on our journey to continually implement the best practices available in energy efficiency across our store network and facilities to reduce our carbon footprint and do our part to fight climate change,” said Steve Thomas, Kohl’s chief risk and compliance officer. “This recognition is a tangible way to show our associates, our customers, our communities and our business partners the work that our teams do ‘behind-the-scenes’ to operate our business efficiently and conscientiously.”
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REI Co-op reports 2020 financials, launches new Cooperative Action initiative

REI Co-op released its 2020 financials and annual impact report, highlighting strong financial performance and its values-based approach to leading through a global crisis—and beyond. Despite unforeseen challenges in 2020, the co-op made bold investments in the future of its business: selling its headquarters buildings to imagine an entirely new future of office work, taking the co-op carbon neutral, investing in retail pay, making a commitment to racial equity that will impact every area of the company, and rolling out innovative new offerings like virtual outfitting and Curbside Pickup within a matter of weeks. “We entered 2020 with incredible momentum, after more than a decade of record growth. Then, the entire world came to a halt. We regrounded ourselves in our values, making choices that at times came at great cost to our business. But we took the long view and continued to put our people first, quickly pivoting to find new ways of serving our customers and community,” said REI President and CEO Eric Artz. “That approach turned out to be the right thing for our people and for our business, and allowed us to enter 2021 not just in a position of financial strength, but proud of who we were when the times were least certain.” The co-op reported no profits in 2020 but ended the year in a strong cash position and debt-free, after investing millions in its impact work: combatting the climate crisis, fighting for racial equity and supporting its network of nonprofit partners. Now REI is launching the next chapter of that work, inviting its broader co-op community to take action.
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The Surge of Print Books Sales Continues (publishersweekly.com)

Unit sales of print books rose a remarkable 29.2% in the first quarter of 2021 over the same period in 2020 at outlets that report to NPD BookScan. Though some of that gain was due to the slump in sales that occurred in mid-March last year, most of the increase was due to the surge in book buying that began last spring and carried over into 2021. All six major categories tracked by BookScan had double-digit increases, and all four print formats posted gains. Units rose 24.6% in adult nonfiction, the industry’s largest category. Sales in the home and gardening subcategory, which began to take off late last April, remained strong into the first quarter of 2021, up 54.1% in the period. Sales of general nonfiction increased 44.7%, while sales in the self-help and biography/autobiography/memoir areas rose 38.8% and 35.7%, respectively. The long-awaited revival in travel books has not arrived yet, with unit sales down nearly 25%. Print sales of adult fiction increased 34.7% in the quarter. Graphic novels led the way, with sales soaring almost 146%. Big gains were also seen in fantasy (up 48.4%), science fiction (40.6%), and romance (29.9%).
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URBN Announces Personnel Changes and a Sales Update

Urban Outfitters, Inc. announced a personnel change at the Anthropologie Group. Hillary Super has stepped down as Global Chief Executive Officer. Her last day was Friday, April 9th. We thank Hillary for her service over the past four years and wish her well in the future. Beginning today, Tricia D. Smith, has joined the Anthropologie team as the new Global Chief Executive Officer. Ms. Smith brings with her impressive retail experience earned over 26 years spent within the Nordstrom merchant organization where she was Executive Vice President, General Merchandise Manager of Women’s, Young Contemporary, Designer, and Specialized Apparel. In 2019, Tricia left Nordstrom to become Executive Vice President, Chief Merchandising Officer, of Tilly’s. Separately, URBN is pleased to report that total Retail segment comparable net sales thus far during the first quarter of Fiscal 2022 have increased by high single-digits versus Fiscal 2020. In North America, better sales were driven by double-digit ‘comp’ results at both the Free People and Urban Outfitters brands while Anthropologie sales have improved substantially but remain slightly negative.
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Kohl’s Opens Sixth E-Commerce Fulfillment Center to Support Growing Digital Demand and Supply Chain Efficiencies

Kohl’s announced the opening of its sixth e-commerce fulfillment center in Etna, Ohio (10201 Schuster Way) to support the company’s continued online demand and digital sales acceleration. The 1.2 million square-foot facility is Kohl’s largest, most efficient fulfillment center and will be dedicated to processing, filling and shipping Kohls.com orders. The next-generation facility leverages automation and technology to make processing and delivering Kohls.com orders faster and more efficient. Construction of the facility began in 2019, was temporarily paused in 2020 due to the pandemic, and resumed in 2021. “Over the past five years, Kohl’s digital sales have grown more than 100 percent. Our investment in a highly efficient sixth e-commerce fulfillment center will meaningfully grow our peak fulfillment capacity,” said Paul Gaffney, Kohl’s senior executive vice president, chief technology officer and head of supply chain. “The new facility makes Kohl's more efficient at fulfilling orders via automation and modern technology, puts Kohl’s products geographically closer to our customers, and ultimately gets our great products to our customers faster.”
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Book Biz Closes Out an Unexpected 2020 (publishersweekly.com)

Last week Penguin Random House reported that it had a 23.3% increase in profits in 2020 over 2019 on a 4.6% gain in revenue, capping a remarkable year for America’s five biggest trade publishers that report financial results. Despite the disruptions caused by the pandemic, all five had annual increases in both earnings and sales. Higher sales of e-books and digital audiobooks and solid gains of backlist titles helped drive the revenue and profit gains. Online sales also rose in the year, offsetting soft sales through bookstores due to pandemic-induced lockdowns. According to PRH parent company Bertelsmann, PRH US had a particularly good year and drove the overall gains for the publisher. PRH US accounted for just over 58% of PRH’s total revenue, or roughly $2.59 billion. In 2019, the U.S. represented 56% of PRH revenue (about $2.2 billion).
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Paper or Digital? It’s Your Choice.

In an increasingly digital world, Keep Me Posted recognizes that many of us still prefer to receive bills, medical records and other important, confidential communications in paper format. Many consumers report difficulties in using new payment technologies and many require paper communications. This can include older adults, disabled people, low-income earners (who can’t afford costly broadband internet) and those with no home internet (often located in rural areas) or computers. Even for those who prefer digital communications, storing or accessing sensitive documents online could lead to disaster in the event of data breaches and identity theft which are becoming more common every year. Yet each day, more companies are forcing us to go paperless and even charging us inflated fees for online access to critical personal and financial documents. One study also revealed that new utility customers paid significantly later when they received bill invoices by email. If this happens, you might be charged late fees and harassment from debt collectors – and even your credit rating could suffer. In a recent survey, 90% of people said they’d like to have the right to choose how they receive communications (printed or electronic). It’s time to make our voices heard.
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1,387,615 More Reasons We Need Paper Options: Identity Theft Is Exploding

Online fraud did not take a break for the pandemic. Just the opposite, crimes and complaints are exploding across all categories measured by the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The FTC just released its Consumer Sentinel Network Data Book 2020, a comprehensive catalog of consumer reports about fraud, identity theft, online exploits and scams, along with other consumer protection topics. It provides nearly 100 pages of data and analysis of consumer abuses registered directly with the FTC and across its network of federal, state and local partners in consumer advocacy, protection and law enforcement. The FTC data show that identity theft more than doubled from 2019 to 2020, representing nearly one-third of all types of complaints, with a record high 1.4 million and growing. Billions of dollars were lost, with seniors faring far greater financial harms on a per case basis. Incidents in subcategories like fraudulent use of identities for government benefits rose a stratospheric 2,920% year over year. And criminals are increasingly exploiting digital communications via text, email, social media, websites and apps to hunt and harm victims. more at source: https://keepmepostedna.org/1387615-more-reasons-we-need-paper-options-identity-theft-is-exploding/
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The Surfer’s Journal Media Model Stands the Test of Time (shop-eat-surf.com)

