USPS Begins Fiscal First Quarter with Improved First-Class Mail Service

The U.S. Postal Service reported service delivery performance scores for the first week of the fiscal first quarter started in October that showed continued gains across all First-Class, Marketing and Periodical mail categories. For the period Oct. 1 through Oct. 8, first-quarter-to-date service performance included: *First-Class Mail: Delivered 91.0 percent of First-Class Mail on time against the USPS service standard, an improvement of 3 percentage points from the fourth quarter. *Marketing Mail: Delivered 92.8 percent of Marketing Mail on time against the USPS service standard, an improvement of .3 percentage points from the third quarter. *Periodicals: Delivered 84.4 percent of Periodicals on time against the USPS service standard, an improvement of 2.3 percentage points from the third quarter.
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GB Mail, The Mailing Specialist, Partners With Two Sides

The print and paper advocacy group, Two Sides, are excited to announce its newest partner member, the enclosing and mailing experts, GB Mail. Set up in 2017 by Joe Ghadami, Gary Leonard-Pepin and Ben Taheri, the Aylesbury based mailing house specialises in fully automated high-speed paperwrap, polywrap and envelope enclosing. Also located on site is GB Mail’s storage and fulfilment department and digital print room housing eight production presses. “Sustainability is a big part of our company ethos at GB Mail and we are constantly at the forefront of testing eco-friendly innovative mailing options. We are proud to have been one of the first mailing houses in the UK to offer paper-wrapping services. This eco-friendly way to wrap your mailing item is fully recyclable and provides the wow factor. As an environmentally aware business, partnering with Two Sides is the natural next step on our sustainable journey.” says Joseph Ghadami, Managing Director at GB Mail.
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USPS Delays Parcel Service Slowdown (multichannelmerchant.com)

The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) has decided to temporarily suspend a planned reduction in service level standards for First Class package delivery until after the peak holiday season, a week after the Postal Regulatory Commission which oversees it said the plan “lacked demonstrable evidence.” The proposed changes called for adding 1-2 days to the service level standard for about 31.2% of First Class package volume, while shorting it by about a day for approximately 4.8% percent of the volume, according to the PRC. “In light of the ongoing environment caused by COVID-19 and the rise of the Delta variant affecting our customers, the implementation date for the revised service standards for First-Class Package Service will be announced after the holiday shipping season” the USPS said in a statement.
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Walgreens Boots Alliance Reports Fiscal Year 2021 Earnings

Fiscal 2021 sales from continuing operations increased 8.6 percent from the year-ago period to $132.5 billion, up 7.5 percent on a constant currency basis1. Operating income from continuing operations in fiscal 2021 increased to $2.3 billion compared with $982 million in the year-ago period. Net earnings from continuing operations were $2.0 billion, compared with $180 million in the year-ago period, reflecting non-cash impairment charges in the year-ago period, strong growth across both segments, and earnings from the company's equity method investment related to Option Care Health.
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HH Global are the runners up for the Profit for Purpose award at the World Sustainability Awards 2021

HH Global would like to extend our warmest congratulations to the winners of the inaugural Profit with Purpose Award at the 2021 World Sustainability Awards today, Smithfield Foods. We are incredibly honoured to have been selected as a finalist for one of these twelve prestigious awards, which honour those who have shown outstanding corporate and social sustainability practices and ultimately encourage other businesses to follow suit. The Profit with Purpose Award commends companies for ensuring business growth is driven by a mission to achieve both social and environmental sustainability, by channeling innovations, focus and profits into these areas.
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USPS – New for the Holidays: Prices, Shipping Rates and Dates

It looks to be another odd year for holiday celebrations. The biggest question likely on most minds is, do we make merry in person or virtually? No matter your plans, the Postal Service is ready to do its part to handle your special holiday greetings and gifts. But we also need you to do your part, and that is to make sure you get those packages and good wishes to your Post Office location on time. There are plenty of holiday- and winter- themed stamps available to adorn your greeting cards this year. You can find them in our online Postal Store or at any one of our more than 34,000 Post Office locations. As a reminder, on Aug. 29, the cost of a First-Class Forever stamp increased three cents, from 55 cents to 58 cents. There are also temporary price increases in place through Dec. 26, 12:01 a.m., Central time for both retail and business customers for some of our more popular shipping products, which also includes military shipping — Priority Mail Express (PME), Priority Mail (PM), First-Class Package Service (FCPS), Parcel Select, USPS Retail Ground, and Parcel Return Service. International products are unaffected. These temporary rates will keep the Postal Service competitive while providing the agency with the revenue to cover extra costs in anticipation of peak-season volume surges similar to levels experienced in 2020.
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The Latest Case Study on the Need for Paper Options: Expiration of Critical Security Software Cripples Communications (keepmepostedna.org)

On October 1, a critical piece of code used on over 2 billion websites to safeguard security expired. Companies large and small were disrupted. And untold millions of consumers around the globe that do not have the latest and greatest digital devices suddenly could not access the sites they wanted or needed to. The quiet sunsetting of the Let’s Encrypt security certificate is still wreaking havoc because it is the most widely used piece of code authorizing access to secure websites. Consumers are finding that their desktop, mobile, Mac, Windows, Android and other systems and devices cannot connect to many websites using the HTTPS security protocol if their personal tech is more than a few years old and not running the latest operating systems. For the fortunate, they will only have the hassles of updating and upgrading – but many will now be forced to buy new technology. This same issue has occurred on a smaller scaler with lesser used security certificates, and has the potential to reemerge as other certificates expire. This is a critical matter for consumers who already have been demanding the option of paper correspondence mailed to them by their service providers. Why? Because it is these same service providers, including banks and financial services institutions, insurance companies, healthcare providers, telecoms and utilities that are the most likely to use the secure internet protocols, and valid security certificates are necessary for accessing private, personal account information.
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IAC’s Dotdash to Acquire Meredith Corporation’s National Media Group

IAC and Meredith Corporation announced their entry into an agreement pursuant to which IAC’s Dotdash digital publishing unit will acquire the entity that will hold Meredith Corporation's National Media Group, which is comprised of its Digital and Magazine businesses, and its corporate operations (“Meredith”), in an all cash transaction at a purchase price of $42.18 per share. The transaction combines the power of Dotdash’s digital publishing model with Meredith’s trusted, iconic brand portfolio, loyal audience and scale. The combined company, to be called Dotdash Meredith and led by Dotdash CEO Neil Vogel, is expected to be one of the largest publishers in America with leading brands across the highest value commercial categories online, including home, health, food, finance, parenting, and beauty. The transaction is expected to close by the end of the year. “The Meredith family is extremely proud of everything the company has achieved over the past 120 years, which is a direct reflection of our dedicated employees,” said Mell Meredith Frazier, Vice Chairman of the Meredith board of directors. “Our creative and devoted employees have guided our beloved brands through a fast-changing media landscape – enriching the lives of generations of Americans. The Meredith Foundation will continue to be an active member in the flourishing Des Moines community, as will Dotdash Meredith.”
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Costco Wholesale Corporation Reports September Sales Results

Costco Wholesale Corporation reported net sales of $19.50 billion for the retail month of September, the five weeks ended October 3, 2021, an increase of 15.8 percent from $16.84 billion last year. Costco currently operates 817 warehouses, including 565 in the United States and Puerto Rico, 105 in Canada, 39 in Mexico, 30 in Japan, 29 in the United Kingdom, 16 in Korea, 14 in Taiwan, 13 in Australia, three in Spain, and one each in Iceland, France, and China. Costco also operates e-commerce sites in the U.S., Canada, the United Kingdom, Mexico, Korea, Taiwan, Japan, and Australia.
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USPS Announces Shipping Dates for Holiday Military Mail

Making sure those serving in the nation’s armed forces and diplomatic service receive their presents and care packages in time for the holidays is a priority of the U.S. Postal Service. Plan ahead and mail your holiday cheer early to friends and loved ones serving abroad. To send packages to military and diplomatic posts abroad, the Postal Service offers a discounted price of $20.40 on its largest Priority Mail Flat Rate Box. The price includes a $1.50 discount per box for mail sent to APO/FPO/DPO (Air/Army Post Office/Fleet Post Office/Diplomatic Post Office) destinations worldwide. To ensure timely delivery of holiday wishes by Dec. 25, the Postal Service recommends that cards and packages be sent to military APO/FPO/DPO addresses overseas no later than the mailing dates listed at: https://about.usps.com/newsroom/national-releases/2021/1005-usps-announces-shipping-dates-for-holiday-military-mail.htm
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The Home Depot Teams Up with Walmart GoLocal To Enhance Local Delivery Capabilities

Two of the world’s leading retailers are working together to expand same-day and next-day delivery capabilities for home improvement customers in the U.S. With Walmart GoLocal, The Home Depot customers have another option for same-day or next-day delivery on a variety of home improvement products. “The Home Depot is continuously working to give customers the most convenient shopping experience in home improvement, and that includes providing a wide range of fast and reliable delivery options,” said Stephanie Smith, senior vice president of supply chain for The Home Depot. “This partnership brings us even closer to our goal of offering same-day or next-day delivery to 90 percent of the U.S. population.” The company will offer delivery with Walmart GoLocal in select markets in the coming weeks, with plans to expand to multiple markets across the country by the end of the year. Products that qualify for this scheduled delivery, including tools, fasteners, paint and other supplies that easily fit in a car, will have that option enabled at online checkout.
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Kohl’s Announces New National Nonprofit Partnership as Part of Company’s Ongoing Commitment to Mental Health

