J.R. Martinez Inspires ASI Dallas Audience
At 19, every plan and aspiration that J.R. Martinez had to that point in his life went up in flames – literally. Then an Army infantryman, the Humvee Martinez was driving in Iraq hit a roadside bomb and he was trapped inside the vehicle, incurring disfiguring third-degree burns during the ensuing blaze.
EU Approves Staples’ Takeover of Office Depot
European regulators have approved Staples Inc.’s proposed buyout of Office Depot. Staples, the parent company of Top 40 distributor Staples Promotional Products (asi/120601), agreed to sell several of Office Depot’s European operations, including its contract distribution business as well as all operations in Sweden. Staples will also divest Office Depot’s European retail, online and catalog operations. Read Article
Delta Apparel Releases Q1 Financials
Supplier firm Delta Apparel (asi/49172) announced that net sales increased 2.5% in its fiscal first quarter of 2016, which ended January 2. The figure is adjusted to remove sales in the prior year’s quarter that were attributed to the company’s “The Game” business, which was sold in March of 2015 to MV Sport (asi/68318).
The Joe Show: ASI Dallas Day 2
In this episode of The Joe Show, Product Editor Joe Haley shows off the distinctive products he spotted on the show floor during the ASI Show in Dallas. Don’t miss the RFID Blocking Aluminum Wallet, Pen with Three Ink Colors, Personal Safety Device and much more. WATCH THE JOE SHOW
CPSC Recalls Power Packs
The U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) has issued an official recall for Rockwood multifunction power packs due to the threat of the battery packs’ lithium ion batteries bursting during charging. About 500 units are being recalled, after Pottstown, PA-based Eastwood Co. received two reports of batteries bursting during charging and emitting black smoke, damaging carpeting and leaving a black mark on a wall.
The recalled Rockwood portable power packs from Eastwood, an automotive restoration solution provider that is not listed with ASI, allow users to charge a variety of electronic devices and car batteries. The power packs, manufactured in China, measure about 6” x 3” x 1” and have a black plastic cover with “Rockwood” printed in white on the top. A yellow and white danger label stretches across on the bottom, and item number 30554 is printed on the packaging.
The power packs have been sold in Eastwood stores in Chicago, Parma, OH, and Pottstown, PA, as well as online and in Eastwood’s catalog from January 2015 through October 2015.
“Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled power packs and return them to Eastwood (www.eastwood.com) for a full refund,” said the CPSC in an official recall statement.
Labor Dept.: New Jobs Slide in January
According to a Labor Department report, just 151,000 jobs were created in January, though the unemployment rate encouragingly fell to 4.9%. The total of 151,000 jobs created in January is substantially less than the original estimate of 190,000 for that month. Over 260,000 jobs were created in December, and 280,000 in November.
This report comes a month after the Federal Reserve approved its first interest rate hike in nine years. Fed officials have suggested the possibility of at least four rate hikes in 2016, while the market in general expects fewer than four or possibly none at all.
The declining unemployment rate, now at 4.9%, is a reflection of both increasing employment and potential employees leaving the workforce. But labor force participation rate did rise slightly to 62.7%, according to the report, and the number of workers who are not looking for work or working part-time remained at a consistent 9.9%.
“This is the first time that the unemployment rate has dipped below 5% in almost eight years,” said President Barack Obama in a speech on February 5, after the report was released. “Americans are working. All told, over the past years our businesses have added 14 million new jobs. Seventy-one straight months of private sector job growth extends the longest streak on record.”
Meanwhile, average weekly earnings rose 12 cents an hour, or 0.5% on a monthly basis, the equivalent of a 2.5% annualized increase.
“The unemployment rate ticked down, wages ticked up a bit. Net-net, this is a good report for the economy,” said Michael Arone, chief investment strategist for State Street Global Advisors’ US Intermediary Business, to CNBC. “Although the top-line number is certainly lower than people were expecting, we’re coming off a couple months of 200,000-plus jobs, so a little mean reversion was expected.”
5 Ways to Boost Social Media Efforts
It’s clear that social media is here to stay. A recent survey from research firm eMarketer estimated that about three-quarters of all U.S. companies have some presence on social media. So, if your company hasn’t developed a social sharing strategy, it’s likely to be outpaced rather quickly today.
“Customers conduct their research online,” says Jason Parks, owner of Columbus, OH-based digital marketing firm The Media Captain. “We live in a digital age, and if you’re not on social, you’re not taking any steps to increase your brand voice or visibility.”
Getting started can be frustrating. How do you make your message stand out amid the cacophony of the digital world? How do you attract followers and convert them into customers? Use these five strategies to boost your social media marketing.
Take The State of the Industry Survey
Counselor is currently polling professionals in the industry – both distributors and suppliers – to find out how the market did in 2015 and to get impressions on where the industry is headed in 2016. We need your input. Please take some time to go to www.StateoftheIndustry.com and complete the annual State of the Industry survey. Your responses will remain anonymous, and you'll be helping to create Counselor's annual State of the Industry report.
Nominate Now For Fastest-Growing Companies Awards
Has your company been experiencing incredible growth over the past few years? We’d like to hear from you. Nominate your company for Counselor’s annual recognition of the Top 10 Fastest-Growing Companies in the industry. Questions? Email Karen Akers at firstname.lastname@example.org.
ASI’s NEW event, Engage West,is just around the corner – don’t miss it: March 14-16 at the Anaheim Marriott in Anaheim, CA.
At Engage West, the first two days are open to 75 four- and five-star suppliers and 200 prequalified ASI distributor members who personally sell $300K+ in promotional products and who will meet in small groups. If you’re interested in attending, click here to be pre-qualified and invited. Once pre-qualified and invited, you’ll receive FREE hotel accommodations; breakfast, lunch and a cocktail reception for the first two days; and up to a $250 travel voucher to help offset your travel costs!
If you don’t sell over $300,000 a year, or if you are in the area and want to join us for the day, come out for Engagement Day 3, offering an Engagement Hall with tabletop exhibits – ALL distributors can attend for FREE. Register today for Engagement Day 3 using promo code Promogram.
For more information and the full schedule for Engage West, visit www.asiengage.com or call 800-546-3300.
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