The modern media landscape has not been kind to many industry magazines, and many are no longer around at least in print form including Surfer, Surfing, Transworld Skateboarding, Transworld Surf, and Powder. But the Surfer’s Journal has defied all those negative trends and currently has the most subscribers it has ever had. The business model started by owners Debbee and Steve Pezman 30-years ago has proven to be ahead of its time. An emphasis on editorial quality allows it to charge more for subscriptions and rely more on its readers for revenue while working with a small number of high quality sponsors that sign on for a long-term commitment.
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AAP January 2021 Snapshot Report

The Association of American Publishers (AAP) today released its StatShot report for January 2021 reflecting reported revenue for all tracked categories, including Trade (Consumer Books), K-12 Instructional Materials, Higher Education Course Materials, Professional Publishing, and University Presses. Total revenues across all categories for January 2021 were up 10.3% as compared to January 2020, coming in at $1.2 billion. Trade (Consumer Books) sales were up 21.3% in January, coming in at $689.5 million. In terms of physical paper format revenues during the month of January, in the Trade (Consumer Books) category, Hardback revenues were up 25.5%, coming in at $244.2 million; Paperbacks were up 17.9%, with $227.5 million in revenue; Mass Market was up 39.9% to $19.5 million; and Board Books were down 3.4%, with $17.2 million in revenue.
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Torstar acquires Cineplex Magazine

Torstar Corporation announced it has entered into a long-term partnership with Cineplex whereby Torstar will acquire publishing and exclusive theatre distribution rights of Cineplex Magazine, Canada’s leading entertainment publication. A mainstay of both the Canadian movie and publishing scenes for more than 20 years, Cineplex Magazine delivers exclusive interviews with A-list stars, the inside scoop on coming movies, and compelling photos from current films, movie sets and red-carpet events. Torstar will continue both print and digital publications of the magazine under the brand Star Cineplex. The two companies will work together to deliver exclusive content to movie fans and entertainment lovers across Canada.
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Walgreens Boots Alliance Fiscal 2021 Second Quarter Results Exceed Expectations

WBA had fiscal 2021 second quarter sales from continuing operations of $32.8 billion, an increase of 4.6 percent from the year-ago quarter, and an increase of 3.5 percent on a constant currency basis1, reflecting strong International segment growth, aided by the company's joint venture in Germany, and the United States segment. Operating income from continuing operations was $832 million in the second quarter, compared with $1.1 billion in the same quarter a year ago. Adjusted operating income from continuing operations was $1.2 billion, a decrease of 22.5 percent on a reported currency basis and a decrease of 22.9 percent on a constant currency basis. Total net earnings attributable to WBA, including discontinued operations, increased 8.4 percent compared with the same quarter a year ago to $1.0 billion, reflecting a gain from the sale of a portion of the company's equity method investment in Option Care Health and a lower effective tax rate driven by discrete items, partly offset by lower operating income. Net earnings from continuing operations in the second quarter increased 6.3 percent compared with the same quarter a year ago to $922 million. Adjusted net earnings from continuing operations decreased 12.1 percent to $1.1 billion, down 12.8 percent on a constant currency basis, compared with the same quarter a year ago.
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Bertelsmann Increases Group Profit by Over 30 Percent to €1.5 Billion in 2020

Bertelsmann’s Group revenues declined moderately last year by 4.1 percent to €17.3 billion (previous year: €18.0 billion). The organic decline in revenues amounted to 1.7 percent. The advertising-financed businesses and print businesses in particular recorded corona-related revenue declines in the first half of the year. In the second half of the year, almost all divisions were back in the black, especially in the final quarter. The proportion of digital businesses was further expanded, and stood at 53 percent. Operating EBITDA reached a new record level of €3.1 billion (previous year: €2.9 billion). Thanks to a strong operating performance, especially from the Penguin Random House publishing group and the services subsidiary Arvato, as well as capital gains from real estate sales, the operating result rose above the €3 billion mark for the first time. Group profit increased by 34 percent to €1.5 billion (previous year: €1.1 billion) – its highest level since 2006, and above the billion-euro mark for the sixth consecutive year.
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Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Enters Into Definitive Agreement to Divest HMH Books & Media Consumer Publishing Business for $349 Million

Learning technology company Houghton Mifflin Harcourt announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to divest HMH Books & Media, its consumer publishing business, to HarperCollins Publishers, a division of News Corp for a cash purchase price of $349 million. The divestiture enables HMH to focus singularly on K–12 education and accelerate growth momentum in digital sales, annual recurring revenue and free cash flow while paying down a significant portion of its debt.
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PRC Evaluates Postal Service Compliance with Pricing and Service in FY 2020 Annual Compliance Determination

The Postal Regulatory Commission issued its 2020 Annual Compliance Determination assessing the pricing and service performance of the Postal Service in fiscal year 2020 (39 U.S.C. Section 3653). The Commission is required to issue its ACD 90 days after the filing of the Postal Service’s Annual Compliance Report (ACR). Key issues identified in the ACD include: *Ten Market Dominant products did not cover their costs in FY 2020, and two of the five Market Dominant classes (Periodicals and Package Services) were also non-compensatory. *Operational and financial problems with flat-shaped products persisted, as these products had a negative contribution of more than $1 billion, and despite previous Commission directives, the Postal Service does not have a satisfactory plan to correct this. *Due to a number of internal and external factors, 17 of 22 Market Dominant products failed to meet their service standards, the worst service performance results since the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006 mandated the establishment of service standards and tracking of performance against those standards. more detail at: https://www.prc.gov/sites/default/files/pr/ACD%202020_FINAL.pdf
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U.S. Postal Service Announces Changes to Delivery Time for Priority Mail Express, and Seeks to Transfer Bound Printed Matter Parcels to the Competitive Product List

The United States Postal Service filed notice with the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) today seeking to transfer Bound Printed Matter (BPM) Parcels to the Competitive Product list, and simplifying the delivery time for Priority Mail Express (PME). The changes to PME will take effect no earlier than May 23, 2021. The BPM Parcel change will take effect on a date yet to be determined, and is subject to approval by the PRC. Currently, PME has three guaranteed delivery time windows within the 1 – 2 business day service standards: 10:30 a.m. (in select locations, for an extra fee), noon, or 3 p.m. The new single guaranteed delivery time will be 6 p.m. on the committed delivery day, regardless of package origin and destination. The price of using PME as a shipping option will not change. The current price for PME flat rate envelope starts at $26.35. Additional pricing information can be found on our website. BPM parcels contain advertising, promotional, directory or editorial material such as catalogs, books and other printed material, and can weigh up to 15 pounds. The contents must be securely bound by permanent fastening such as staples, spiral binding, glue, or stitching. The Postal Service has requested that the PRC change the classification of BPM parcels from a Market Dominant product to a Competitive product.
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News Corp To Acquire Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books & Media Segment

News Corp announced that it has entered into an agreement to acquire the Books & Media segment of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH Books & Media). The business will be operated by HarperCollins Publishers, a News Corp subsidiary. HMH Books & Media is home to one of the most extensive and successful backlists in the publishing industry, with a history of strong profitability. Backlists have proven to be a sustainable and growing source of revenues, high margins and cash flow for publishers, particularly evergreen properties with broad, enduring and global appeal. In calendar year 2020, over 60% of HMH Books & Media revenues were generated by its formidable backlist. Among the most popular of the more than 7000 titles in the HMH Books & Media backlist are: The Lord of the Rings trilogy and other titles by J.R.R. Tolkien; 1984 and Animal Farm by George Orwell; and All the King’s Men by Robert Penn Warren, among many others. HarperCollins currently has rights to J.R.R. Tolkien’s works in the British Commonwealth.
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Meredith/Amex slashes staff, ends print of Departures and Centurion mags (nypost.com)