Kohl’s announced an expansion of the company’s ongoing commitment to health and wellness, including mental health, highlighted by a new national nonprofit partnership with NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Kohl’s is donating $2 million over two years to NAMI, which the organization will use to refresh its support group model. With Kohl’s gift, NAMI’s support groups will be expanded to reach additional people and serve more diverse communities, rolling out virtually in communities across the United States. The programming will be enhanced to include new trauma-informed, cross-cultural training and materials to better support those whose mental health has been impacted by trauma, including the impacts of COVID-19 and economic uncertainty. “We’re confident that our new partnership with NAMI will make a positive impact in the lives of countless families across the country who are affected by mental illness,” said Greg Revelle, Kohl’s chief marketing officer. “We see this relationship as a natural extension of our long-standing commitment to healthy families and an important part of our continued focus on health and holistic well-being.”
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Gap Inc. Acquires AI Startup CB4

Gap Inc. has acquired the New York and Tel Aviv based start-up Context-Based 4 Casting Ltd. (CB4) that uses cutting-edge AI and machine learning tools to transform retail operations, increase sales and improve the customer experience through predictive analytics and demand sensing. “We believe artificial intelligence and machine learning will shape the future of our industry. Gap Inc. has experience working with CB4’s world-class data scientists, so we understand the impact and the wide applications their science can have across sales, inventory and consumer insights, as well as its potential to unlock value and enhance the customer experience,” said Sally Gilligan, Chief Growth Transformation Officer Chief, and head of the Strategic Growth Office at Gap Inc. The deal was brokered by Gap Inc.’s Strategic Growth Office, a unit of the company that seeks out opportunities to fuel growth and accelerate new capabilities across its portfolio of brands.
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Wiley Acquires J&J Editorial to Advance Publishing Service Offerings

Global research and education leader Wiley announced the acquisition of J&J Editorial Services, LLC, a publishing services company based in the United States. The acquisition of J&J Editorial reinforces the company’s commitment to helping learned societies, professional associations and publishers achieve their missions. Founded in 2008 by Jennifer Deyton and Julie Nash, J&J Editorial provides expert offerings in editorial operations, production, copyediting, system support and consulting, allowing more than 120 clients to publish world-class titles that power the global knowledge ecosystem. Together, Wiley and J&J Editorial are better suited to help societies, associations and publishers manage change, deliver high-quality content, and provide vital service flexibility in a changing publishing landscape.
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HH Global Announces the Acquisition of Noosh

HH Global is pleased to announce the completion of the acquisition of Noosh, following the signing of an agreement on September 30, 2021. HH Global identified Noosh as the best-in-class global technology solution provider with over $1.2b in marketing spend managed and sourced through its technology. This acquisition will allow HH Global to introduce self-serve and hybrid solutions to clients, while providing differentiated opportunities to extend existing client relationships into new categories and regions. Furthermore, the agreement will allow both businesses to leverage greater aggregated spend under management. Ultimately, the acquisition of Noosh will accelerate global service reach for both new and existing clients across both HH Global and Noosh, through unrestricted technology deployment.
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Postal Service Maintains Service Performance Improvements Ahead of Peak Season

Quarter-to-date service performance data for July 1 through Sept. 24 included: *First-Class Mail: Delivered 88.1 percent of First-Class Mail on time against the USPS service standard, an improvement of 0.6 percentage points from the third quarter. *Marketing Mail: Delivered 92.5 percent of Marketing Mail on time against the USPS service standard, an improvement of 1.5 percentage points from the third quarter. *Periodicals: Delivered 82.2 percent of Periodicals on time against the USPS service standard, an improvement of 3 percentage points from the third quarter. On October 1, the Postal Service will implement new service standards for First-Class Mail and Periodicals. These new service standards will increase delivery reliability, consistency, and efficiency for our customers and across our network. Most First-Class Mail (61 percent) and Periodicals (93 percent) will be unaffected by the new service standard changes. Standards for single-piece First-Class Mail traveling within a local area will continue to be two days.
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PRC Issues Advisory Opinion on USPS Proposal to Change Service Standards for First-Class Package Service Nationwide: Plan lacks demonstrable evidence

The Commission finds: *The Postal Service’s stated goals for the proposal appear reasonable. *The Postal Service assumed factors necessary for successful implementation of the proposal that have not been demonstrated. *It is unclear when the Postal Service plans to realize the full impact of its proposed changes to the service standards. The proposed changes may have a positive impact on the Postal Service’s ability to meet its service performance targets. *The Postal Service’s cost-saving estimates of the proposed changes may be inflated and the proposed changes would not substantially affect the Postal Service’s overall financial condition. *Flaws in the Postal Service’s transportation model could diminish its reliability. The Postal Service’s surface network impact projections and estimated cost changes are potentially inaccurate and unachievable. *The Postal Service has not demonstrated that it is operationally capable of running the complex surface network modeled to support the service standard changes it plans to implement. *Implementing processing and transportation changes prior to peak season may be challenging due to the continuation of the COVID-19 emergency and stress on the logistics industry. In general, the Commission finds that the proposed changes appear to be consistent with applicable statutory requirements. Nevertheless, the Postal Service has not demonstrated that its implementation of the proposed changes will satisfy the requirements.
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More than 60% of College Students Prefer Printed Textbooks for Academic Learning (twosidesna.org)

Today’s college students have grown up in a digital world, so one might expect that most of them would prefer e-textbooks to print on paper, but that’s not the case according to a new survey conducted by Direct Textbook, a free textbook price comparison service. The survey reports that 62% college students prefer print textbooks to e-textbooks. This represents a 10% decline in print textbook preference since 2015, when 72% of students reported favoring print textbooks, but it doesn’t mean students are embracing e-textbooks. Despite the growing e-textbook market, student preference for e-textbooks increased by just 2% from 2015 (27%) to 2021 (29%), while the number of students who have no preference increased by nearly 8% over that same period. Students who prefer print textbooks say they are easier to read and that they have trouble concentrating on e-textbooks. They also like that no internet is required. And 25% say they end up printing e-textbook pages anyway.
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PRH Offers No Minimum, Two-Day Shipping for Indie Bookstores (publishersweekly.com)

Penguin Random House is offering enhanced two-day shipping for independent booksellers starting October 1 and running through March 1, 2022. Of particular note, the company is waiving the minimum-retail-value requirement for orders. The program covers frontlist and backlist titles from all PRH's divisions as well as all the clients of Penguin Random House Publisher Services. The enhanced service also comes as concerns over possible supply chain disruptions grow, something alluded to in a statement from Jaci Updike, president. U.S. sales, for PRH: “While we can’t 100% predict what the supply chain will look like in the fourth quarter this year, we do know that rapid replenishment is a key element of profitability and success at the all-important holiday season, and as always, we want to step up our efforts to get books into stores as quickly as possible. Some things are out of our control – including the unprecedented challenges the shipping companies are facing – but the PRH team is committed to going above-and-beyond to pick and pack indie orders with full speed,” Updike said.
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Gannett Announces Opportunistic Debt Refinancing

Gannett Co., Inc. announced that it is seeking to opportunistically refinance its existing term loan under its senior secured credit facilities. The Company intends to issue senior secured notes to refinance a portion of the term loan and refinance the remainder of the existing term loan with a new senior secured term loan. The proposed refinancing transactions are subject to market and other conditions, and the Company can give no assurances that it will complete any such transactions, in whole or in part, or as to the amount or timing of any such transactions. The new senior secured term loan would be in a principal amount up to $550 million (the “Credit Agreement”). Gannett Holdings LLC, a Delaware limited liability company and a wholly owned subsidiary of the Company, would be the borrower under the Credit Agreement (the “Borrower”), and lenders are anticipated to include funds managed by affiliates of Apollo Capital Management L.P. Upon closing, the net proceeds of the loans will be used to refinance a portion of the Company’s existing term loan.
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Ad Industry Says $1 Billion For FTC Should Be Accompanied By National Privacy Law (mediapost.com)

A funding boost for the Federal Trade Commission to create a new data protection bureau should be accompanied by a national privacy law, ad industry groups say. "The U.S. needs both a strong privacy regulator and a rational, comprehensive national consumer privacy law,” Leigh Freund, CEO and president of the self-regulatory organization Network Advertising Initiative stated Monday. She added that while the FTC needs more resources, increasing funding without establishing a national standard “will still leave U.S. consumers and businesses subject to a jumble of incompatible state and international laws.”
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Paper shortage hits American retailers when they need it most (bloomberg)

Skyrocketing demand for boxes and packing materials during the pandemic has slashed paper production across North America, and it couldn’t have come at a worse time for retail companies. “We’re starting to hear, ‘We’re out of paper,‘” said Polly Wong, president of San Francisco-based direct-marketing firm Belardi Wong, noting that some of her clients already missed their fall advertising campaigns due to issues at the printers. Ms. Wong estimates that 100 million catalogs will not be printed or reach U.S. homes in time for the year’s biggest spending season as a result. “It kind of put our industry up in a panic.” With some mills converting to cardboard to meet the spike in e-commerce deliveries and others shutting down altogether, more than 2.5 million metric tons of North American printing and writing paper capacity — or nearly one-fifth of 2019 levels — has come offline since the start of last year. more at source
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USPS is slowing down first-class mail on Oct. 1. What delays and price hikes mean for you (cnet.com)

If you're like me, sending a letter or package across the country through the US Postal Service feels like a game of chance. Will it get there in a week -- or two? During the first quarter of this year, around 20% of first-class mail across the US was delivered late. And now snail mail is about to get slower for some of the 160 million residences and businesses that rely on the Postal Service. Starting Oct. 1, the USPS will implement new service standards for its first-class mail and packages, lengthening delivery time for about 30% of its volume. That means some letters, parcels and magazine subscriptions traveling longer distances could take up to five days to arrive, instead of two or three days. The changes are part of a 10-year plan called Delivering for America to overhaul the agency and try to tackle its $160 billion debt. The plan would also reduce post office hours and raise prices for customers, and there'll be even more postage hikes during the peak holiday season. more at source
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USPS on Track for a Fourth-Quarter Improvement in Service Performance Ahead of Peak Season, New First-Class Service Standard

