Alibaba Reports Quarterly Financials
Several factors, including a weakened Chinese economy and ongoing accusations that the company permits counterfeiting on its sites, have driven down the company’s valuation by as much as $100 billion since its IPO last year. In an effort to stabilize its share price, Alibaba announced this week a plan to buy back $4 billion in stock over a two-year period.
While Alibaba’s short-term results are mixed, analysts still largely see long-term growth for the company – especially as it diversifies its services and continues its push into overseas markets. Although in transition, the firm is making strides with mobile, as the number of active users on its mobile platforms grew to 307 million at the end of the quarter, up from 188 million a year earlier. Alibaba said mobile transactions made up 55% of its overall dealings. Across its retail marketplaces, Alibaba’s gross merchandise volume for the quarter jumped 34% and annual active buyers rose year-over-year by 32%.
Led by Executive Chairman Jack Ma, a member of Counselor’s Power 50, Alibaba has aggressively pursued a global expansion strategy, recently investing in Amazon competitor Jet.com and popular messaging app Snapchat. Its AliExpress platform is now the top shopping site in Russia and Brazil, and Alibaba.com remains a major B2B Web presence, selling millions of items including promotional products. Signaling a desire for even more international gains, Alibaba this month named Michael Evans its president. The former Goldman Sachs partner is tasked with striking partnerships with key brands and retailers in Europe, the Americas and Asia.
4imprint Sales Rise 20%
Apart from sales, 4imprint’s financial numbers remained strong in the first half of 2015. Underlying pre-tax profits jumped by 25% to $12 million. The company also now holds net cash of $28 million – $10 million more than it held in December of 2014. The firm said it received more than 450,000 orders through June, about 21% ahead of this point in 2014.
“The organic growth of the business continues to be driven by a wide variety of data-driven online and offline marketing techniques designed to attract new customers, and then encourage them to place further orders,” said John Poulter, executive chairman of 4imprint. “In the first half, the business generated robust growth in orders from new customers, benefitting from the use of previously established methods, but also the continuation of successful new marketing techniques implemented in 2014.”
Counselor ranks 4imprint as the second-largest distributor in the industry, after the firm reported 2014 North American ad specialty sales of $399 million.
Pro Towels Acquires Kanata Blanket
“The addition of Kanata Blanket Company enables Pro Towels to become an even more diverse line, complementing our existing products perfectly and offering us an even greater presence in the fourth-quarter gift-giving season,” said Kevin Nord, president of Pro Towels. “We are now truly a company for all seasons.”
Kanata Blanket is known throughout the promotional industry as a supplier of premium blankets, décor and lifestyle products. “By combining our operational capabilities, product lines and geographic footprints, we will be able to provide excellence in every way to our distributor customers,” said Fraser Mackay, formerly the president of Kanata Blanket who will now oversee Kanata Blanket in Canada as executive vice president. “This will be enhanced by East and West Coast distribution in the U.S. for faster lead times, and the Kanata facility in Canada offering the best-selling towels from Pro Towels to the Canadian market. This is an extremely exciting opportunity for Kanata and we are very proud to become part of the dynamic Pro Towels organization.” For more information, visit www.protowels.com and www.kanatablanket.com.
BIC Reports Sales Gains
For the first half of 2015, the supplier firm generated a 2.1% rise in revenues, with sales of $145.1 million. All sales growth represents gains at constant currencies and excludes the effects of acquisitions.
“Our H1 2015 results were particularly strong as a result of stationery sell-in for Europe’s back to school and solid sales growth in lighters and shavers,” said Mario Guevara, CEO of BIC Group, in a statement. “In light of the six-month performance, we are very confident to achieve our full-year net sales growth of 4%-5% on a comparative basis.”
According to its published release, BIC Graphic’s sales were “driven by an overall good performance in key European countries such as the UK, Spain and Germany.” While revenues in developing markets “continued to grow,” the company reported BIC Graphic’s sales in North America “were flat” in the first half.
BIC Graphic’s H1 normalized IFO margin was -4.7% versus -4.2% during the same period in 2014, “due to continued reinvestments in the business for the long-term.” Q2 BIC Graphic normalized IFO margin was -3.0% compared to -1.6% a year earlier. The company said, though, in its quarterly filing that BIC Graphic’s overall numbers “confirmed positive momentum” carried over from 2014 and Q1 of this year.
On its Top 40 list, Counselor ranks BIC Graphic as the fourth-largest supplier in the industry after the firm reported 2014 North American ad specialty sales of $323 million, a year-over-year increase of 3.2%.
Hanes Reports Double-Digit Growth
The firm’s adjusted operating profit increased 15% to $265 million, while its adjusted earnings per share grew 16% in the quarter.