Lifestyle magazines Departures and Centurion, which went to high-income holders of American Express platinum and centurion cards, are the latest casualty in the print world as Meredith laid off most of the staff and halted publication of the seven-times-a-year print titles. Said an AmEx spokesperson, “We regularly evolve our premium card offerings and have made the decision to transition the Departures and Centurion US magazine benefits to a new digital-first editorial platform.” Departures’ May/June, Spring Home + Design issue and the quarterly Spring/Summer Centurion Magazine will be the final print issues in their current form published by Meredith Corporation.
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Gap Inc. Plans to Sell Janie and Jack

Aligned to Gap Inc.’s Power Plan 2023, the company is focused on growing its purpose-led, billion-dollar lifestyle brands by leveraging the power of its portfolio and the power of its platform. With this, Gap Inc. has entered into an agreement to sell Janie and Jack, a leader in premium children’s fashion, to Go Global Retail, an investment platform in the fashion and consumer brand sector. Go Global Retail intends to acquire the entire Janie and Jack business, including the e-commerce platform, all store leases, and assets. Commenting on the transactions, Gap Inc. Head of Strategy, Sally Gilligan, said, “As part of Gap Inc.’s Power Plan 2023, and exemplified by this transaction, we are prioritizing strategic focus and resources behind the growth and potential of our billion-dollar brands in Old Navy, Gap, Banana Republic and Athleta.”
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Ad Industry Asks Florida Lawmakers To Reject Privacy Bill (mediapost.com)

A fast-advancing Florida privacy bill that would give consumers the right to opt out of targeted advertising is drawing opposition from the ad industry. The Consumer Data Privacy bill (HB 969 and SB 1734), first unveiled in February, would broadly require companies to notify consumers about data collection, and allow consumers to opt out of the sale of their personal data, as well as its processing for purposes of targeted ads. The bill defines targeted advertising as ads based on people's predicted interests, as determined by data gathered from people's activities over time and across businesses, websites or other online applications.
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Procedural Overview of the Advisory Opinion Process

To seek important public input, the Commission requires the Postal Service to hold at least one pre-filing conference and make a good faith effort to address the concerns of interested persons. The Postal Service must give at least ten day’s advance notice before the first scheduled pre-filing conference. *The Commission will publish notice of the pre-filing conference in the Federal Register and appoint a Commission employee (Public Representative) to represent the interests of the general public. *Following the conference, the Postal Service must file the formal request for an advisory opinion with the Commission at least 90 days before implementing any of the proposed changes. This formal request must certify that the Postal Service has made good faith efforts to address the concerns raised at the pre-filing conference and meet other content requirements. *After the Postal Service files its request for an advisory opinion with the Commission, the Commission will set forth a procedural schedule and provide further information in a notice and order that will be published in the Federal Register. *The Commission is required by law to consider the Postal Service’s request for an advisory opinion. Before issuing its advisory opinion, the Commission must provide an opportunity for a formal, on-the-record hearing, with the Commissioners sitting en banc. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Commission is presently operating remotely and any hearing held in the near term would be virtual. *By law, the Commission’s final opinion is advisory in nature. The law does not give the Commission authority to veto service changes. As a result, the Postal Service is not required to implement or take any further action with regard to the Commission’s opinion. *Interested persons who do not want to formally participate in the proceedings may file comments with the Commission sharing their views.
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United States Postal Service Unveils 10-Year Plan to Achieve Financial Sustainability and Service Excellence

The United States Postal Service today released its 10-year Plan, ‘Delivering for America’, to return the organization to financial sustainability and achieve service excellence while maintaining universal six-day mail delivery and expanding seven-day package delivery. “The need for the U.S. Postal Service to transform to meet the needs of our customers is long overdue,” said Postmaster General and Chief Executive Officer Louis DeJoy. “Our Plan calls for growth and investments, as well as targeted cost reductions and other strategies that will enable us to operate in a precise and efficient manner to meet future challenges, as we put the Postal Service on a path for financial sustainability and service excellence.” “The Board challenged Postal management to devise a Plan that was firmly rooted in our public service mission to bind the nation together,” said Ron Bloom, Chairman of the United States Postal Service Board of Governors. click read more below
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Postmaster General and Leadership of Union and Management Associations Form Joint Task Force on Service Performance

“Recognizing that issues in certain facilities across the country continue to hamper service performance, we have come together to form a National Joint Task Force on Service Performance to identify and craft solutions to improve service at specific locations within the network. Members of the Joint Task Force will work together on making necessary changes to strengthen service reliability, share best practices and stay vigilant to any emerging issues. The National Task Force will also ensure resources are allocated, lines of communication are open and concerns that are not resolved locally are escalated quickly. Maintaining strong service performance is a process, not a destination; through weather, natural disasters and a holiday season in the midst of a pandemic. Mail never stops flowing through our system. If bottlenecks occur it can have a cascading impact on the network. Addressing issues early can make all the difference.” The National Task Force held their first meeting on March 22.
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FedEx Corp. Reports Strong Third Quarter Results

“I’m exceedingly proud of our FedEx team members, who are moving the world forward through the delivery of COVID-19 vaccines — the most important work in the history of FedEx,” said Frederick W. Smith, FedEx Corp. chairman and chief executive officer. “As reflected in this quarter’s results, continued execution of our strategies is producing strong earnings growth and margin improvement across our company. We expect demand for our unmatched e-commerce and international express solutions to remain very high for the foreseeable future.” Operating results increased primarily due to strong volume growth in U.S. domestic residential package and FedEx International Priority services and pricing initiatives across all transportation segments. These factors were partially offset by costs to support strong demand and expand services, variable compensation expense, higher labor rates, and one fewer operating weekday.
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Overall USPS Mail Delivery Performance Recovers from Severe Winter Storms; Peak Holiday Demand

The United States Postal Service announced strong improvements in mail delivery service performance across all categories and regions as its third-party- operated air network and mail and package processing and delivery operations continued to stabilize from a historic peak holiday season and severe February storms throughout the country. For the week of March 6 through March 12, 2021, overall service performance recovered to pre-holiday levels with First-Class Mail reaching 83.69 percent of the Post Service’s national performance standard of one-to-three-day delivery. Mailing of Marketing Materials (90.84 percent) and Periodicals (77.64 percent) rebounded to levels of service performance on par with Postal Service deliveries before last year’s record-breaking peak holiday season, from mid-November through mid-January.
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Association of American Publishers Comments on American Booksellers Association Whitepaper, “American Monopoly: Amazon’s Anti-Competitive Behavior is in Violation of Antitrust Laws”

The following is a statement from Maria A. Pallante, President and CEO, Association of American Publishers: “The American Booksellers Association newly released whitepaper, American Monopoly: Amazon’s Anti-Competitive Behavior is in Violation of Antitrust Laws, provides a clear outline of the longstanding, anti-competitive behavior that has enabled Amazon to gain a dominant position in the publishing industry. As AAP noted in comments filed with the FTC in 2019, the fact is that no publisher can avoid distributing through Amazon and, for all intents and purposes, Amazon dictates the economic terms, with publishers paying more for Amazon’s services each year and receiving less in return. At the same time Amazon’s approach to its bookstore enables widespread counterfeiting, defective products, and fake reviews that both degrade the consumer experience and diminish the incentives of authors and publishers to create new works and bring them to the marketplace. We thank the American Booksellers Association for making a clear, concise, and powerful case for government officials to step in quickly and decisively to exercise corrective measures and appropriate governance of this dominant platform.”
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Unit Sales of Print Books Soared 36.5% Last Week (publishersweekly.com)