Quarter-to-date service performance data for July 1 through Sept. 17 included: *First-Class Mail: Delivered 88.3 percent of First-Class Mail on time against the USPS service standard, an improvement of 0.8 percentage point from the third quarter. *Marketing Mail: Delivered 92.5 percent of Marketing Mail on time against the USPS service standard, an improvement of 1.5 percentage points from the third quarter. *Periodicals: Delivered 82.2 percent of Periodicals on time against the USPS service standard, an improvement of 3 percentage points from the third quarter. Service performance in recent weeks has been affected in markets impacted by Hurricane Ida and ongoing employee availability challenges posed by COVID-19. Delivering for America, the Postal Service’s 10-year plan for financial sustainability and service excellence, seeks to meet or exceed its goal of 95 percent on-time service performance for all mail and shipping product delivery based on standards as all elements of the plan are implemented. The Postal Service continued preparations for the higher delivery demands of the 2021 holiday peak season this week. Ongoing efforts have included a national drive to hire delivery and plant personnel that is expected to result in an additional 40,000 seasonal hires by year-end, the leasing of 7.5 million square feet of additional space across more than 40 multiyear annexes where we are experiencing year-round space constraints due to parcel growth, and the installation of new processing equipment to accommodate higher volumes reflecting customers’ delivery needs. Since April, the Postal Service has installed 65 of 112 new package sorting machines, reflecting the Delivering for America plan’s $40 billion of planned investment over ten years. Additionally, more than 50 package systems capable of sorting large packages are expected to be deployed prior to December. 4.5 million additional packages can be sorted each day utilizing newly deployed package sortation equipment.
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Costco Wholesale Corporation Reports Fourth Quarter and Fiscal Year 2021 Operating Results

Costco Wholesale Corporation announced its operating results for the 16-week fourth quarter and the 52-week fiscal year, ended August 29, 2021. Net sales for the quarter increased 17.5 percent, to $61.44 billion from $52.28 billion last year. Net sales for the fiscal year increased 17.7 percent, to $192.05 billion from $163.22 billion last year. Net income for the fourth quarter was $1.670 billion, or $3.76 per diluted share, compared to $1.389 billion, or $3.13 last year. This year’s fourth quarter was negatively impacted by a write-off of certain information technology assets of $84 million pre-tax ($0.14 per diluted share). Last year’s fourth quarter was negatively impacted by incremental expense related to COVID-19 premium wages and sanitation costs of $281 million pretax ($0.47 per diluted share) and a $36 million pretax charge ($0.06 per diluted share) related to the prepayment of $1.5 billion of debt, partially offset by an $84 million pretax benefit ($0.15 per diluted share) for the partial reversal of a reserve related to a product tax assessment taken in fiscal year 2019. Net income for the fiscal year was $5.01 billion, or $11.27 per diluted share, compared to $4.00 billion, or $9.02 per diluted share in the prior year.
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USPS Tests New Local Delivery Service in Texas (multichannelmerchant.com)

While UPS buys its way into last mile and on-demand delivery with Roadie, the U.S. Postal Service is piloting a same/next-day delivery service in Texas, geared toward local business-to-consumer orders that companies bring to a local USPS office to get a discounted rate. During the pilot of USPS Connect Local, small businesses can print prepaid labels using using ClickNShip, the USPS’s labeling system, and bring their packages to the dock of a post office near the final destination. The discounted rates are normally reserved for large-volume shippers. Packages must be dropped off by 7 a.m. for same-day delivery, otherwise it’s a next-day service. USPS Connect Local, launched in July, is part of the agency’s 10-year Delivering for America plan, which has a goal of adding $24 billion in net revenue growth over that period.
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The publishing industry is bracing for a volatile end of the year (modernretail.co)

As supply chain issues continue to plague the retail sector, booksellers have become some of the most vocal voices online to warn of coming shortages this holiday season. This past weekend, some authors took to Twitter to urge readers that, if they want copies of their books in time for the holiday season, they needed to place their orders now. Independent bookstores, too have told customers to plan ahead. “If you think you might need a book in this last chunk of the year, please consider ordering soon,” Washington, D.C.-based East City Bookshop posted on Twitter, citing tightening in the supply chain. It isn’t just books: a complex combination of worker shortages, increased overseas shipping costs and raw material shortages have impacted companies ranging from Peloton to Ravensburger, a popular maker of jigsaw puzzles, said this week that it would halt all orders of its games for the foreseeable future. But book publishers are especially vulnerable because they order new book printings based on consumer demand, and to keep a popular title in stock, they depend on getting those new printings out to customers quickly. As the timelines for new printings are stretched further and further, publishers face the real possibility of running out of some books ahead of the holidays.
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Pearson English Launches New Disney Courseware to Inspire and Empower Young English Learners

Pearson English announces the global launch of a new pre-primary course My Disney Stars and Friends, working alongside Disney. It features stunning Disney artwork, stories and themes suitable for the youngest learners. Pearson’s learning materials are at the forefront of educational trends and needs. My Disney Stars and Friends includes a focus on social and emotional learning, personal wellbeing, and puts learners on a clear and measurable learning path. They will be followed by a captivating series of MARVEL Cinematic Readers for teenagers and adults in the autumn. The new Disney-themed course can be used for teaching in school and home environments or a blended approach. This gives teachers flexibility and supports educators, parents and learners alike.
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Postal Service Announces New Market Dominant Price Adjustment Schedule

To help customers better prepare for a new Market Dominant price adjustment schedule, the Postal Service will not raise prices on Market Dominant products, including Forever stamps, in January 2022. Instead, the next Market Dominant price adjustment is scheduled to happen in July 2022. Beginning January 2023, Market Dominant price adjustments will occur twice a year, (e.g. January 2023, July 2023, January 2024, July 2024, etc.). Market Dominant products include First-Class Mail (FCM), USPS Marketing Mail, Periodicals, Package Services* and Special Services. July 2022 rate authority will include ten months of CPI plus retirement, density, and non-compensatory class authorities as determined by the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC).The January rate authority will include six months of CPI, plus any unused rate authority.Subsequent July rate authority will include six months of CPI plus the retirement, density, and non-compensatory class authorities and any remaining unused rate authority.
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Another paper shortage? What the latest disruptions in supply mean for you (today.com)

The early months of the pandemic led to shortages of toilet paper, hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes, meat and more. And a year and a half later, at least one supply chain in the U.S. is still experiencing disruptions. The nation's paper supply is running thin, impacting envelopes, books, paper bags and beyond, NBC News correspondent Kerry Sanders reported on TODAY Tuesday. One bride-to-be planning a wedding for November, Gabriella Santaniello, told TODAY that her invitations were delayed for weeks because her vendor didn't have enough paper to print the envelopes. "I panicked. I didn’t expect for them to come back with that answer," she recalled. Another impacted industry? Booksellers. Barnes & Noble saw a surge in sales at the height of the pandemic but could deal with supply chain issues during the holiday season. "The problem comes as we get closer into the holiday and really close to Christmas when some books start selling a bit more than we expect," Barnes & Noble CEO James Daunt told TODAY. "Then there’s a problem because then you can’t reprint and or rather the capacity for reprint is limited."
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Book Publishing’s Rousing First Half of 2021 (publishersweekly.com)

By any measure, the first half of 2021 was a good period for trade book publishing. Revenue at the companies that report trade sales to the Association of American Publishers’ StatShot program rose 17.6% over the first six months of 2020; NPD BookScan reported that unit sales increased 18.5% in the period; and bookstore sales jumped 30% over what was a miserable first six months of 2020. So it comes as no surprise that the four publicly traded major publishers also posted strong increases in the period. Of particular note is the fact that while sales were strong, profits were even better, with operating margins showing healthy gains. In general, the publishers cited higher sales of both backlist books and digital content, especially digital audiobooks, for the improved margins. Though supply chain issues and the uncertainty over the delta variant are causing some concerns about how the rest of the year will unfold, publishers are hoping that the increased interest in reading will carry over through the 2021 holiday season and beyond.
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Marie Claire quietly ends US print edition after 27 years (nypost.com)

Women’s magazine Marie Claire is ending its US print edition after 27 years, The Post has learned. The magazine, which was sold by Hearst to British publisher Future Media in May, quietly informed its subscribers via a letter that its Summer 2021 issue would be its last. Marie Claire subscribers will instead receive a print copy of Harper’s Bazaar, the fashion publication owned by Hearst, for the rest of their subscription terms, according to the letter, which was signed by Bazaar editor in chief Samira Nasr. “I have some news to share: After the Summer 2021 issue, Marie Claire will no longer be available as an annual subscription but will instead focus on its vibrant digital platforms– Marieclaire.com, Instagram, Snapchat, etc.,” Nasr said.
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All USPS Mail Categories Continue Service Performance Improvements Over Third Quarter

Quarter-to-date service performance data for July 1 through Sept. 3 included: *First-Class Mail: Delivered 88.7 percent of First-Class Mail on time against the USPS service standard, an improvement of 1.2 percentage points from the third quarter. *Marketing Mail: Delivered 92.8 percent of Marketing Mail on time against the USPS service standard, an improvement of 1.8 percentage points from the third quarter. *Periodicals: Delivered 82.6 percent of Periodicals on time against the USPS service standard, an improvement of 3.3 percentage points from the third quarter. During the week of Aug. 28 - Sept. 3, the Postal Service quickly prepared for and responded to Hurricane Ida, a category 4 hurricane, which made landfall in Louisiana on Aug. 29. Due to the hurricane, network service delays occurred as the storm temporarily suspended USPS operations in parts of Louisiana and other Gulf Coast and Atlantic areas in the hurricane’s path.
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Send a Card and Deliver a Smile! Celebrate Thinking of You Week with “Message Monsters” Stamps

Who doesn’t feel a rush of joy when they open a handwritten card or letter received in the mail? Many of us rediscovered the simple, yet powerful pleasures of keeping in touch with pen, paper and a postage stamp during the pandemic. Later this month, everyone across America – and around the globe – is invited to send a card, deliver a smile and together create a much-needed wave of happiness during Thinking of You Week. Celebrated September 20 to 26, Thinking of You Week is an international movement to celebrate the joy of sending and receiving hand-written notes and greeting cards. Launched in the United Kingdom in 2014, the celebration was brought to the U.S. by the Greeting Card Association in 2018.
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Walmart and Meredith Corporation Partner To Help Families Answer the Universal Question: ‘What’s for Dinner?’

