Paper and Publishing News – January 2014

January is flying by and we hope you have settled into the year and looking forward to spring. At Gould we’re continuing to enhance our services by improving our on-line customer system, enabling access via our website to view forecasts, paper usage statistics and stock information, plus the ability to generate reports.

We’ll also continue utilising our various social media platforms and have recently enhanced our company Facebook page, please visit us using the following link www.facebook.com/gouldpublications and ‘Like’ our page!

Best Wishes, Mandy and all at Gould UK

Paper

With the world returning to work after the festive period news is announced that Verso has acquired the New Page mill group for in excess of $1.4billion; this finally puts to rest the speculation that has been rolling throughout 2013, ever since New Page emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

Verso has recently published a market overview of capacity changes during the period 2011 to 2013 which highlighted the growing closures of woodfree & part mechanical grades across Europe and the USA:


European - CWF = 1.144m/tnes P/Mech = 1471m/tnes
USA – CWF = 203000tns P/Mech = 642000tns

New Page also announced that it will shut PM12 at their Maine site, in February 2014, for a yet to be stated time period. This will take >100000tpa of coated freesheet & speciality packaging grades out of the market.

Publishing - Catalogue – Retail - Mail Order

Cat News

Scotts of Stowe teamed up with e-commerce provider YUDU to launch catalogue apps to support their retail brands in time for Christmas. Scotts had seen a shift of over 20% in website access from tablets, but conversion rates were less than 50% of those from desktop based computers. The hope is for the new style access to ramp up the conversion rate.

Ed Watson, formerly PR Director at Debenhams plc, is to join the N Brown Group as Global Communications Director in the Spring. He will be responsible for innovative and creative promotion of the Group’s brand image both in the UK and internationally.

Retail News

The electronic technology in-store iPad take over at Argos stores failed to materialise at 6 test stores, resulting in chaos and complaints by customers. This came as a worst case scenario for them following reports that many consumers have been avoiding stores with this type of technology due to reliability issues.

At the same time, Tesco have introduced smartphone technology to view items, scan the QR code, and then click and collect the following day. This follows on from overall sales falling for the supermarket chain.

Click & Collect technology still accounted for >20% of Christmas purchasing in a random market survey, which also identified the over 45s demographic group as the key users.

The start of the Annual Boxing Day High Street Sales got under way as early as Christmas Eve, with on-line sales on Christmas Day alone being in excess of £270million. On Boxing Day an additional £370million was spent from home, rather than joining the High Street queues.

Publishing News

Playboy magazine celebrated its 60th anniversary featuring Kate Moss in a bunny costume on the front cover.

More SciFi reading hit the news stands, as De Agostini launched Star Wars Fact File partwork. This follows closely on the partwork launches from Eagle Moss of Dr Who & Star Trek.

Women’s Weekly is launching three new monthly magazines – Craft, Knitting & Crochet, and Classics.

News UK (newspaper division of News Corp) has posted pre-tax losses of £99m for the year ending June ’13: Some £88m of this are one-off charges related to the alleged phone hacking controversy.

Environmental

News on the FSC soon to be introduced Online Claims Platform (OCP) seems to suggest further adjustments to the timetable, but new certificate holders will be subjected to the process as from January 2014.

Since existing certificate holders do not join in until at least Q3 or Q4 of 2014, it means that interface with suppliers will not work for newly certified members. Furthermore Eugropa (European Merchants Organisation) have joined the battle against making OCP mandatory in an open letter to FSC.

Printing

KBA, one of the world’s largest machine manufacturers, have implemented a strategic restructure to improve profitability, however this will probably result in the loss of some 1500 jobs across their world wide network.

Website Leeds (including Glynn Print) went into receivership in December, leaving suppliers counting the cost of another industry debt. Rumoured that it will be another phoenix from the ashes sometime in early 2014.