Unit sales of print books hit a new high for the week ended March 13, 2021, compared to the similar week in 2020. According to NPD BookScan, units jumped 36.5% last week over the week ended March 14, 2020. A portion of the gain was due to some weakness in 2020 caused by the early impact of the pandemic; unit sales fell 6.2% compared to the similar week in 2019. But, for the most part, the unit sales gain was driven by continued solid demand for print books. Large unit gains, as has been the case for most of 2021, occurred in all the major segments, and the increase was also helped by the release of two adult nonfiction books that hit the top two slots on the overall bestseller list. Nicole Lepera’s How to Do the Work was #1, selling more than 53,000 copies, while Dana Perino’s Everything Will Be Okay was second, selling nearly 51,000 copies. A third new nonfiction title also had a solid first week, with The Code Breaker by Walter Isaacson landing in fifth place on the overall list, selling over 41,000 copies. Overall, print unit adult nonfiction sales increased 27.6% over the comparable week in 2020.
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S&P Global Affirms Net-Zero Commitment by Endorsing ‘Say on Climate’ Initiative

S&P Global announced its support for the principles outlined in the Say on Climate initiative, reinforcing the Company's existing pledges to support the transition to a global net-zero economy. The initiative is a disclosure-based plan focused on emissions with the goal of advocating for sustainable business practices and corporate climate action plans. It will be presented to shareholders for a vote in S&P Global's 2021 and 2022 proxy statements. "Say on Climate's principles complement our belief in the importance of transparency and disclosure as well as the market-leading steps we have taken towards becoming net-zero by 2040," said Ewout Steenbergen,Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of S&P Global. "We are working collaboratively with organizations in the private, public and nonprofit sectors to ensure that S&P Global meets our science-based targets and emissions reductions goals."
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Bookstore Sales Fell 16.6% in January (publishersweekly.com)

Bookstore sales fell 16.6% in January compared to the first month of 2020, according to preliminary estimates released by the U.S. Census Bureau. Sales in the month were $797 million, down from $956 million in January 2020. The 16.6% drop was only a slight increase over the 15% decline bookstore sales posted in December compared to December 2019, and is another sign that sales declines could be levelling off. February is typically the slowest month for bookstore sales—in 2020, sales in the month were $573 million—and last year's sales began to tank in March as the pandemic set in. Bookstore sales finished 2020 with a 28% decline compared to 2019.
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News Corp and Facebook Reach Agreement in Australia

News Corp announced that it has reached a multi-year agreement to provide access to trusted news and information to millions of Facebook users in Australia through its Facebook News product. The agreement involves News Corp Australia and includes The Australian national newspaper, the news.com.au news site, major metropolitan mastheads like The Daily Telegraph in New South Wales, Herald Sun in Victoria and The Courier-Mail in Queensland and regional and community publications. In parallel Sky News Australia has also reached a new agreement with Facebook which extends and significantly builds on an existing arrangement. The three-year deal follows an agreement reached in October, 2019 in which News Corp publications in the United States receive payments in exchange for access to additional stories for Facebook News.
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S&P Global Shareholders Overwhelmingly Approve Proposed Merger with IHS Markit

S&P Global announced that its shareholders overwhelmingly voted to approve the Company's proposed transaction with IHS Markit at a special meeting of the Company's shareholders. Approximately 99% of votes cast were in favor of the transaction. "We are pleased with the strong support of our shareholders for our planned combination with IHS Markit," said Douglas Peterson, President and Chief Executive Officer of S&P Global. "Today's shareholder approval is an important milestone in the process of bringing together our two world-class organizations to continue building on our respective strengths in information, data science, research and benchmarks. We are confident we will drive meaningful growth and create value for our customers, employees, shareholders and other stakeholders as one company."
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Consumer sentiment rises to highest level in a year (chainstoreage.com)

Consumers’ spirits are getting a boost from the anticipation of COVID-19 stimulus checks and the growing number of vaccinations. The initial reading of consumer sentiment rose to 83 in early March from 76.8 in February according to an index produced by the University of Michigan. It was the index’s highest level in a year. “The gains were widespread across all socioeconomic subgroups and all regions, although the largest monthly gains were concentrated among households in the bottom third of the income distribution as well as those aged 55 or older,” said Richard Curtin, chief economist, Surveys of Consumers, University of Michigan.
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March Starts with 34% Pop in Print Unit Sales (publishersweekly.com)

Fueled by huge gains for a host of Dr. Seuss titles, as well as solid results for several new books, unit sales of print books soared 34.2% in the week ended Mar. 6, 2021, over the comparable week in 2020, at outlets that report to NPD BookScan. Unit sales jumped 57.9% in juvenile fiction over the week ended Mar. 8, 2020, as Dr. Seuss titles took eight of the top 10 spots on the category list. The Cat in the Hat led the way, selling about 105,000 copies in the week, compared to 22,000 copies in the first week of March last year. Green Eggs and Ham followed, selling about 90,000 copies, trailed by One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish (88,000); Oh, the Places You’ll Go! (74,000); and Fox in Socks (64,000). Interest in these books was heightened by the announcement by Dr. Seuss Enterprises that it will stop printing six other Dr. Seuss titles written between 1937 and 1976 because of concerns that they “portray people in ways that are hurtful and wrong.”
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Ulta Beauty Announces Fourth Quarter Fiscal 2020 Results

For the Fourth Quarter of Fiscal 2020 *Net sales decreased 4.6% to $2.2 billion compared to $2.3 billion in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2019 due to the impact of COVID-19. *Operating income decreased to $224.3 million, or 10.2% of net sales, compared to $287.8 million, or 12.5% of net sales, in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2019. Adjusted operating income was $254.7 million, or 11.6% of net sales. *Net income was $171.5 million compared to $222.7 million in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2019. Adjusted net income was $193.4 million compared to $219.5 million in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2019. For the Full Year of Fiscal 2020 *Net sales decreased 16.8% to $6.2 billion compared to $7.4 billion in fiscal 2019 due to the impact of COVID-19. *Operating income decreased to $236.8 million, or 3.9% of net sales, compared to $901.1 million, or 12.1% of net sales, in fiscal 2019. Adjusted operating income was $352.5 million, or 5.7% of net sales. *Net income was $175.8 million compared to $705.9 million in fiscal 2019. Adjusted net income was $264.0 million compared to $688.3 million in fiscal 2019.
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Ulta Beauty Announces CEO Transition

Following a thorough succession planning process, the company announced leadership changes to drive continuity and continued momentum, all effective in June. Dave Kimbell, president, will succeed Mary Dillon as chief executive officer and will be nominated to stand for election to the company’s board of directors at the 2021 annual stockholders meeting. Dillon will transition to the role of executive chair of the board of directors. Kecia Steelman, currently chief store operations officer, will be elevated to the role of chief operating officer.
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Tilly’s, Inc. Announces Fiscal 2020 Fourth Quarter and Full Year Results

