Counselor Unveils Best Places To Work
At the inaugural Counselor Best Places to Work Conference, held last week in Santa Barbara, CA, Counselor magazine announced its 2013 ranking of the best workplaces in the industry. Read Article
With a list of 85 distributors and suppliers, the Counselor Best Places to Work this year is headed up by supplier firm Crystal Impressions by Seaena (asi/47782). "It's truly a great honor to be number-one on the list," said Allison Robbins, one of the company's owners, upon finding out about the ranking. "We're a fun company that we all love spending time at."
Rounding out the top five on the 2013 Best Places to Work list are: Proforma Albrecht & Co. (asi/116308), Beehive Specialty (asi/135780), Royal Crest Promotions (asi/83740), and Clean Fun Promotional Marrketing (asi/162979). Click here to view the complete ranking of the 2013 Counselor Best Places to Work list.
Survey: Job Growth Will Increase
With the U.S. economy forecast to expand at a faster rate next year, the pace of job growth could accelerate in the months ahead. Read Article
Such were the findings of the Philadelphia Federal Reserve's just-released quarterly survey of 42 leading economic analysts.
Overall, the economy will register a growth rate of 1.7% in 2013, a pace that will power up to 2.6% in 2014, the survey found. As for jobs, the pace of hiring will increase enough to reduce the unemployment rate from 7.3% to 7% by the end of the second quarter next year. Monthly job growth will average, the survey says, 187,000 over the next two quarters before ratcheting up to 202,100 by the final quarter of 2014. Within the ad specialty industry specifically, nearly two-thirds of Counselor's Power 50 members say their companies will hire additional staff next year. Further, ASI's recently released Third Quarter Sales Survey shows that distributors have a positive outlook about the market for next year. The latest Counselor Confidence Index (CCI) – a measure of industry health – rose during Q3 to a score of 111, a 1.4 point improvement compared to the second quarter.
At contract apparel decorator Stitch Designers (asi/741145), soaring sales have already helped drive a hiring surge. "Our year-to-date sales are up again – 12-15% growth is what we project for the year," says Joe Thompson, national accounts manager/marketing director. "This has caused us to staff up our expected permanent employees. We have added customer service (doubled in the last 2 years) and production because of this."
Economists surveyed predicted that the economy will expand at an annual rate of 1.8% this quarter. While that's down from previously forecasted growth of 2.3%, analysts anticipate that economic activity will pick up in the first-quarter, with the growth rate rising to 2.5%. Despite the predicted increase, the tally comes in below an earlier estimate of 2.7% growth for 2014's first quarter.
Gildan Reports Q4 And Full-Year Financials
Apparel manufacturer Gildan Activewear (asi/56842) reported its sales for the quarter ended September 29 increased to $626.2 million, a year-over-year gain of 11.5%. Read Article
Gildan announced net earnings of $96.8 million, or 79 cents per share, up from $89 million, or 73 cents per share, a year ago. Gross margins were flat, though, at 28.3% because of price pressures and a retail market impacted by heavy discounting.
"The growth in earnings and EPS in the fourth quarter compared to last year was due to strong growth in sales revenues in both the company's operating segments and lower cotton costs, partially offset by higher selling, general and administrative expenses," Gildan said, in a statement.
Net sales in Gildan's printwear segment rose 12.5% to $423.9 million, while branded apparel revenues jumped to $202.2 million in Q4, a 9.4% increase. Also during its fiscal Q4, Gildan generated free cash flow of $111.5 million. For its full fiscal year, Gildan reported sales of $2.18 billion, a 12% rise, and earnings of $320.2 million, or $2.61 per share. Last year, Gildan reported earnings of $148.4 million.
In its forward guidance, Gildan is projecting sales of $450 million in its 2014 Q1, with adjusted earnings of between 33 cents and 35 cents per share – below the expectations of analysts. For full-year 2014, Gildan is forecasting sales of $2.38 billion, affected somewhat by higher short-term cotton prices. Gildan is pledging, at this point, not to raise prices because of those higher costs.
"The first half of the year is expected to be impacted by sequentially higher cotton costs, compared to the fourth quarter of fiscal 2013," Gildan said. "The increased cotton costs are not currently projected to be passed through into higher net selling prices as cotton costs have recently declined significantly from these levels."
Montreal-based Gildan, which employs 33,000 people worldwide, sells apparel in the promotional products market through multiple industry suppliers.
The Joe Show: Seasonal Assortment
In this episode of The Joe Show, Managing Editor Joe Haley shows off some new items that are perfect for a variety of upcoming promotions. Read Article
Looking for some earbuds that would be great for youth promos of college events? How about an edible arrangement for last-minute holiday gifts or campaigns? Watch The Joe Show for new product and promotional ideas.
Click here to watch this new-products episode of The Joe Show.