Walmart Inc. announced a cross-platform partnership with Meredith Corporation to help millions of busy families plan and prepare meals faster and more easily through AI-powered meal planning, shoppable recipes, visual search, chatbots, and more. The partnership pairs Meredith’s expertise in food content, hyper-local consumer insights and proprietary technology platform with Walmart’s wide customer reach, omnichannel presence, deep product assortment, convenient shopping experience and delivery options. This is the latest strategic addition to Walmart’s thriving grocery eCommerce business.
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Athleta Expands REI Co-op Partnership from five to 135 Stores Nationwide and Online

Athleta announced the expansion of a wholesale partnership with REI Co-op, bringing a curated selection of its product to 135 REI stores nationwide and online. As part of its growth plan to reach $2 billion in net sales by 2023, Athleta has committed to investing in new touchpoints to increase awareness and drive new customer acquisition. The collection will include select styles of Athleta premium performance and lifestyle apparel and accessories, designed by women for women. Customers will be able to shop Athleta core lifestyle, hike and yoga bottoms, along with key tops and accessories. Additionally, REI will carry select extended sizing options from size 0-26 in hiking and fitness apparel designs in one-quarter of all stores and on REI.com, bringing women even more inclusive sizing options and ways to shop.
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The Book Biz Tries to Avoid Supply Chain Disruptions (publishersweekly.com)

A BISG webinar held in early July sought to draw attention to the growing challenges in the book industry’s supply chain. Panelists pointed to shortages of truck drivers and trailers, congestion at the ports, and escalating transportation costs as factors that, in the words of David Hetherington, Book International’s v-p of global business development, were putting more pressure on the supply chain than at any time he could remember. In the ensuing two months, things have gotten worse, as printing capacity continues to shrink and labor shortages have made it difficult for printers, retailers, and wholesalers to fully staff their businesses. Concerns have risen to such a level that the two biggest trade wholesalers, Ingram and Bookazine, have reached out to their accounts to urge them to take a range of actions to try to mitigate problems, informing them of steps they should take to be better positioned to meet the needs of the fall and holiday. Top of the recommendation list from both Ingram and Bookazine is for accounts to order as early as possible.
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USPS Service Performance Improvements Continue Across All Mail Categories

Quarter-to-date service performance data for July 1 through August 27 included: *First-Class Mail: Delivered 88.8 percent of First-Class Mail on time against the USPS service standard, an improvement of 1.3 percentage points from the third quarter. *Marketing Mail: Delivered 92.8 percent of Marketing Mail on time against the USPS service standard, an improvement of 1.8 percentage points from the third quarter. *Periodicals: Delivered 82.8 percent of Periodicals on time against the USPS service standard, an improvement of 3.5 percentage points from the third quarter. For the week of Aug. 21-27, the Postal Service achieved its highest level of service performance ever recorded for the Marketing Mail category (94.1%).
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Wiley Reports First Quarter Fiscal 2022 Results

“Wiley’s steady execution of growth strategies in open research, online education, and talent development drove another quarter of strong revenue and profit gains,” said Brian Napack, President and CEO. “Our strategies continue to be tightly aligned with accelerating long-term trends across academic and corporate markets, and we are well-positioned to drive social impact by enabling discovery, powering education and shaping workforces.” *Research Publishing & Platforms rose 14% as reported, 10% at constant currency and 5% excluding acquisitions, driven by strong growth in open research, platforms and corporate sales. *Academic & Professional Learning grew 10% as reported and 7% at constant currency, driven by strong growth in digital courseware and professional publishing, accompanied by further recovery in corporate training. *Education Services increased 16% as reported and 13% at constant currency, driven by growth in university services (formerly OPM) and talent development (formerly mthree). *GAAP EPS was $0.24 as compared to $0.29 in the prior year period, primarily reflecting non-cash deferred tax expense of $21 million arising from an increase in the UK corporate income tax rate from 19% to 25% effective April 2023.
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Costco Wholesale Corporation Reports August Sales Results

Costco Wholesale Corporation reported net sales of $15.75 billion for the retail month of August, the four weeks ended August 29, 2021, an increase of 16.2 percent from $13.56 billion last year. For the 16-week fourth quarter ended August 29, 2021, the Company reported net sales of $61.4 billion, an increase of 17.4 percent compared to net sales of $52.3 billion during the similar period last year. For the 52-week fiscal year ended August 29, 2021, the Company reported net sales of $192.1 billion, an increase of 17.7 percent from the $163.2 billion during the similar period last year.
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Top 25 US newspapers by circulation: America’s largest titles have lost 20% of print sales since Covid-19 hit (pressgazette.co.uk)

America’s top 25 largest newspapers have lost 20% of their weekday print circulation since the Covid-19 crisis began, a Press Gazette analysis of Alliance for Audited Media (AAM) data shows. Newspaper circulations have been in decline for years. But our research suggests that the pandemic significantly increased the rate of decline. In the first quarter of 2019, the 25 newspapers had a combined circulation of 4.7m. A year later, this total figure had fallen by 11% to 4.2m. The latest figures for these titles show a combined circulation of 3.4m, down 20% in a year.
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Accelerate360’s Comag Marketing Group and Meredith Announce Partnership to Offer Expanded Media Services

Accelerate360’s Comag Marketing Group LLC (Comag) and Meredith Corporation (NYSE: MDP) today announced a partnership allowing Comag customers to strengthen their competitive position and manage their operations more efficiently via access to Meredith’s media expertise and economies of scale. Meredith now offers Comag customers access to a wide array of its own media marketing and production-related capabilities and services, including those focused on audience development, digital newsstand management, digital and magazine pre-media support, and paper and print procurement. “We are delighted to announce this partnership with Meredith which brings extraordinary benefits and additional services to our valued clients,” said Comag Marketing Group President Jay Felts. “This new platform with Meredith underscores our commitment to providing new and innovative opportunities for our clients, allowing them to focus on content creation and growing their overall audiences.”
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Two Easy Ways You Can Get Congress To Fix The US Postal Service

Dear Industry Executive: By now, you've heard plenty from us about the dire need for Congress to pass legislation to reform the US Postal Service. Passage of such a bill can potentially improve all aspects of your dealings with the USPS - better rates, service, accountability, and the like. The manager of the Coalition for a 21st Century Postal Service (C21), the mailing industry group of which ACMA is an influential member, wrote an excellent opinion piece in today's edition of The Hill, an objective daily publication that connects the players, defines the issues and influences the way Washington's decision makers view the debates on Capitol Hill. Two Quick & Easy Asks: 1. Share this influential article on social media using the buttons at the top of the op-ed from both your personal and business accounts if possible. You can also visit the C21 Facebook page to like and share from there. 2. If your business or clients rely on a healthy Postal Service, help influence Congress to move the current postal reform bills along to eventual passage. If your company has ties with any Members of the Senate Appropriations Committee (especially Democrats), encourage them to work with Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KS) on his “second review” language for the Financial Services and General Government Subcommittee of Appropriations. Click here to view a list of senators on this vital committee to see if one represents your state. As always, please alert us (via our action@catalogmailers.org address) of any/all actions you take, as it's very helpful in our broader efforts and allows our DC personnel to follow up directly. And of course, please pass this alert onto anyone you know in the catalog/remote marketing/e-com industries who you think could take similar actions.
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Bertelsmann Achieves Record Operating Result in First Half of 2021

Bertelsmann closed the first half of 2021 with a record operating result of €1.4 billion. The international media, services, and education company generated revenues significantly above the previous year’s and pre-Corona levels, as well as its highest Group result in 19 years. Four of the eight business units each recorded double-digit organic growth rates. For the full year, the company expects its business to continue to develop positively and anticipates Group profit of close to two billion euros. Bertelsmann’s first-half consolidated revenues increased by 10.7 percent over the previous year to €8.7 billion (H1 2020: €7.8 billion). Organic growth was 16.6 percent year-on-year, and 7.1 percent compared to the pre-Corona year 2019. The RTL Group, Penguin Random House, Gruner + Jahr, and Arvato divisions each recorded double-digit organic-growth rates. Operating EBITDA improved significantly to €1.4 billion (H1 2020: €1.0 billion), marking a new record. RTL Group, Penguin Random House and Arvato once again proved to be the strongest earnings pillars in the Bertelsmann Group.
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Gap Inc. Reports Second Quarter Results

The company’s second quarter fiscal year 2021 net sales of $4.2 billion were up 5% compared to 2019. Gross profit: $1.82 billion, an increase of $267 million or 17%. Gross margin: 43.3%, an increase of 440 basis points. Comparable sales were up 3% year-over-year, and up 12% versus 2019. The comparable sales calculation reflects online sales and comparable sales days for stores that were open on the same days in both the current and prior comparable period. Old Navy Global: Net Sales were up 21% versus 2019, with Old Navy maintaining its position as the #2 apparel brand in the U.S.1 Comparable sales were flat to last year and up 18% versus 2019. Gap Global: Net Sales declined 10% versus 2019, with permanent store closures resulting in an estimated 14% sales decline, and international COVID-closures driving an estimated 1% decline on a 2-year basis. Global comparable sales declined 5% year-over-year and increased 3% versus 2019. Banana Republic Global: Net Sales declined 15% versus 2019, with permanent store closures resulting in an estimated 10% sales decline, and international COVID-closures driving an estimated 1% decline on a 2-year basis. Comparable sales were up 41% year-over-year and down 5% versus 2019. Athleta: Net Sales were up 35% versus 2019. Comparable sales grew 13% year-over-year and 27% versus 2019.
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Gap Inc. Acquires Ecommerce Startup Drapr