Fiscal 2020 Fourth Quarter Results Overview *Total net sales were $177.9 million, an increase of $5.4 million or 3.2%, compared to $172.5 million last year. Total comparable net sales, including both physical stores and e-commerce, increased by 2.5% compared to last year. *Operating income was $14.1 million, or 7.9% of net sales, compared to $8.5 million, or 4.9% of net sales, last year. The $5.6 million increase in operating income was primarily due to the combined impact of the factors noted above. Fiscal 2020 Full Year Results Overview *Total net sales were $531.3 million, a decrease of $88.0 million or 14.2%, compared to $619.3 million last year primarily as a result of the various periods of store closures, reduced store operating hours, and restrictions on customer traffic into physical stores resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. *Operating loss was $(3.0) million, or (0.6)% of net sales, compared to operating income of $28.5 million, or 4.6% of net sales, last year. The decrease in operating results was primarily attributable to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Company's business as noted above.
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Why You Should Start Sending Postcards Again — Even If You’re Not Traveling (travelandleisure.com)

Ah, the age old practice of letter writing. If you're a fan of putting pen to page, there's also a good chance you also enjoy sending postcards home whenever you travel. It might be a while before you can send postcards from far off places again, but that doesn't mean you can't keep in touch with friends and family via snail mail in the meantime, as many us remain separated by the pandemic. With that, I'm here to sing the praises of sending your loved ones postcards and greeting cards, both the artistic and the playful, whether it's to celebrate an occasion or just because. And luckily, there's no shortage of beautiful cards available to buy online. Although the pandemic has been lonely at times, it has inspired me to send more mail. In fact, I'd say that one of the best things I've done during the pandemic is starting to write to a pen pal. These days, the excitement of opening my mailbox to find a letter from a friend or note from my pen pal brings me joy in ways I might not have appreciated pre-pandemic.
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Kohl’s Updates Investor Presentation Highlighting Progress on Strategy and Plans to Drive Continued Momentum

Kohl’s Corporation released an updated investor presentation detailing progress on its strategy and initiatives to drive continued momentum. The presentation also provides an overview of the capabilities and skills of the Kohl’s Board of Directors and a comparison to the slate put forward by Macellum Advisors GP, LLC, Legion Partners Holdings, LLC, Ancora Advisors, LLC, and 4010 Capital, LLC which seek control of Kohl’s. Highlights of the presentation include: Well-positioned in a retail industry undergoing profound change: *Kohl’s strengthened its financial and competitive position during a period of profound change in the retail industry. *The Company’s investments in omnichannel and operations helped Kohl’s successfully navigate the pandemic. *Kohl’s continues to actively and thoughtfully strengthen its foundation to differentiate itself and support future growth.
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Barnes & Noble Education Sees More Losses in Q3 (publishersweekly.com)

Barnes & Noble Education continues to face tough times due to the pandemic, with the significantly reduced number of students on campus colleges leading to lower sales at its stores. The company reported sales for the third quarter ended December 31, 2020, of $411.6 million, down 18.1% compared to the previous year. The company saw a net loss of $48.3 million, up dramatically from a net loss of $1.7 million in the same period in 2019. In retail, the company's largest division, sales in the third quarter dropped to $70.3 million, down 15.5% compared with the prior year. Comparable store sales fell 19.9% for the quarter, with comparable textbook sales declining 8.1% and merchandise down 45.8%. Sales in the wholesale division were $39.5 million for the quarter, down 41.1% compared with the previous year.
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HH Global: Delivering the next phase of growth

Following the successful acquisition of InnerWorkings in October 2020, HH Global is poised to deliver the next phase of growth. As such today Robert MacMillan announced the new executive leadership team effective from 1 April 2021: Board of Directors: Robert MacMillan as Executive Chairman; Mike Perez as Group CEO; Edward Parsons as Chief of Staff to the Chairman; Kristian Elgey as Interim Group CFO and Chief Commercial Officer; Steve Nunn and Craig Bingon as Non-Executive Directors. In addition, Raphael de Botton and Amer Khatoun - representatives from investor partners Blackstone - continue to sit on the Board of Directors. Group Management Board: Alan Bittle as Regional CEO, APAC; Nadia Pelekanos as Regional CEO, Central Europe, India, Middle East & Africa; Michael Keen as Regional CEO, Europe; Scott Martin as Regional CEO, Americas; Helen Babbe as Chief of Staff to the CEO; Kristian Elgey as Interim CFO and Chief Commercial Officer; Jason Hanavan as CFO, Americas; Lee Humphreys as CEO of Digital; Kevin Dunckley as Chief Sustainability Officer.
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Pearson’s 2020 Full Year Results

In 2020, sales decreased by £472m in headline terms to £3,397m (2019: £3,869m) with underlying performance reducing sales by £386m, portfolio changes reducing sales by £55m and currency movements decreasing revenue by £31m. Stripping out the impact of portfolio and currency movements, revenue was down 10% in underlying terms. Our statutory operating profit was £411m in 2020 compared to a profit of £275m in 2019. The increase in 2020 is largely due to the gain on sale of PRH and the reduction in restructuring costs, which were more than enough to offset the impact of COVID-19 and portfolio changes on trading profits. Net debt to adjusted EBITDA was 0.8x (2019: 1.3x). Net debt reduced from £1,016m in 2019 to £463m at the end of 2020. Excluding leases, net debt reduced from £374m in 2019 to net cash of £159m in 2020.
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Tribune Publishing Revenue Drops, Losses Rise In 2020 (mediapost.com)

Tribune Publishing Company, which is now in the process of being acquired by Alden Global Capital, increased its digital revenue by 57%, or $16.5 million, in 2020 YoY, and the number of its digital-only subscribers by 30.5% to 436,000. But those gains only partly offset an overall revenue decline to $746 million, versus $945 million in 2019, and a loss from continuing operations of $46.8 million, up from $7.1 million in the prior year, according to financial results released on Thursday. The overall hit was also mitigated, in part, by a 14.5% reduction in operating expenses, or $138.1 million.
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Why a successful digital-first brand from Hearst is exploring print (whatsnewinpublishing.com)

A successful digital-first brand from Hearst that has seen immeasurable growth with not only its website, but its printed bookazines and cookbooks, Delish.com is launching a quarterly print magazine. Delish in print will be sold at the newsstands, but will also be an integral part of the subscription model the brand has in place for its online footprint. An all-access subscription of $20 annually will not only get you everything online, but also the 96 page (plus covers) printed magazine as part of the memebership. Dan Fuchs, formerly of HGTV magazine and O, The Oprah Magazine, is the VP/Chief Revenue Officer of the new quarterly print publication. I spoke with Dan recently and we talked about this exciting new venture into the world of print for a digital-only entity. Dan said it’s an exhilarating time for a brand that has been successful online and in the world of print, with its special bookazines and cookbooks, to have a quarterly magazine coming out in print. Opportunities and more growth will surely follow. And with Editorial Director, Joanna Saltz, as his partner, Dan is looking forward to the future of Delish in all its exciting extensions.
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Costco Wholesale Corporation Reports Second Quarter and Year-to-Date Operating Results for Fiscal 2021 and February Sales Results

Net sales for the quarter increased 14.7 percent, to $43.89 billion, from $38.26 billion last year. Net sales for the first 24 weeks increased 15.8 percent, to $86.23 billion, from $74.49 billion last year. Net income for the quarter was $951 million, or $2.14 per diluted share, which includes $246 million pretax, or $0.41 per diluted share, in costs incurred primarily from COVID-19 premium wages. Last year’s second quarter net income was $931 million, or $2.10 per diluted share. Net income for the first 24 weeks was $2.12 billion, or $4.76 per diluted share, compared to $1.77 billion, or $4.00 per diluted share, last year. For the four-week reporting month of February, ended February 28, 2021, the Company reported net sales of $14.05 billion, an increase of 15.2 percent from $12.20 billion last year. For the twenty-six week period ended February 28, 2021, net sales were $93.16 billion, an increase of 15.4 percent from $80.76 billion last year.
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Wiley Reports Third Quarter Fiscal 2021 Results

