Avery denies Indian joint venture
Reports in the Indian press that Avery Dennison was planning to enter into a joint venture partnership with a major Indian retail group have been described as "baseless" by the company.
On 16 June, the Indian Economic Times reported that Avery had tied up a deal with Reliance Retail – Office Depot’s new partner in India – to provide Avery’s products and services directly to business customers in India.
In addition, it was also reported that the joint venture would include opening standalone stores across the country.
When contacted by OPI following the ‘news’, Avery Dennison executives admitted that they had been "surprised" by the reports and, after gathering more detailed facts behind the story at a local level, the company issued the following statement: "The Economic Times story on Avery Dennison and Reliance Retail was inaccurate. The report of a joint venture between the two companies is baseless and the two companies have not formed a partnership.
"Avery Dennison does not discuss possible partnerships with other firms unless it has an announcement to make. We have no announcement to make."
OfficeMax slashes in-store management
OfficeMax is to axe an average of three management jobs in each of its 900 US stores.
The embattled office supply company announced in June that 2,700 assistant manager and supervisor jobs are to go.
In larger stores, some newer – and lower paid – specialist in-store positions will be created to give advice to customers on purchases of more complicated items such as office furniture and technology products.
According to spokesman Bill Bonner, OfficeMax wants to put more people on the floor and reduce management overlap.
The reductions process is expected to be completed almost immediately.
FedEx drops Kinko’s name
FedEx has changed the name of FedEx Kinko’s copy and office service centres to FedEx Office.
In dropping the Kinko’s brand, FedEx said that it will take a charge of $891 million relating to the use of the trade name and to goodwill from Kinko’s acquisition in 2004.
The company added that the FedEx Office name better describes the wide range of services available at its retail centres and also takes full advantage of the FedEx brand.
"Kinko’s was primarily a copy and print service provider when it was acquired in 2004," said Brian Philips, President/CEO of FedEx Office.
"The name FedEx Office more accurately represents our broader role of providing superior information and services," he added.
Rebranding of the centres will be carried out over the next few years, though no specific timetable was given.
Earlier this year, the firm announced that it was slowing the rate of expansion from about 300 locations in FY 2008 to 70 in fiscal 2009.
Carlin expanding franchise network
Madrid-based multi-channel OP operator Carlin is expanding its franchise network both in its home market and abroad.
In Spain, the company opened five new franchised stores in May, bringing the total number in the country to 459.
Meanwhile in Portugal, the company is aiming to capture ten new franchisees over the next year after expanding its distribution capabilities near the country’s capital. A substantial €600,000 ($930,000) facility has been established on the outskirts of Lisbon, incorporating a 8,000 sq ft warehouse, a pilot store and offices.
Carlin currently operates 28 stores in Portugal.
Japanese mail order company Askul has released preliminary results for its financial year with total sales increasing by 7.6 percent to just over ¥189 billion ($1.8 billion).
Askul said that during the year, the total number of customers it serves increased by over 9 percent, while average sales per customer rose slightly by 0.1 percent. The company continues to develop its online sales which now account for 54.3 percent of the total, compared to 50.5 percent in 2007. Askul is also pushing its own brand products which now represent around 12 percent of total sales.
Double deal for Depot in Asia
Office Depot has increased its presence in Asia with an acquisition and the signing of a strategic partnership.
In Thailand, Office Depot has propelled itself to the number one spot in the local office supplies retail market following the acquisition by its local operator Central Retail Corporation (CRC) of previous market leader Makro Office Centre.
The $10 million agreement, which came into effect on 1 June, will see 16 Makro Office Centre stores rebranded into Office Depot shopping outlets over the next six months or so, bringing the total number of Office Depot stores in the country to 35.
CRC EVP Ivor Morton said that the expanded operations would have annual sales of around $80 million, approximately 14 percent of the retail market for office supplies in Thailand.
Meanwhile, the Delray Beach, Florida-based global player has entered into a strategic alliance with bigboXX.com, a leading online B2B supplier of office products in Hong Kong.
"Hong Kong is a key market for many global companies and the new relationship between Office Depot and bigboXX.com will provide a complete procurement solution for both new and existing customers," said Teddy Chung, Managing Director for Office Depot Asia.
bigboXX.com was established in 2000 and is a wholly-owned subsidiary of industrial conglomerate Hutchison Whampoa.
It is one of the largest office suppliers in Hong Kong and has over 40,000 corporate customers.
United opens new Orlando DC
United Stationers has opened a new 400,000 sq ft distribution centre in Orlando, Florida.
The new facility, which will accommodate the distribution needs for customers of both United Stationers Supply and LagasseSweet, replaces existing United facilities in Jacksonville and Tampa, and a smaller LagasseSweet facility in Orlando.
"The new warehouse is designed to better meet the growing needs and changing demographics of our customers in Florida and southern Georgia," said Chris James, General Operations Manager.
The facility stocks 30,000 SKUs and $16 million worth of inventory. It has the capacity to process over 2.3 million lines of merchandise per year, a significant upgrade from the capabilities of the separate Jacksonville and Tampa buildings, according to United.
Sequana announces reorganisation
Paper group Sequana has announced organisational changes at its Antalis and Arjowiggins subsidiaries which, it said, are designed to improve efficiency and promote synergies between the two businesses.
The main changes will occur at Arjowiggins, which will now be headed by Sequana CEO Pascal Lebard following the announcement that Charles Dehelly has stepped down from his CEO role.
The paper-making unit’s divisions will be given greater autonomy and focus on five areas – graphic papers; fine and thin papers; coated paper US; security; industrial solutions.
Arjowiggins’ fine and thin paper activities will eventually be integrated within Antalis and the two businesses are considering signing a commercial agreement regarding coated paper and recycled coated paper activities in Europe.
Sequana wants Arjowiggins to benefit more from Antalis’ established distribution network in Europe.
A review of Arjowiggins’ business lines will be conducted and this could lead to the sell-off of some assets, the company announced.
Staples opens first South American store
Almost four years after acquiring local player Officenet, the first Staples-branded store opened recently in South America. The 4,000 sq ft store was opened in Buenos Aires, Argentina in mid-May by the US ambassador to the country, Earl Anthony Wayne. The store employs 20 staff and represents an investment of around $1.5 million for Staples.
The company said that it is looking to open in the region of 20 stores in Argentina over the next three years and also announced plans to open four outlets in Brazil next year. (Buenos Aires, Argentina)
Sam’s Club to test new concept store
Wal-Mart’s Sam’s Club is to test a new concept store aimed solely at small businesses. The trial of new store concept, known as Sam’s Club Business Centre, will begin in July at an existing Sam’s Club location in Houston. The business centres will cater to small business customers only and will stock bulk items such as office supplies and food needed by restaurants, local stores, offices and other businesses. (Bentonville, AK, USA)
Stora Enso profits halve
Stora Enso said that operating profit excluding non-recurring items for the second quarter of 2008 is expected to be about half the 1223 million ($334 million) achieved in the same period 2007. The company attributed the drop to the continued poor performance in the wood products business area, higher pulpwood costs, impacts from escalating oil prices, negative foreign exchange movements and the effects of maintenance and technical stoppages during the second quarter of 2008. (Helsinki, Finland)