Gap Inc. has acquired Drapr, an ecommerce startup and online application based on technology that enables customers to quickly create 3D avatars and virtually try on clothing. Drapr is designed to help customers find the best clothing size and fit for their personal style and body type, while helping retailers reduce unnecessary returns. “Fit is the number one point of friction for customers and, through their advanced 3D technology, Drapr has shown it can help shoppers efficiently find the size and fit they need. We plan to leverage Drapr to help Gap Inc. improve the fit experience for our customers and accelerate our ongoing digital transformation,” said Sally Gilligan, Chief Growth Transformation Officer at Gap Inc.
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Ulta Beauty Announces Record Second Quarter Results

For the Second Quarter of Fiscal 2021 *Net sales increased 60.2% to $2.0 billion compared to $1.2 billion in the second quarter of fiscal 2020 due to the favorable impact from stronger consumer confidence and fewer COVID-19 restrictions, compared to the second quarter of fiscal 2020. *Comparable sales (sales for stores open at least 14 months, including stores temporarily closed due to COVID-19, and e-commerce sales) increased 56.3% compared to a decrease of 26.7% in the second quarter of fiscal 2020, driven by a 52.5% increase in transactions and a 2.5% increase in average ticket. Compared to the second quarter of fiscal 2019, comparable sales increased 13.1%. *Gross profit increased to $798.0 million compared to $329.0 million in the second quarter of fiscal 2020. As a percentage of net sales, gross profit increased to 40.6% compared to 26.8% in the second quarter of fiscal 2020, primarily due to leverage of fixed costs, improvement in merchandise margins, favorable channel mix shifts, and leverage of salon expenses. *Net income was $250.9 million compared to $8.1 million in the second quarter of fiscal 2020. Adjusted net income for the second quarter of fiscal 2020 was $41.5 million.
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Nordstrom Reports Second Quarter 2021 Earnings

Nordstrom, Inc. reported second quarter results, which reflected continued broad-based improvement in sales trends at Nordstrom and Nordstrom Rack across categories and geographies. The Company reported net earnings of $80 million or $0.49 per diluted share, with earnings before interest and taxes (“EBIT”) of $151 million. For the second quarter ended July 31, 2021, net sales increased 101 percent from the same period in fiscal 2020 and decreased 6 percent from the same period in fiscal 2019, representing a sequential improvement of approximately 700 basis points relative to the first quarter of fiscal 2021. The timing shift of the annual Anniversary Sale, with roughly one week falling into the third quarter of 2021, had a negative impact of approximately 200 basis points on net sales compared with fiscal 2019. Adjusting for this timing shift, sales trends improved by approximately 900 basis points relative to the first quarter.
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URBN Q2: Record Sales, Record Profits

Urban Outfitters, Inc. which operates a portfolio of global consumer brands comprised of the Anthropologie, BHLDN, Free People, FP Movement, Terrain, Urban Outfitters, Nuuly and Menus & Venues brands, announced net income of $127 million and earnings per diluted share of $1.28 for the three months ended July 31, 2021. For the six months ended July 31, 2021, net income was $181 million and earnings per diluted share were $1.82. Total Company net sales for the three months ended July 31, 2021, were a record $1.16 billion. Net sales increased 20.3% compared to the three months ended July 31, 2019. Comparable Retail segment net sales increased 22%, driven by strong double-digit growth in digital channel sales, partially offset by low single-digit negative retail store sales due to reduced store traffic. By brand, comparable Retail segment net sales increased 53% at the Free People Group, 20% at Urban Outfitters and 14% at the Anthropologie Group. Total Retail segment net sales increased 24%. Wholesale segment net sales decreased 30% primarily from reducing the Free People Group’s sales to promotional wholesale customers.
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USPS Fourth-Quarter Service Performance Improvements Include Highest Performance Level in Marketing Mail Service in 5 Years

Quarter-to-date service performance data for July 1 through August 20 included: *First-Class Mail: Delivered 88.8 percent of First-Class Mail on time against the USPS service performance standard, an improvement of 1.3 percentage points from the third quarter. *Marketing Mail: Delivered 92.7 percent of Marketing Mail on time against the USPS service performance standard, an improvement of 1.7 percentage points from the third quarter. *Periodicals: Delivered 82.1 percent of Periodicals on time against the USPS service standard, an improvement of 2.9 percentage points from the third quarter. Additionally, for the week of August 14-20, the Postal Service achieved its highest level of service performance recorded for the Marketing Mail category in five years, matching a previous high (93.9%) recorded in August 2016.
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Annual Paper Statements Will Ensure You “Know Your Social Security!”

Nearly 180 million American workers currently pay into the Social Security system. But upwards of 150 million of them have not recently viewed an accounting of what they’ve contributed, what Social Security income they can anticipate for retirement and other vital details. This because most stopped receiving an annual paper statement in the mail years ago. And the overwhelming majority cannot or do not access this information online. The data makes clear that most wage earners do not have essential knowledge about their personal Social Security benefits, which for many will be their primary or significant source of income in their later years. Fortunately, the solution is simple: direct the Social Security Administration (SSA) to mail all workers aged 25 and older an annual paper statement, just like they did up until 2010. This is precisely what bipartisan legislation recently reintroduced in the U.S. Congress would do. Appropriately named the “Know Your Social Security Act,” the measure has strong support from citizens, consumer groups, advocates for seniors, cybersecurity experts and financial planners.
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AAP June 2021 StatShot Report: Publishing Industry Up 0.2% for Month, and 18.1% Year to Date

Total revenues across all categories for June 2021 were essentially flat, with an increase of 0.2% as compared to June 2020, coming in at $1.2 billion. Year to date revenues were up 18.1%, at $6.3 billion for the first six months of the year. Trade (Consumer Books) sales were down 8.0% in June, coming in at $638.5 million, but up 17.0% year to date, with $4.1 billion in revenue. In terms of physical paper format revenues during the month of June, in the Trade (Consumer Books) category, Hardback revenues were down 10.2%, coming in at $203.1 million; Paperbacks were down 8.3%, with $225.2 million in revenue; Mass Market was down 26.0% to $18.2 million; and Board Books were up 13.3%, with $14.3 million in revenue. click read more below for additional information
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3 Gannett Newspapers In New Jersey Vote To Unionize (mediapost.com)

Three Gannett newspapers in New Jersey — Asbury Park Press, Home News Tribune and Courier News — have unionized with the NewGuild of New York, the union announced last week. “Our newsrooms have served our communities for over a century, and by forming the APP-MCJ Guild, we are ensuring our journalists are given the necessary means to serve for the next 100 years,” states Ryan Ross, on-air host and visual journalist for the Asbury Park Press. “We respect the right of employees at Asbury Park Press, the Courier News and the Home News Tribune to make a fully informed choice for themselves whether to unionize or not to unionize,” says Thomas C. Zipfel, Gannett's labor relations counsel.
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Hachette Book Group’s Acquisition Spree Continues (publishersweekly.com)

At the end of 2020, the Hachette Book Group was the fourth-largest trade publisher in the country, with estimated annual sales of roughly $700 million. When the acquisition of Simon & Schuster—the third-largest trade publisher—by #1 trade publisher Penguin Random House is finally completed, HBG will move into the third spot. Last week, HBG took a major step to ensure that it will assume S&S’s position as the largest trade publisher behind PRH and HarperCollins, with its agreement to acquire Workman Publishing for $240 million. One of few remaining independent publishers of its size, Workman had sales of $134 million last year, and its addition will get HBG revenue over the $800 million level.
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The ODP Corporation Announces Selection of Chief Executive Officers and Company Names Ahead of Planned Spin-Off

The Board of Directors announced the selection of the Chief Executive Officers (CEO) and company names for each of the two companies, which would become effective upon the completion of the spin-off: *The ODP Corporation – a leading B2B solutions provider serving small, medium and enterprise level companies, will consist of several operating companies, including the contract sales channel of ODP’s current Business Solutions Division, which will be renamed ODP Business Solutions, and ODP’s newly formed B2B digital platform technology business, which will be named Varis. ODP Business Solutions and Varis will be owned by ODP, but operated as separate businesses. ODP will also continue to own the global sourcing operations and other sourcing, supply chain and logistics assets. Gerry Smith will continue to serve as CEO of The ODP Corporation following the separation. *Office Depot – 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, will be spun-off and will be named Office Depot, Inc. Kevin Moffitt, currently EVP, Chief Retail Officer of The ODP Corporation, will be appointed CEO of Office Depot upon completion of the spin-off.
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USPS Reports Steady Service Performance Improvements Across All Mail Categories

Fourth-quarter service performance for July 1 through August 12 included: *First-Class Mail: Delivered 88.8 percent of First-Class Mail on time against the USPS service standard, an improvement of 1.3 percentage points from the third quarter. *Marketing Mail: Delivered 92.6 percent of Marketing Mail on time against the USPS service standard, an improvement of 1.6 percentage points from the third quarter. *Periodicals: Delivered 82.4 percent of Periodicals on time against the USPS service standard, an improvement of 3.1 percentage points from the third quarter. The Postal Service’s recent service delivery improvements have been, in part, the result of a strategic shift to more ground deliveries, decreasing the agency’s reliance on the limited cargo capacities of third-party air carriers, and improved network efficiencies.
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Kohl’s Reports Second Quarter Fiscal 2021 Financial Results