*Research Publishing & Platforms rose 3% as reported and 1% at constant currency, with strong growth in open access and inorganic contributions from acquisitions offsetting anticipated subscription revenue pressure. *Academic & Professional Learning declined 2% as reported and 4% at constant currency mainly due to COVID-19 impact on test prep and in-person corporate training, and a decline in print book revenue, which offset continued growth in digital content and courseware. *Education Services increased 25% as reported and 24% at constant currency, driven by organic revenue growth of 13% from strong online enrollment and new student starts, and the two-month inorganic contribution from mthree (+$8 million). *GAAP EPS of $0.39 declined from $0.63 in the prior year, reflecting restructuring charges of $0.28 per share, primarily related to a previously disclosed reduction in Wiley’s real estate footprint.
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Backlist Drives Print Book Unit Gains Higher Through February (publishersweekly.com)

Driven by strong backlist sales, unit sales of print books rose 26% last week over the week ended February 29, 2020, at outlets that report to NPD BookScan. It was the largest week-over-week gain compared to 2020 so far this year, helping unit sales finish the first two months of 2021 with a 21.2% increase over the first two months of 2020. Last week’s 26% increase was accomplished without the release of a major new hit. The top-selling new book last week was Believe It by Jamie Kern Lima, which sold 29,000 copies, landing it in third place on the overall bestseller list. The top title last week was Charlie Mackesy’s The Boy, the Mole, the Fox, and the Horse, published in October 2019, which had a huge sales spike in the week, selling nearly 97,000 copies.
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U.S. Postal Service Announces Next Phase of Organizational Changes Begun in August 2020

Postmaster General and CEO Louis DeJoy today provided details of the next phase of organizational changes he first announced in August 2020, designed to improve efficiency, drive success and better serve Postal Service customers. The next phase of these organizational changes includes the following: *District Consolidation Plan: The existing 67 Postal Service Districts will be consolidated to 50 Districts. New District territories will closely align to state boundaries. *Centralization of Marketing functions: The Marketing functions previously performed at the Area and District levels will be centralized into the Chief Customer and Marketing organization, including Consumer and Industry Affairs and the Bulk Mail Entry Units (BMEUs). *Realignment of Logistics and Processing Operations: To ensure alignment with Retail and Delivery Operations, and Logistics and Processing Operations, a thirteenth division will be created. Processing operations is organized into 2 regions, each geographically aligned with two retail and delivery areas; and divided into 6 or 7 divisions for a total of 13 divisions.
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URBN Reports Q4 Results

Urban Outfitters, Inc. announced net income of $29 million and $1 million for the three months and year ended January 31, 2021, respectively. Total Company net sales for the three months ended January 31, 2021, decreased 6.9% over the same period last year to $1.09 billion. Comparable Retail segment net sales decreased 7% due to negative retail store net sales as stronger conversion rates could not offset the reduced store traffic caused by the coronavirus pandemic and related occupancy restrictions. Lower store net sales were partially offset by strong double-digit growth in digital channel sales. By brand, comparable Retail segment net sales increased 6% at Free People and decreased 6% at Urban Outfitters and 11% at the Anthropologie Group. Wholesale segment net sales decreased 7%. For the year ended January 31, 2021, total Company net sales decreased 13.4% over the same period last year. Comparable Retail segment net sales decreased 11%, driven by negative retail store net sales due to mandated store closures as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and lower store productivity once opened, partially offset by strong double-digit growth in digital channel sales. Wholesale segment net sales decreased 40%.
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Nordstrom Reports Fourth Quarter 2020 Earnings

Fourth Quarter Summary: •Total Company net sales decreased 20 percent compared with the same period in fiscal 2019, slightly exceeding Company expectations for a low-twenties percentage decrease. •Digital sales increased 24 percent compared with the same period in fiscal 2019 and represented 54 percent of the business. •Top performing merchandise categories included home, active and beauty. •For the Nordstrom brand, net sales decreased 19 percent compared with the same period in fiscal 2019. For the Nordstrom Rack brand, net sales decreased 23 percent. •Gross profit, as a percentage of net sales, of 33 percent decreased 160 basis points compared with the same period in fiscal 2019, primarily due to deleverage from lower sales volume and higher markdowns, partially offset by planned expense savings.
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Chico’s FAS, Inc. Reports Fourth Quarter and Fiscal Year 2020 Results

For the fourth quarter, the Company reported a net loss of $79.1 million, compared to a net loss of $4.3 million, for the thirteen weeks ended February 1, 2020 ("last year's fourth quarter"). The fourth quarter net loss includes $35.9 million, in significant after-tax non-cash charges, including a deferred tax asset valuation allowance of $32.1 million, within the Company's income tax provision (benefit). See tabular details in the Summary of Significant Non-Cash Charges table below for further details. Last year's fourth quarter includes after-tax accelerated depreciation charges of $0.8 million. For fiscal 2020, the Company reported a net loss of $360.1 million, compared to a net loss of $12.8 million, for the fifty-two weeks ended February 1, 2020 ("fiscal 2019"). The net loss for fiscal 2020 includes $199.6 million, in significant after-tax non-cash charges. See tabular details in the Summary of Significant Non-Cash Charges table below for further details. The net loss for fiscal 2019 includes after-tax accelerated depreciation charges of $8.1 million, and the after-tax impact of severance and other related net charges of $2.1 million.
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Target Corporation Reports Fourth Quarter and Full-Year 2020 Earnings

The Company's total comparable sales grew 20.5 percent in the fourth quarter, reflecting comparable stores sales growth of 6.9 percent and digital sales growth of 118 percent. Total revenue of $28.3 billion grew 21.1 percent compared with last year, driven by sales growth of 21.0 percent and a 28.7 percent increase in other revenue. Operating income was $1.8 billion in fourth quarter 2020, up 53.2 percent from $1.2 billion in 2019. Full-year sales increased 19.8 percent to $92.4 billion from $77.1 billion last year, reflecting a 19.3 percent increase in comparable sales combined with sales from non-mature stores. Full-year revenue of $93.6 billion grew 19.8 percent compared with 2019, reflecting sales growth of 19.8 percent and an 18.2 percent increase in other revenue.
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Abercrombie & Fitch Co. Reports Fourth Quarter and Full Year Results

*Net sales of $1.1 billion down 5% as compared to last year, reflecting the adverse impact of COVID-19. *Digital net sales increased 34% to $639 million reflecting robust growth in every month of the quarter. *Gross profit rate improved 230 basis points to 60.5% on higher average unit retail and slightly lower average unit cost. *Operating income of $116 million and $131 million on a reported and adjusted non-GAAP basis, respectively, as compared to $122 million and $125 million last year, on a reported and adjusted non-GAAP basis, respectively. A summary of results for the full year ended January 30, 2021 as compared to the full year ended February 1, 2020: *Net sales of $3.1 billion down 14% as compared to last year, reflecting the adverse impact of COVID-19. *Digital net sales increased 39% to approximately $1.7 billion. *Gross profit rate improved by 110 basis points to 60.5% on higher average unit retail and flat average unit cost. *Operating loss of $20 million and operating income of $52 million on a reported and adjusted non-GAAP basis, respectively. This compares to operating income last year of $70 million and $83 million on a reported and adjusted non-GAAP basis, respectively.
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Consumer Spending On Media Soared, While Ad Spending Collapsed in 2020 (mediapost.com)