Even though it was Hanes’ sixth straight quarter of record results, the company (NYSE:HBI) fell short of analysts’ expectations and saw its stock fall by more than 15% after the earnings report was released. The firm updated its full-year net sales projections to slightly less than $5.9 billion, compared to first-quarter guidance between $5.9 billion and $5.95 billion.
“We are tracking to our full-year profit expectations,” said Hanes Chairman and CEO Richard A. Noll. “The integrations of our DBApparel and Knights Apparel acquisitions are proceeding on plan, and we continue to reap benefits from the past acquisitions of Gear for Sports and Maidenform.”
Activewear net sales for Hanes increased by 19% in the quarter, due in part to high single-digit growth from Champion as well the company’s April acquisition of Knights Apparel, a recognized collegiate apparel brand name. Hanes announced it will combine Knights and Gear for Sports under a single Licensed Sports Apparel commercial business “to take advantage of complementary expertise in brand building, marketing, graphic design, licensing relationships, supply chain and retailer relationships across channels,” according to a release.
Innerwear sales for the company decreased 1% in the quarter, but international sales for Hanes continued to soar, increasing over 100% from last year through the acquisition of DBApparel, a European maker of underwear and intimate apparel. The company saw significant margin expansion in both its activewear and innerwear segments. “Our brand innovation platforms and global supply chain performance continue to drive margin improvement,” Noll said.
Gildan Reports Second-Quarter Financials
Before reflecting restructuring and acquisition-related costs, Gildan reported adjusted net earnings of $102.6 million – $0.42 per share for the three months ended July 5. During the comparable period in 2014, Gildan’s net earnings were $116.6 million, or $0.47 per share.
“Net earnings for the second calendar quarter of 2015 continued to reflect the impact of the printwear selling price reductions implemented in December 2014, in advance of the benefit of lower manufacturing and cotton costs,” Gildan said in a statement.
While Gildan’s earnings declined, consolidated net sales in its second quarter increased 2.9% – from $693.8 million in 2014 to $714.2 million this year. A 12.3% rise in branded apparel sales ($236.3 million) propelled the surge, but was partially offset by a 1.2% decline in printwear sales ($477.8 million). Having one less business week in the second quarter of 2015 compared to 2014 hurt printwear sales, but wasn’t the only factor driving the decline. Gildan said lower net selling prices, the negative impact of the devaluation of international currencies relative to the U.S. dollar and lower unit sales volumes in Europe weighed on printwear’s performance.
Gildan’s second quarter played a role in compelling the company to issue a grayer forecast for 2015. Adjusted diluted earnings-per-share for the 12 months ending January 3, 2016 is expected to be in the bottom of the company’s guidance range – $1.50 to $1.55 on anticipated total sales of $2.6 billion. Previously, Gildan was forecasting sales slightly in excess of $2.65 billion. Printwear sales, the company says, should grow about 10%, down from the previously projected 12%. Sales growth in the branded-apparel segment is now expected to be approximately 15%, compared to previously anticipated sales growth in excess of 20%.
InnerWorkings Reports Second-Quarter Financials
Halfway through 2015, InnerWorkings further reaffirmed its full-year 2015 revenue guidance of growth between 8% and 11%.
“We are pleased with our profit growth and margin expansion during the quarter,” said Ryan Spohn, interim chief financial officer of InnerWorkings. “These improvements combined with our new business momentum keeps us on track to drive long-term leverage in the business.”
The company attributed its growth so far this year and in recent years to enterprise client accounts that it has recently won. Companies like AstraZeneca, Things Remembered and Gannett have signed marketing partnership agreements with the company this year, which have InnerWorkings providing them with everything from print and packaging products to point-of-purchase signage and promotional products.
“With our most recent client wins, the new enterprise agreements we have signed so far in 2015 are expected to exceed $100 million in annual revenue once implemented,” said Eric Belcher, CEO of InnerWorkings. “Our enterprise solution continues to resonate with Fortune 500 companies, which illustrates the growth opportunity in front of us.”
While InnerWorkings doesn’t break out its promotional products revenue in its quarterly filings, the company ranks number 11 on Counselor’s Top 40 after reporting 2014 North American ad specialty sales of $140 million, a 22% increase over 2013.
Proforma Honors Top Salespeople at Annual Convention
“The Convention is always an exciting time for the entire Proforma Family to come together to learn, share and grow together, but this year was especially powerful,” said Greg Muzzillo, founder of Proforma. “Proforma’s Convention has the industry’s largest private Vendor Showcase, more than 90 education sessions and the most million-dollar producers under one roof. This year we unveiled new cutting-edge technology advancements, marketing resources and business development tools to make it easier than ever for owners and sales reps to be more successful.”