Highlights: *Second quarter net sales and earnings exceed expectations and company raises full year 2021 financial outlook *Second quarter net sales increase 31.4% *Record second quarter diluted earnings per share of $2.48 and company raises full year 2021 guidance to $5.80 to $6.10 *Strengthened financial position during the quarter, ending with $2.6 billion in cash *Repurchased $255 million of shares in the quarter and now plans to repurchase $500 million to $700 million of shares in 2021. “Our performance in the second quarter marked another important step in further establishing Kohl’s as the leading destination for the active and casual lifestyle. We delivered record second quarter earnings with sales and margins materially exceeding expectations. As pleased as we are with our ongoing strategic progress, much of our opportunity is still ahead of us. We are on the eve of launching several transformational partnerships that will drive sustainable growth for years to come,” said Michelle Gass, Kohl’s chief executive officer.
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HH Global Acquires Adare International

HH Global is pleased to announce the completion of the acquisition of Adare International (including Purple Agency), from the private equity firm Endless LLP, following the signing of an agreement on Monday 21 June 2021. The combined business will generate approximately $2.1bn in annual sales. This deal will create a joint global business with over 4,000 employees and a presence in more than 65 countries, cementing HH Global’s position as market leader. It will also allow stronger in-country operations, helping to propel seven of our local markets to achieve local annual run rates of over $50m revenue for the first time. Mike Perez, Group CEO of HH Global, expressed “Following on from the successful integration of InnerWorkings in October last year, we are thrilled to join forces with Adare International. Welcoming new clients and colleagues on board is always an exciting process, and the strength of Adare International in these areas was a key motivation for our interest in acquiring them. I’m also particularly excited to enhance our capabilities in creative services in the healthcare and B2B sectors with Purple Agency, and to take advantage of the enhanced geographical reach and local revenue within their regional operations.”
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USPS Reports Continued Service Performance Improvements for All Mail Categories

Fourth-quarter service performance for July 1 through August 6 included: *First-Class Mail: Delivered 88.9 percent of First-Class Mail on time against the USPS service standard, an improvement of 1.4 percentage points from the third quarter. *Marketing Mail: Delivered 92.6 percent of Marketing Mail on time against the USPS service standard, an improvement of 1.6 percentage points from the third quarter. *Periodicals: Delivered 82.9 percent of Periodicals on time against the USPS service standard, an improvement of 3.6 percentage points from the third quarter. For the week of July 31 – August 6, Periodicals, including newspapers and magazines, reached the highest service performance level (84.8 percent) reported for that category in nearly a year and a half, since the week of March 28 – April 3, 2020 (85.3 percent).
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Amazon On Pace to Buy Over $120 Billion of Supplies and Services from Businesses in the U.S. in 2021

Amazon is on pace to spend over $120 billion on supplies and services from businesses in the U.S. in 2021. The purchases are from more than 200,000 companies that operate in communities across the country that help keep Amazon running—from electric vehicle manufacturers to cardboard box producers to construction and engineering firms. The 2021 spending represents an increase of 20% year over year and does not include any of the products Amazon buys and sells to customers in its stores. “Millions of families rely on us to deliver what they need every day,” said Dave Clark, CEO of Worldwide Consumer at Amazon. “Delivering for our customers takes teamwork—we can’t do it alone. We rely on strong partnerships with hundreds of thousands of American businesses—from our forklift manufacturer in Kentucky to the construction company in Texas that builds our delivery stations. Today is about renewing our commitment to these businesses and betting big on them.”
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Back To School, Back In Person: Using Paper to Address Learning Loss, Academic Equity

Many parents around the United States are sending their children back to school soon — in person and full time. Students and teachers, who may not have seen one another in months, will face several challenges related to the coronavirus pandemic, such as learning loss and economic disparities. The good news? Paper can help. Research is mixed on the effects of the pandemic on students, but in a poll of 1,000 public school educators conducted by the Horace Mann Educators Corporation, 97 percent of teachers reported seeing some learning loss in their students during the past year compared to previous years. Data from McKinsey in December 2020 noted that students of color were about three to five months behind in learning due to lower access to technology, the internet and in-person learning support. Reading and math are two paper-intensive subjects that typically require access to textbooks, library books and/or notebook paper. Paper can help bridge the divide in learning achievement caused by the pandemic and related economic challenges. click read more for the rest of the article
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New Consumer Protections Against Surprise Medical Bills Are Compromised When Healthcare Providers Stop Delivery of Paper Explanation of Benefits

The recent passage of the “No Surprises Act” is being hailed as a major victory for patients and consumers. Effective January 1, 2022, the new federal law will prevent patients from receiving surprise medical bills resulting from gaps in coverage for emergency services and certain services provided by out-of-network doctors and other providers at in-network facilities. Unfortunately, critical documentation that medical consumers rely on to catch and dispute these surprises might not be where they’ve always found it: in their mailbox. Explanation of Benefits (EOBs) are essential notices that help patients understand how much each service costs, how much their insurance plan will cover, and how much they will have to pay their doctor or hospital. Until very recently, it had been a universal health insurance industry best practice to mail paper EOBs to plan members by default. read much more at: https://keepmepostedna.org/new-consumer-protections-against-surprise-medical-bills-are-compromised-when-healthcare-providers-stop-delivery-of-paper-explanation-of-benefits/
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Meredith Reports Fiscal 2021 Fourth Quarter And Full Year Results

Revenues grew to $3.0 billion, up 5 percent. Earnings from continuing operations were $307 million, compared to a loss of $209 million. Adjusted EBITDA was $683 million, compared to $548 million. Key accomplishments included: *Digital advertising revenues surpassing magazine for the first time in Meredith's history. Digital advertising grew 31 percent. Additionally, Meredith's licensing and digital and other consumer driven revenues grew 27 percent and 25 percent, respectively. *$254 million debt reduction, enabled by record Cash Flow from Operations and Free Cash Flow. Debt reduction was enabled by total company revenue performance along with proactive actions to enhance Meredith's financial flexibility. *Agreeing to sell Meredith's Local Media Group for $2.825 billion, representing a 10x valuation. The transaction, which also includes spinning Meredith's National Media Group, comprising digital and magazine, out to shareholders, is expected to advance the company's financial priorities including reducing net debt, improving financial flexibility, optimizing capital allocation to high-potential opportunities, and providing returns to shareholders.
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Mailing Industry Coalition Seeks Congressional Action to Stop Postage Increase

Dear Industry Member: Representatives from the Coalition for a 21st Century Postal Service (C-21), including ACMA’s Hamilton Davison, recently hosted staffers from a half dozen Congressional offices. The event was opened by mailing industry proponent Rep. Glenn Grothman (R-WI-6th, pictured at right). In addition to stressing the importance of the Postal Service, the goal was to educate a new crop of Capitol Hill postal staffers from offices that are not as familiar with what keeps the USPS delivering affordably and reliably and the need for legislation now. Representing Marketing Mail interests, Davison emphasized the potentially fatal impact the impending August 30th postage increase will have on catalog and other mailers’ future use of the mail. Other C-21 members discussed similar problems for the other mail classes from the rate hike as well as the USPS’s deliberate slowdown of mail delivery. see more detail at: https://catalogmailers.org/mailing-industry-coalition-briefs-congress-to-spur-action-on-postage-increases/
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U.S. Postal Service Announces Proposed Temporary Rate Adjustments for 2021 Peak Holiday Season

The United States Postal Service filed notice today with the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) regarding a temporary price adjustment for key package products for the 2021 peak holiday season. This temporary rate adjustment is similar to one in 2020 that anticipated heightened peak-season package and shipping demand, which typically results in extra handling costs. The planned peak-season pricing, which was approved by the Governors of the Postal Service on Aug. 5, would affect prices on commercial and retail domestic competitive parcels – Priority Mail Express (PME), Priority Mail (PM), First-Class Package Service (FCPS), Parcel Select, USPS Retail Ground, and Parcel Return Service. International products would be unaffected. Pending favorable review by the PRC, the temporary rates would go into effect at 12:00 a.m., Central Time, on Oct. 3, 2021, and remain in place until 12:00 a.m., Central Time, Dec. 26, 2021. This seasonal adjustment will bring prices for the Postal Service’s commercial and retail customers in line with competitive practices. No structural changes are planned as part of this limited pricing initiative.
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‘The Atlantic’ Circulation Jumps To 830,000 (mediapost.com)

The Atlantic has reached a paid circulation of 833,410 for the first half of 2021, the largest in its 164-year history, Editor In Chief Jeffrey Goldberg and CEO Nicholas Thompson announced in a message to the staff. The number, which had been filed with the Alliance for Audited Media (AAM), includes both print and digital subscribers, including those on the iOS app and Apple News+. Growth has gone from 474,274 two years ago to 252,242 in the first half of 2020.
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U.S. Postal Service Reports Third Quarter Fiscal 2021 Results

The U.S. Postal Service today announced its financial results for the 2021 third quarter ended June 30, reporting a net loss of approximately $3.0 billion, compared to a net loss of approximately $2.2 billion for the same quarter last year. Excluding the combined effects of non-cash workers' compensation adjustments due to fluctuations in discount rates and other actuarial revaluations, the loss for the quarter would have been approximately $2.3 billion, compared to a loss of approximately $2.4 billion for the same period last year. The Postal Service reported operating revenue of approximately $18.5 billion for the third quarter of fiscal 2021, an increase of $845 million, or 4.8 percent, compared to the same quarter last year. Marketing Mail revenue increased by approximately $1.0 billion, or 42.2 percent, on volume growth of approximately 4.3 billion pieces, or 38.6 percent. Marketing Mail experienced steep volume declines at the onset of the pandemic last year, but has been rebounding as the economy continues to recover. First-Class Mail revenue increased by $54 million, or 1.0 percent, on volume growth of 130 million pieces, or 1.1 percent, as the economy continues to recover. Shipping and Packages revenue decreased by $646 million, or 7.8 percent, on a volume decline of 300 million pieces, or 14.1 percent, compared to the same quarter last year, as a pandemic surge in demand for package deliveries began to abate.
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YETI Reports Second Quarter 2021 Results