As far as the media marketplace goes, 2020 was a tale of two economies. While advertising and marketing spending experienced one of its worst years after -- decline 7.1% in the U.S. and 6.8% worldwide -- consumer spending on media actually soared, rising 5.6% and 6.1%, respectively. That's the finding of a MediaPost analysis of two reports released by media industry economists PQ Media, including today's "Consumer Spending On Media" report, and November 2020's Advertising & Marketing Spending Forecast. While the comparisons are not exactly apples-to-oranges, because of the ways PQ categories consumer media, they offer some directional insights on where the economic engines of the media industry are last year, now and for the years ahead.
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Gap Inc. Donates 3.5 Million Masks and Face Coverings

With the help of our trusted non-profit partners, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Good360 and others, Gap Inc.’s portfolio of purpose-led lifestyle brands are sending 3.5 million masks and face coverings to non-profit community organizations serving those with the greatest needs across the U.S. ​Last month, Old Navy donated 1 million masks to Boys & Girls Clubs of America, one of the brand’s longtime nonprofit partners, to support local Clubs as they continue to provide safe spaces for kids and teens. Old Navy is committed to serving American families in need and will now provide an additional 1 million masks to Baby2Baby, local This Way ONward partners, and Boys & Girls Clubs of America to further reach underserved communities. Through The Imagine Mission, Old Navy is working to create a better future for future generations.
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Print Units Rose 10.9% in Mid-February (publishersweekly.com)

Unit sales of print books rose 10.9% in the week ended Feb. 20, 2021, over the comparable week in 2020, at outlets that report to NPD BookScan. The adult fiction category had a solid week, with unit sales up 20.5% over the week ended Feb. 22, 2020. A Court of Silver Flames by Sarah J. Maas was the top title, selling nearly 95,000 copies in its first week. In second and third place on the adult fiction list were two Kristin Hannah titles: The Four Winds, which sold more than 46,000 copies, and Firefly Lane, which sold more than 20,000 copies. YA fiction print unit sales jumped 47.7% over 2020, as E. Lockhart’s We Were Liars remained #1 on the category list, selling more than 15,000 copies. Adam Silvera’s They Both Die at the End was second, selling just over 11,000 copies. Stamped by Jason Reynolds continued to lead the YA nonfiction list as the category posted a 55.4% increase over 2020.
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ACMA: Please Take Brief Poll on Your Use of the Mail – USPS Postcards

Dear Industry Member: The Postal Service is conducting a survey on the potential use of a larger size First Class Mail postcard and has asked ACMA and others to pass it on to our industries. The USPS says your feedback “will provide great insights for us to consider during the decision-making process.” SURVEY LINK: https://uspsci.allegiancetech.com/cgi-bin/qwebcorporate.dll?idx=F38Y58 The survey began February 24th and will remain open until Wednesday, March 10th.
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AAP December 2020 StatShot Report

The Association of American Publishers (AAP) today released its StatShot report for December 2020 reflecting reported revenue for all tracked categories, including Trade (Consumer Books), K-12 Instructional Materials, Higher Education Course Materials, Professional Publishing, and University Presses. Total revenues across all categories for December 2020 were down 8.5% as compared to December 2019, coming in at $1.1 billion. Year-to-date sales were flat, with an increase of 0.1% as compared to calendar 2019, with a total of $14.8 billion. Trade (Consumer Books) sales were up 9.5% in December, coming in at $796.1 million. For January-December 2020 Trade sales were up 9.7% as compared to the same period last year, coming in at $8.6 billion. In terms of physical paper format revenues during the month of December, in the Trade (Consumer Books) category, Hardback revenues were up 14.2%, coming in at $312.5 million; Paperbacks were up 2.4%, with $248.1 million in revenue; Mass Market was down 1.6% to $25.9 million; and Board Books were up 6.2%, with $16.7 million in revenue.
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Trade Publishing Segment Shines in a Flat 2020 (publishersweekly.com)

In a result no one in publishing would have predicted last spring when Covid-19 first hit the U.S., book publishing sales finished 2020 flat with 2019 based on year-end figures supplied by 1,354 publishers to AAP’s StatShot program. The two major trade categories, adult books and children/young adult, had gains of 12% and 6.4%, respectively, while the two big educational segments saw declines. With many public schools teaching remotely for long stretches of last year, sales of K-12 instructional materials fell 19.6% in 2020 compared to 2019. Sales of higher educational course materials declined 4.3% last year as many colleges and university turned to hybrid instruction, which changed buying habits by students.
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Greater Resources Required to Mount an Aggressive Fight to Overturn Postal Rate Hike

Dear Industry Executive: We have heard from some companies about their willingness to underwrite our strong opposition to the PRC’s granting of additional rate authority to the US Postal Service. We still need additional funding. Otherwise, we’re in for draconian rate hikes throughout the next decade that could push all of us out of the mail. What Your Pledge Will Help Us Do: 1. A branded digital campaign to activate and engage catalog merchants, industry employees, suppliers, and the millions of catalog shoppers who rely on and benefit from our industry. We will launch a simple constituent outreach tool for widespread use to motivate elected officials with template-driven email and text tools. The tool will also provide all details, op-eds and other materials to both whip up support and be an online destination that will drive pick-ups, retweets and interest beyond catalog-only interests. 2. Aided by the digital campaign, an aggressive effort to convince lawmakers in Washington to pass sensible postal reform legislation that addresses the massive congressionally-imposed cost overhangs that plague the postal system and are the causal factor in the PRC’s ruling. 3. File a lawsuit in the US Court of Appeals challenging the Postal Regulatory Commission’s (PRC) overreach that clearly exceeds its authority to make such sweeping and fundamental changes to the rate-setting system.
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L Brands Reports Record Fourth Quarter 2020 Results

Full-year operating income was $1.580 billion compared to $258.4 million last year, and net income was $844.5 million compared to a net loss of $366.4 million last year. Net sales were $11.847 billion for the year ended Jan. 30, 2021, compared to $12.914 billion for the year ended Feb. 1, 2020. Comparable sales for the full year increased 21 percent, consisting of a 45 percent increase at Bath & Body Works and a 1 percent increase at Victoria’s Secret. Full year 2020 sales in the direct channel increased 109 percent at Bath & Body Works and 31 percent at Victoria’s Secret.
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Best Buy Reports Fourth Quarter Results

Domestic Segment Q4 FY21 Results: Domestic revenue of $15.40 billion increased 11.2% versus last year. Domestic GAAP gross profit rate was 20.9% versus 21.2% last year. International Segment Q4 FY21 Results: International revenue of $1.54 billion increased 14.0% versus last year. International GAAP gross profit rate was 21.6% versus 22.6% last year.
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Gannett Announces Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2020 Results

Fourth Quarter 2020 Consolidated Results • Fourth quarter revenues of $875.4 million rose 25.2% as compared to the prior year quarter reflecting the acquisition of Legacy Gannett. ◦ Same store pro forma revenues (as defined and reconciled on Table No. 5 below) decreased 16.3%, due to unfavorable impacts resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic and general trends adversely impacting the publishing industry. This is an improvement of 330 basis points over the third quarter 2020 trend. • Digital advertising and marketing services revenues reached $223.3 million in the fourth quarter, or 25.5% of total revenues. • Net loss attributable to Gannett of $122.2 million in the fourth quarter reflects a $74.3 million non-cash loss on the derivative associated with our convertible notes and a $42.1 million loss associated with the early extinguishment of debt.
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Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Announces Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2020 Results