During the Annual Awards Dinner and Celebration, Proforma welcomed 14 new members into its Million Dollar Club, two new members into its Multi-Million Dollar Club and three new members into its 5 Million Dollar Club. Fred and Suzette Albrecht, Proforma’s first 25 Million Dollar Club Members, were inducted into Proforma’s Hall of Fame. Proforma also presented 104 Centurion awards to owners who increased their sales by over $100,000 in the 2014 calendar year and recognized the business achievements of more than 52 additional owners.
Proforma also unveiled its new Proforma.com website during the conference. The company partnered with USAWeb to revamp Proforma.com, which is now designed with the company’s customers in mind, showcasing a streamlined and easy-to-navigate page. The company also demoed a new $10 million order entry and CRM platform, which features a more efficient ordering process as well as an inventory module and CRM functionality.
Proforma ranks as the third-largest distributor in the promotional products market, after reporting 2014 North American ad specialty sales of $373.4 million. The company’s 2016 Proforma Convention & Family Reunion will be held July 24-27 in Las Vegas.
PCNA Announces New Shipper Relationship with Purolator; Polyconcept Launches New Corporate Identity
This relationship will replace UPS as PCNA’s private service, though all product lines will continue to accept third party account numbers. PCNA also recently announced that it will move to FedEx for all shipments within the U.S. and to Canada. For more information, visit www.pcna.com or contact a PCNA sales representative.
In addition, Polyconcept has launched a new corporate identity, which includes its Polyconcept North America (PCNA), Polyconcept International Markets (PCIM) and Global Buying Services (GBS) divisions. PF Concept in Europe will retain its existing brand mark. The new logo will begin to appear on Polyconcept’s websites, marketing collateral and corporate communications over the next several weeks. Head to www.polyconcept.com for additional details.
Simple Signman/Artech Acquires Innovation Specialties
“We felt this was a great opportunity for us to expand our product line, enabling us to better serve the recognition awards and gift segments of our industry,” said Claude Harpin, co-owner of Simple Signman/Artech. For more information, visit www.artechpro.com.
Trimark Releases New Fall Styles
ESP Promo Moves to New Facility
alphabroder Canada Unveils Office Hero Sweepstakes
Best Places to Work Road Tour Wraps Up
With video cameras and notepads in hand, the Road Tour crew chronicled every adventure they had along the way. Go to www.counselormag.com/roadtour to read stories, view videos and see pictures from each of the companies we visited, and use the #counselortour hashtag on Twitter and Instagram to see all of the action.
iPROMOTEu Ranked on Inc. 5000 List for Fifth Consecutive Year
“We’re thrilled to be included, once again, on Inc.’s list of the fastest-growing companies in America,” said Ross Silverstein, president and CEO. “The recognition is a testament to the strength of our business model. I’d like to acknowledge and thank iPROMOTEu’s hardworking employees, its loyal Affiliates, its suppliers and all its other supporters for their contribution to our growth and success.”
View iPROMOTEu’s Inc. 5000 profile here.
“We are committed to ‘everyday meaningful’ products,” said Michael Gisser, executive vice president. “The Power Tower has that perfect safety-utility blend that improves people’s lives and protects their families.”
Additionally, Superex has announced that it will hold original pricing until September 1, 2015. All orders received on or after that date will be billed according to the new price list, which will be available at www.superex.com.
PCNA Canada Expands Sales Team
“We are thrilled to have Chris make this move,” said Harris. “We are excited about the level of collaboration this will create as we continue to integrate our business in Canada with both apparel and hard goods.”
In addition, the team welcomes Jeff Hoyle back to the team in the South Western Ontario field sales position for apparel.
Fashion Biz Canada Welcomes George Cooper, Team Arnott
In addition, Fashion Biz welcomes George Cooper as vice president of sales – Canada/USA. George joined the company in January 2012 as national sales manager – Canada, and has since built and led the sales team to excellent results. Contact George Cooper at firstname.lastname@example.org.
CPS/Keystone Appoints New Representation, Offers New UPS Rates
“We are proud and delighted to have Neil Mihan and his excellent multi-line rep group represent our product line in Canada,” said Kippie Helzel, MAS, vice president of sales for CPS/Keystone. “CPS has always had a significant presence in the Canadian market, and our continued growth necessitated having representation to support our many distributors in a more proactive way.” For more information, contact Neil Mihan at email@example.com.
In addition, CPS/Keystone has negotiated new rates with UPS, and has changed the FOP point to Concord, ON. For more information, contact Kippie Helzel at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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