For the Three Months Ended July 3, 2021: Net sales increased 45% to $357.7 million, compared to $246.9 million during the same period last year. *Direct-to-consumer (“DTC”) channel net sales increased 48% to $196.9 million, compared to $133.0 million in the prior year quarter, driven by strong performance in both Drinkware and Coolers & Equipment. The DTC channel grew to 55% of net sales, compared to 54% in the prior year period. *Wholesale channel net sales increased 41% to $160.8 million, compared to $113.9 million in the same period last year, driven by both Drinkware and Coolers & Equipment. In the second quarter of 2020, wholesale channel net sales were adversely impacted by the temporary store closures due to COVID-19. *Drinkware net sales increased 69% to $192.9 million, compared to $114.3 million in the prior year quarter, primarily driven by the continued expansion of our Drinkware product offerings, including the introduction of new colorways and sizes, and strong demand for customization. *Coolers & Equipment net sales increased 23% to $157.8 million, compared to $128.6 million in the same period last year, driven by strong performance in soft coolers, bags, outdoor living products, cargo and hard coolers. Gross profit increased 52% to $209.1 million, or 58.5% of net sales, compared to $137.5 million, or 55.7% of net sales, in the second quarter of 2020.
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USPS Reports Steady Service Performance Improvements for All Mail Categories Through July

Fourth-quarter service performance for July 1 through July 30 included: First-Class Mail: Delivered 89.0 percent of First-Class Mail on time against the USPS service standard, an improvement of 1.5 percentage points from the third quarter. Marketing Mail: Delivered 92.6 percent of Marketing Mail on time against the USPS service standard, an improvement of 1.6 percentage points from the third quarter. Periodicals: Delivered 82.7 percent of Periodicals on time against the USPS service standard, an improvement of 3.4 percentage points from the third quarter. For the week of July 24 - 30, Marketing Mail maintained the highest service performance level (93.7 percent) reported for that category in nearly five years, since the week of August 20-26, 2016 (93.9 percent).
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Gannett Announces Second Quarter 2021 Results

Second Quarter 2021 Financial Highlights: • Total revenues of $804.3 million rose 4.9% compared to the prior year quarter ◦ Same store revenues (as defined and reconciled on Table No. 5 below) increased 6.8% compared to the second quarter of 2020 • Total digital revenues were $259.3 million or 32.2% of total revenues • Net income attributable to Gannett of $15.1 million • Adjusted EBITDA totaled $115.8 million, an increase of $37.8 million or 48.4% compared to the second quarter of 2020 and represented a 14.4% margin • Net cash flow provided by operating activities of $31.3 million • Free cash flow of $23.1 million
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News Corp Reports Fourth Quarter and Full Year Results for Fiscal 2021

Fiscal 2021 Full Year Key Financial Highlights: *Revenues were $9.36 billion, a 4% increase compared to $9.01 billion in the prior year, reflecting a 30% increase in the fourth quarter *Net income of $389 million compared to a net loss of $(1.55) billion in the prior year, which included non-cash impairment charges of $1.69 billion *Total Segment EBITDA was $1.27 billion compared to $1.01 billion in the prior year *Diluted EPS were $0.56 compared to $(2.16) in the prior year – Adjusted EPS were $0.67 compared to $0.22 in the prior year *Revenues at Move, operator of realtor.com®, grew 36% year-over-year, with 68% growth in the fourth quarter, which was an acceleration from the prior quarter growth rate. Average monthly unique users grew 32% in the fourth quarter *Dow Jones saw record digital subscriptions, continued robust growth at Risk & Compliance and a strong increase in digital advertising revenues *Foxtel’s streaming products exceeded 2 million total paid subscribers as of year end, driving 40% total paid subscriber growth *Book Publishing continued to benefit from strong consumption patterns with 19% revenue growth *Announced agreement to acquire OPIS, a leading data and analytics provider for energy and commodities markets, to bolster Dow Jones’ Professional Information Business
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Bertelsmann Completes Acquisition Of Shares In Brazilian Education Company Afya

The international media, services, and education company Bertelsmann has completed the acquisition of 25 percent of the capital shares and 46 percent of the voting rights in the Nasdaq-listed education company Afya in Brazil. The Brazilian antitrust authorities had previously given their approval. The transaction, which significantly expands Bertelsmann’s involvement in the Brazilian education market, has a volume of €500 million. Bertelsmann will provide three of the eleven members of the company’s Board of Directors from now on. Afya is the leading provider of medical education and training in Brazil. Bertelsmann acquired the shares in the company from Crescera Educacional II, a fund launched in 2014 by Crescera Capital with Bertelsmann as the main investor. Afya is now to be developed further in cooperation with the Esteves founding family, which holds 24 percent of the shares and 45 percent of the voting rights, and the company’s successful management.
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New Media Champion: RTL Deutschland and G+J to Join Forces

The media companies RTL Deutschland and Gruner + Jahr are joining forces to form a new national cross-media champion. The decision follows a review process lasting several months, with the aim of deepening the successful collaboration between the country’s leading private TV, radio, and streaming group and the publishing house with its powerful brands. The new company will start operating as one at the beginning of next year. Bertelsmann CEO Thomas Rabe says: “The relevant bodies, RTL Group’s Board, and Bertelsmann’s Executive Board and Supervisory Board, have come to the conclusion that RTL Deutschland and G+J can better exploit their growth potential together. By forming this national media champion, Bertelsmann is implementing its strategic priorities as it has already done in France, the Netherlands and Belgium. This will strengthen our media businesses in the German market in the competition with the global tech platforms,” Rabe continued, “No other media company in this country can create such a cross-genre growth alliance. RTL Deutschland and G+J are a content powerhouse that combines the content expertise of 1,500 journalists, among other things. The companies bring together strong content and brands across the various media under one roof. This will generate annual synergies of around 100 million euros – largely due to growth.”
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Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Announces Strong Second Quarter 2021 Results

Highlights from the quarter include: *Raising 2021 billings guidance to $980-1,020 million and unlevered free cash flow guidance to 12-14% of billings *Strong billings growth across the Company of 25% in Q2 and 21% YTD as demand for teaching and learning solutions grows with students returning to classrooms this fall *Annualized Recurring Revenue (ARR)2 growth accelerated 106% bringing ARR to $77 million, or 8% of trailing twelve-month billings. Net Retention Rate (NRR)2 was 154% *Trailing twelve-month free cash flow of $101 million, an improvement of $29 million compared to the first quarter of 2021, reflecting strong operating leverage and the benefits of 2020 actions to align HMH’s cost structure with its Digital First, Connected strategy *Gross leverage ratio of 1.8x, below HMH’s target leverage ratio of 2.0x adjusted EBITDA
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‘Grill Girl’ Magazine Launches, Augments Food Site (mediapost.com)

In a reversal of the usual flow of things, GrillGirl.com founder Robyn Lindars has started a print magazine. Grill Girl is available at retailers and grocery stores nationwide, including Barnes & Noble, CVS and Walmart. Lindars, who started offering outdoor grilling recipes in 2008, went into print to help “elevate everyone’s grilling game,” she states. Each issue will feature over 25 recipes and advice on how to pick the right grill, grill the perfect steak, cook an entire meal on the grill and plank grill pizzas.
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The New York Times Company Reports 2021 Second-Quarter Results

Total revenues for the second quarter of 2021 increased 23.5 percent to $498.5 million from $403.8 million in the second quarter of 2020. Subscription revenues increased 15.7 percent to $339.2 million, advertising revenues increased 66.4 percent to $112.8 million and other revenues increased 8.7 percent to $46.5 million. Compared with the second quarter of 2019, total revenues increased 14.3 percent, as subscription revenues increased 25.4 percent, advertising revenues declined 6.6 percent and other revenues increased 3.3 percent. Total operating costs increased 12.4 percent in the second quarter of 2021 to $421.4 million compared with $374.9 million in the second quarter of 2020, while adjusted operating costs increased 15.4 percent to $405.6 million from $351.6 million in the second quarter of 2020. Compared with the second quarter of 2019, total operating costs increased 5.8 percent, while adjusted operating costs increased 6.5 percent.
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The ODP Corporation Announces Second Quarter 2021 Results

Total reported sales for the second quarter of 2021 were $2.3 billion, an increase of 6% compared to the second quarter of 2020. The year-over-year increase in revenue was partially driven by stronger business activity as the public sector returned to work and schools began to return to in-class learning. Product sales in the second quarter were up 6% relative to the prior year period, driven by stronger demand for core supply product categories, workspaces and technology. Service revenue in the first quarter was up 8%, largely related to stronger demand for managed print and fulfillment, as well as copy and print services in both BSD and Retail Divisions. The Company reported operating loss of $78 million in the second quarter of 2021, compared to operating loss of $456 million in the prior year period. GAAP operating results in the second quarter included $122 million of charges including $115 million of non-cash asset impairment charges, and $7 million in net merger, restructuring and other operating costs. Asset impairment charges of $115 million in the second quarter of 2021 included $114 million related to impairment of goodwill and other intangible assets at CompuCom, largely related to the macroeconomic effects of COVID-19 on current business conditions. Net merger, restructuring and other operating costs of $7 million were primarily associated with the planned separation of B2B operations. Net loss was $88 million, or $(1.62) per diluted share in the second quarter of 2021, compared to net loss of $439 million, or $(8.19) per diluted share in the second quarter of 2020.
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Proudly announcing HH Global’s full suite of ESG targets

At HH Global it is important to us that we ensure our organisation grows both responsibly and sustainably, therefore our Innovation with Purpose strategy continues to evolve. A key objective of this is to enhance and develop our holistic approach to Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) activities. The ambitions of many organisations are yet to be distilled into targets in this area. HH Global is demonstrating genuine leadership by showing our clients, colleagues and suppliers the commitments we are making, relevant not only to our own operations but to the whole of our supply chain.
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U.S. Postal Service Board of Governors Aug. 6 Meeting to be Conducted by Live Audio Webcast Only