Q4 2020 Headlines: HMH achieved 2020 billings at the top end of its revised guidance range and positive free cash flow, outperforming its revised guidance range for 2020. Additionally: *Continued momentum with SaaS billings growth of 142% and digital platform user growth of 306% for full year 2020 *Annualized Recurring Revenue (ARR) 1 of $58 million in 2020; HMH will report its Net Retention Rate (NRR) beginning in the first quarter of 2021 *Connected Sales1 made up 50% of Education segment billings in 2020. Full year 2020 Financial Results: Net Sales: HMH reported net sales of $1,031 million for the full year of 2020, down 26% compared to $1,391 million in 2019. Billings1: Billings for 2020 decreased $502 million, or 32%, from 2019. Net Loss: Net loss of $480 million for 2020 was a $266 million unfavorable change from the net loss of $214 million in 2019, due primarily to the same factors impacting operating loss.
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U.S. Postal Service Awards Contract to Launch Multi-Billion-Dollar Modernization of Postal Delivery Vehicle Fleet

The U.S. Postal Service announced it awarded a 10-year contract to Oshkosh, WI, based Oshkosh Defense, to manufacture a new generation of U.S.-built postal delivery vehicles that will drive the most dramatic modernization of the USPS fleet in three decades. The historic investment is part of a soon-to-be-released plan the Postal Service has developed to transform its financial performance and customer service over the next 10 years through significant investments in people, technology and infrastructure as it seeks to become the preferred delivery service provider for the American public. Under the contract’s initial $482 million investment, Oshkosh Defense will finalize the production design of the Next Generation Delivery Vehicle (NGDV) — a purpose-built, right-hand-drive vehicle for mail and package delivery — and will assemble 50,000 to 165,000 of them over 10 years. The vehicles will be equipped with either fuel-efficient internal combustion engines or battery electric powertrains and can be retrofitted to keep pace with advances in electric vehicle technologies.
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The ODP Corporation Announces Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2020 Results

Fourth Quarter 2020 Summary(1) *Total reported sales of $2.3 billion, down 9% versus last year *GAAP operating income of $21 million and net income of $18 million, or $0.34 per share, versus $74 million and $55 million, respectively in prior year *Operating cash outflow of $4 million and adjusted free cash outflow of $4 million, versus $152 million and $135 million, respectively in prior year *$1.7 billion of total available liquidity including $729 million in cash and cash equivalents.
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Urban Outfitters boosts engagement, sales with digital appointments (chainstoreage.com)

Urban Outfitters has been leveraging the JRNI Appointments solution to deliver personalized customer experiences throughout the pandemic at its Anthropologie and BHLDN brands. Anthropologie and BHLDN have both leveraged the application to support in-store appointments, virtual appointments and email consultations while complying with social distancing requirements. As a result, the brands can provide seamless, personalized experiences to each shopper. Anthropologie and BHLDN have engaged with 25,000 customers since April 2020, with overall transaction volume rising 25%. Customers who booked appointments via the JRNI solution purchased 40% of the time in stores and 65% of the time virtually, delivering higher results than any other channel. For customers, the experience has been seamless. The brands have been able to experiment within the platform with different types of triggers and communications to enhance the customer experience.
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Pocket Outdoor Media acquires Outside Magazine, Outside TV, Gaia GPS, athleteReg, and Peloton Magazine; Rebrands as Outside (snewsnet.com)

There’s seismic news in the media, outdoor, endurance, and tech industries today. Pocket Outdoor Media (parent company to SNEWS, Backpacker, and nearly 30 other active living brands) announced news that will catapult the Boulder-based company into a powerful position in these industries: It has purchased Outside Magazine, Outside TV, Gaia GPS, Peloton Magazine, and athleteReg. Additionally, Pocket Outdoor Media is rebranding to Outside, effective today. “Adding these businesses to our portfolio and rebranding Pocket is a transformative moment for us,” says Robin Thurston, CEO of the all-new Outside. “Together with our other category-leading properties—SKI, Yoga Journal, Backpacker, Trail Runner, VeloNews, Climbing, Warren Miller Entertainment, Roll Massif, FinisherPix, SNEWS, and more—these brands make our new company the world’s leading creator of active living content, experiences, travel, and services. We now deliver content to almost every home in America across every platform, screen, and device.”
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Macy’s, Inc. Reports Fourth Quarter and Full-Year 2020 Results

Fourth Quarter Highlights *Comparable sales down 17.0% on an owned basis and down 17.1% on an owned plus licensed basis, a reflection of the continued challenges posed by the COVID pandemic. *Digital remained a growing and increasingly profitable platform. Sales grew 21% over fourth quarter 2019, with digital penetration at 44% of net sales. *Approximately 25% of Macy’s digital sales were fulfilled from stores, including curbside pickup and same-day delivery. *The company’s Star Rewards Loyalty program saw a 45% increase of its Bronze tier members in 2020, an essential part of its under-40 strategy. *Gross margin for the quarter was 33.7%, down 310 basis points from fourth quarter 2019. *Inventory down 27% from fourth quarter 2019. *Aggressively addressed slow-selling merchandise, reduced excess inventory levels and improved visual presentation in stores. *Exited the year in a healthy inventory position.
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The Home Depot Announces Fourth Quarter and Fiscal 2020 Results

Fourth Quarter 2020: Sales for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2020 were $32.3 billion, an increase of $6.5 billion, or 25.1 percent from the fourth quarter of fiscal 2019. Comparable sales for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2020 increased 24.5 percent, and comparable sales in the U.S. increased 25.0 percent. Net earnings for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2020 were $2.9 billion, compared with net earnings of $2.5 billion, in the same period of fiscal 2019. Fiscal 2020: Sales for fiscal 2020 were $132.1 billion, an increase of $21.9 billion, or 19.9 percent, from fiscal 2019. Comparable sales for fiscal 2020 increased 19.7 percent, and comparable sales in the U.S. increased 20.6 percent. Net earnings for fiscal 2020 were $12.9 billion, compared with net earnings of $11.2 billion in fiscal 2019.
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‘Saveur’ Kills Print Title, ‘Delish’ Starts Quarterly (mediapost.com)

The DIY food publishing sector has witnessed two big developments, reflecting conflicting trends. In one, Saveur has killed its print edition and will now focus on email newsletters and other digital content. Saveur’s editors announced last week that “we’ll no longer be producing Saveur as a quarterly print publication. While we understand this might be disappointing, Saveur has been in print for 27 years, and it feels like the right time to shift our focus to better meet our readers where they are.” Hearst’s Delish is going in the opposite direction: It is producing quarterly print editions, each tapping into a consumer food obsession. The first, Breakfast + Brunch will appear on March 2. They will be offered on newsstands and mailed to Delish’s Unlimited membership subscribers.
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Print Unit Sales Up 21.3% in Mid-February (publishersweekly.com)

For the week ended Feb. 13, 2021, unit sales of print books increased 21.3% over the week ended Feb. 15, 2020, at outlets that report to NPD BookScan. It was the second consecutive week that unit sales rose by more than 20% over the comparable week last year. The increase was accomplished without the benefit of a big new hit and once again reflected strength across all major categories as well as big gains for backlist titles. The YA categories had the strongest gains, with nonfiction unit sales jumping 71.7% and fiction up 49.3% over 2020. Two anti-racist books—Stamped by Jason Reynolds and This Book Is Anti-racist by Tiffany Jewell—led the increase in YA nonfiction. We Were Liars by E. Lockhart topped the YA fiction list, selling almost 12,000 copies. Juvenile fiction sales rose 25.1% over 2020, and Llama, Llama I Love You by Anna Dewdney was #1 on the category list, selling about 38,000 copies.
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