New Conference Reveals Workplace Best Practices
In a highly interactive and energetic day-long session, Counselor magazine hosted its first-ever Best Places to Work Conference last Thursday at the Bacara Resort in Santa Barbara, CA. The main topic of discussion: How to motivate employees and create a hyper-productive and successful workplace. "The best companies today are ones that have a huge focus on communication and making sure that their employees are engaged in their work," said Greg Harris, president of research firm Quantum Workplace, during the first session of the day. "You need to connect closely with people so they feel a part of the everyday mission of the company, and they feel truly vested in its success."
The conference went on to present one-on-one interviews between ASI editors and industry executives to find out how they create motivated and energized workplaces. "I think it comes down to empowering your people and consistently finding new ways to challenge, motivate and excite them," said Lon McGowan, CEO of supplier firm iClick (asi/62124), during the final session of the day, which concluded with a sampling of local Southern California beers. "You have to find the right people who are flexible enough to grow and change with the company."
Click here to see expanded coverage of the conference on our website.
Click here to see a video interview with Quantum Workplace's Harris, in which he connects great workplaces to positive bottom lines.
Click here to watch Jack Nadel International's Craig Reese discuss how the
company connects with and manages its remote offices.
Counselor How-To: Manage Millennials
Every generation of workers has a unique set of skills, but the talents of Gen Y employees – those born between the 1980s and the early 2000s – could be especially helpful to your business. "The Millennial brings an enormous amount of tech savvy to the business," says Morley Winograd, co-author of Millennial Momentum: How A New Generation Is Remaking America. "If you're not currently engaged in social media and if you're not doing a lot of business online, Millennials can bring that inherent knowledge which exists as a native language compared to a learned language."
Chip Espinoza, co-author of Managing the Millennials, noticed something interesting while teaching a class that was a mix of Millennials and people in their 40s and 50s. "The older ones were taking notes copiously on a notepad, but the Millennials just pulled out their smartphones and took a picture of the slides," he says. "The older ones said, 'That never occurred to me.' It's something that's small, but Millennials just think that way."
Indeed, since Millennials have grown up with enhanced technologies, Winograd says their specific experiences can be beneficial to small businesses. "A lot of us older people think of the Web as another thing to read," he says. "You put up a website and you tell people to click on it and read all about your products or services. But most Millennials don't go on the Web by way of a specific site. They go there by way of a search – usually Google – for the answer to a question they have."
Unlike their generational predecessors, Winograd says Millennials also tend to be very group-oriented. "Millennials are much more likely to be successful working in a team than on their own," he says. "They're exactly the opposite of the 40-year-old employees you might have – the so-called Generation X, which prefers to do things on their own."
For more tips on how to manage your youngest workers on staff, click here to read the full Counselor article.
ASI Radio: Generate Creativity In The Workplace On today's Tuesday Morning Show, the hosts provided listeners with advice for innovative ways they can improve the creativity of their offices. Plus, we shared our Favorite Things, provided a surefire trick to get recipients to open your e-mails, and debated why so many companies go wrong with their employee rating systems.
If you missed the show, a recording is now available at www.asicentral.com/radio. And, don't forget to join us for our next broadcast – Tuesday, December 3. Log on at 10:30 a.m. ET to listen to the show – and give us a call at (215) 953-4979 to hear your voice on the air.
In The News
Bodek and Rhodes (asi/40788) has officially revealed the artwork for its upcoming 2014 catalog, which was voted on by customers via the Bodek and Rhodes Facebook page to celebrate its upcoming 75th anniversary. For more on the photo shoot, visit http://bit.ly/1hX37nQ.
Charles River Apparel (asi/44620) announced it will be partnering with The Bowery Mission for their annual 'Tis the Season for Giving campaign and will be donating one garment for every new 'like' on its Facebook page. The campaign will run until December, 31.
InnerWorkings Inc. (asi/168860) announced it was named a winner of the Better Business Bureau's 2014 Torch Award For Marketplace Ethics.
Promotional Professionals Association of Chicago (PPAChicago) donated $500 to the Promotional Products Disaster Recovery Foundation - Business Recovery Fund. Separately, the organization announced it will be working with the Promotional Products Education Foundation (PPEF) and Promotional Products Association International (PPAI) to create a PPAChicago-named Collegiate Scholarship for the children of PPAChicago members.
SanMar (asi/84863) announced that its employees raised over $96,000 in money, clothing and goods for seven charities with the SanMarathon events, hosted at each of the company's seven distribution centers around the country and corporate office.
Sweda Company LLC (asi/90305) participated in the Philippine Typhoon Relief Donation Drive put on by Filipino American Television (FilAM TV) along with the Office of Vice-Mayor Jacque Robinson, City of Pasadena, Victory Cargo, the American Red Cross, and PNB Remittance Centers Inc.
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The following are the dates and locations for The ASI Show in 2014:
Orlando, January 5-7, 2014
Dallas, February 4-6, 2014
Long Beach, March 25-27, 2014
New York, April 3-4, 2014
Chicago, July 15-17, 2014
Plus, don't miss the ASI Advantages Roadshow, the industry's #1 traveling show. Visit www.advantagesroadshow.com for the complete schedule
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