Due to an anticipated large gathering of people during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, out of an abundance of caution for the safety and health of our employees and the public, the Aug. 6, 2021, open session meeting of the U.S. Postal Service Board of Governors will now be conducted by live audio webcast only, with no in-person attendance. With no in-person attendance, the Postal Service is cancelling the previously scheduled public comment period that was to have been conducted following the adjournment of the meeting. The Board is expected to discuss the following items at the Aug. 6 meeting beginning at 9:00 a.m. ET: *Call to Order and Opening Remarks of the Chairman *Remarks of the Postmaster General and CEO *Approval of Minutes *Committee Reports *Quarterly Financial Report *Quarterly Service Performance Report *Approval of Tentative Agenda for November Meetings *Adjournment
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S&P Global and IHS Markit Announce Agreement to Sell OPIS and Associated Businesses

S&P Global and IHS Markit announced an agreement to sell IHS Markit's Oil Price Information Services (OPIS); Coal, Metals and Mining; and PetroChem Wire businesses to News Corp in a cash transaction valued at approximately $1.150 billion. The sale is expected to be completed at the close of the merger between S&P Global and IHS Markit. The agreement marks the culmination of S&P Global and IHS Markit's previously announced decision to explore a divestiture of these businesses and represents an important milestone on the path to regulatory approval for the merger between S&P Global and IHS Markit.
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Grainger Reports Results For The Second Quarter 2021

Grainger reported results for the second quarter 2021 with sales of $3.2 billion, up 13.1% and up 15.0% on an organic, daily, constant currency basis compared to the second quarter 2020. Both the High-Touch Solutions N.A. and Endless Assortment segments produced strong top-line growth. Gross margin for the second quarter of 2021 was 35.0%, a 75 basis point decline over the prior year quarter driven by pandemic-related inventory adjustments recorded in the High-Touch Solutions N.A. segment. Reported operating earnings for the second quarter of 2021 of $334 million were up 62% versus the second quarter of 2020, primarily due to losses taken in the second quarter of 2020 related to the divested Fabory business.
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Pearson Half Year Report

Underlying revenue up 17% to £1,597m · Global Online Learning up 25% driven by strong growth in US Virtual Schools; modest growth in OPM with good underlying growth offset by discontinued programs.· Global Assessment grew 34% with growth across all divisions, following the closure of test centres and schools and exam cancellations in 2020. · North American Courseware up 2%, driven by a recovery in Canada which more than offset a 2% decline in US Higher Education Courseware. · International grew 8% with growth in courseware, clinical assessment and PTE following school, bookstore and test centre closures last year. Statutory results · Sales increased 7% to £1,597m (2020: £1,492m) reflecting underlying performance, partially offset by portfolio changes and currency movements. · Statutory operating profit £9m in H1 2021 (H1 2020: £107m), with the decrease due to the profit on disposal of Penguin Random House in 2020 and restructuring costs in 2021 partially offset by improved trading and reduced intangible charges. · Statutory EPS 2.3p (H1 2020: 6.3p).
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S&P Global Revenue Increased 8% in the Second Quarter

S&P Global eported second quarter 2021 results with revenue of $2,106 million, an increase of 8% compared to the same period last year with every segment delivering revenue growth. Net income increased 1% to $798 million. Diluted earnings per share increased 1% to $3.30 primarily due to revenue growth partially offset by increased compensation-related expenses. Merger Update: S&P Global and IHS Markit continue to progress with merger integration planning. In addition, work with global regulators remains underway and we anticipate closing the transaction in the fourth quarter of 2021. Profit Margin: The Company's operating profit margin decreased 210 basis points to 54.8% primarily due to a challenging expense comparison to the second quarter of 2020 and increased compensation-related expenses, and costs related to the pending merger with IHS Markit in 2021.
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Latest USPS Report Shows Sustained Service Performance Improvements for First-Class Mail, Marketing Mail, Periodicals

Fourth-quarter service performance for July 1 through July 23 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 92.4 percent of Marketing Mail on time against the USPS service standard, an improvement of 1.4 percentage points from the third quarter. *Periodicals: Delivered 82.8 percent of Periodicals on time against the USPS service standard, an improvement of 3.6 percentage points from the third quarter.
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Amazon.com Announces Second Quarter Results

*Operating cash flow increased 16% to $59.3 billion for the trailing twelve months, compared with $51.2 billion for the trailing twelve months ended June 30, 2020. *Free cash flow decreased to $12.1 billion for the trailing twelve months, compared with $31.9 billion for the trailing twelve months ended June 30, 2020. *Net sales increased 27% to $113.1 billion in the second quarter, compared with $88.9 billion in second quarter 2020. Excluding the $2.5 billion favorable impact from year-over-year changes in foreign exchange rates throughout the quarter, net sales increased 24% compared with second quarter 2020. *Operating income increased to $7.7 billion in the second quarter, compared with $5.8 billion in second quarter 2020. *Net income increased to $7.8 billion in the second quarter, or $15.12 per diluted share, compared with $5.2 billion, or $10.30 per diluted share, in second quarter 2020.
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Reading Time Rose 21% in Second Half of 2020 (publishersweekly.com)

The theory among publishers that book sales rose last year because people were reading more has been borne out in part by a survey recently released by the U.S. Department of Labor. According to the American Time Use survey, reading among people 15 years old and up increased by 21% in the May-December period in 2020 over the same period in 2019. The data shows that reading of all kinds increased from just under 17 minutes per day in 2019 in the same timeframe to just over 20 minutes in the comparable period last year. The biggest increase in daily reading came among 20 to 34 year-olds and in readers over 65. People older than 75 spent by far the most time reading last year (and every year for that matter), reading an average of 55 minutes per day in the 2020 May-December period.
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Lagardère First Half 2021 Results

In the first half of 2021, Group revenue totalled €2,076 million, up 5% on a like-for-like basis. Group recurring EBIT in the first half of the year totalled €3 million, up sharply by €221 million compared to a negative €218 million in first-half 2020. Lagardère Publishing recorded decade-high recurring EBIT of €110 million (€27 million in first-half 2020), with Lagardère Travel Retail reporting recurring EBIT of -€96 million, versus -€209 million in first-half 2020. The Group reported a loss before finance costs and tax of €117 million in first-half 2021 (loss of €397 million in first-half 2020), including non-recurring/non-operating items for a net negative amount of €61 million. The loss – Group share was €171 million, versus a loss – Group share of €422 million in first-half 2020.
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PRC Approves Postal Rate Increase for All Market Dominant Classes

As expected in our most recent postal update in June, the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) has approved the postal rate increase that was proposed by the USPS. The PRC spent about a month reviewing the USPS’s proposal before formally announcing its approval on Monday, July 19th. Per the PRC, it confirmed that the planned price adjustments for all market dominant classes, including workshare discounts, are consistent with applicable regulations and applicable Commission directives and orders. The PRC also concluded that the planned classification changes, with some minor revisions described in the PRC Order, are consistent with applicable law. The new postal rates will become effective August 29th, and our analysis of numerous postage estimates shows that postage increases for Marketing Mail to be averaging about 8.6% for Flats and 6.6% for Letters. Mailings with in-home dates up to September 13th will pay current postage rates, with postage being paid on August 27th. This postal rate increase is unprecedented, with the PRC sanctioning and approving the USPS to increase rates higher than the 12-month rolling consumer price index (CPI). In effect, these rates will be about 4 times higher than the current CPI and are contrary to the rate increase guidelines laid out in the 2006 Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act.
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MIDLAND Launches New “Specialty Media” Catalog for Offset, Digital and Inkjet Sheet Products

MIDLAND has just launched a new and innovative Specialty Media catalog for offset, digital and inkjet sheet fed printers. The all-inclusive catalog merges major sheet fed print technologies into one unique publication. Offset, HP Indigo, Dry Toner and Inkjet substrates are all featured within one book. “The Specialty Media catalog is a one-stop shop product guide that gives our customers the opportunity to find the correct printable substrate without having to thumb through multiple catalogs,” comments David Field, General Manager of Midland’s Specialty Paper & Film Division. The new product guide features synthetic papers, rigid media, window and walls films, pressure sensitive papers, integrated substrates, magnetic media and specialty paper products. “These are all products that are of high value to our customers and their end users and are application driven” added Field. The catalog is segmented into the following categories: • Non-Adhesive Synthetic • Adhesive Synthetic • Adhesive Paper • Specialty Substrates. “Our customers are going to be blown away by this updated version of the Specialty Media Catalog”, said Mike Ratcliff, President of Midland’s Specialty Paper & Film Division. “This is more than just another catalog. It is a tool for our customers to use for their customers for all of their high value print projects – it gives them a window into what’s possible”.
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New Initiative to Educate Consumers About Paper and Sustainability

Sustainability is playing an increasingly larger role in the lives of young consumers, particularly among Millennials (born 1981-1996) and Generation Z (born 1997 and after). This trend is expected to continue as Gen Z consumers enter the workforce and start setting up their own households. As a result, the Paper and Packaging Board’s “How Life Unfolds” Campaign® is launching a new sustainability-focused effort to more appealing to young consumers. “As our consumer audience begins to age up, we need to keep reaching out to younger generations with important sustainability messaging,” explains Mary Anne Hansan, president of the Paper and Packaging Board. “They are worried about the environment, have heard stories about recycling not being worthwhile and have misperceptions about the health of U.S. forests. That’s why we’ve created a campaign set to reach a younger audience with content that is both entertaining and educational.” The new effort is based in part on findings from The Hartman Group’s “Sustainability 2019: Beyond Business as Usual” study of American consumers aged 18-73. Researchers found that sustainability is “a cultural value and defining concern for today’s consumer,” and that “consumers increasingly hold companies and governments responsible for sustainability than individuals,” even as they adjust their own behaviors to lessen their personal environmental footprint.
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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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