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Games grow, but boys biz tumbles at Hasbro

BY CSA STAFF

PAWTUCKET, R.I. — Strength in the games category enabled Hasbro to increase first quarter revenues by 2% to $664 million compared to $649 million for the same period last year.

First quarter revenues were negatively affected by $3 million due to the impact of foreign exchange and one less week in the reporting period. The first quarter 2013 was a 13-week period compared to the first quarter 2012, which was a 14-week period.

The company also reported a nearly $7 million loss for the quarter, more than double a $3 million loss the prior year. However, on an adjusted basis to exclude pre-tax charges of $29 million associated with restructuring actions as well as favorable tax adjustment of $6 million, net earnings increased 30% to nearly $7 million compared to net earnings of $5 million.

“We entered 2013 with a heightened focus on our brands, organization and profitability, and delivered a good start to the year,” said Hasbro president and CEO Brian Goldner. “In the first quarter, our global Hasbro teams generated revenue growth and strong underlying profitability growth. We are creating innovative consumer experiences across our brand blueprint globally while improving efficiencies and focus throughout our business.”

Goldner also indicated the company’s emerging markets continued to post double-digit revenue gains while the U.S. and Canada team delivered revenue growth and profitability improvement. The re-invention of our Hasbro’s games business led to another quarter of revenue growth and brand innovation and new initiatives delivered gains in the Girls and Preschool categories.

The games category was the company’s top performer with sales advancing 26% to $231 million due to the popularity of properties such as Magic: The Gathering, Angry Birds Star Wars, Transformers, Twister and Monopoly. The girl’s segment was a close second to games with sales advancing 23% to $115 million with strength from Furby, My Little Pony and One Direction.

It was a different story in the boy’s category where sales declined by 20% to $243 million as several unidentified brands faced weakness. The preschool category grew by 8% to $75.2 million, led by Play-Doh and Playskool Heroes.

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Rite Aid revamps website

BY CSA STAFF

CAMP HILL, Pa. — Rite Aid has redesigned its website to provide customers with easier access to online pharmacy services and health and wellness information.

"Today’s customer expects more from their online experience than ever before, so it’s critical that our website not only meets but exceeds their expectations," Rite Aid COO Ken Martindale said. "More than just a new look and feel, the new Riteaid.com reinforces our brand commitment to the health and wellness of our customers. Designed with them in mind, Riteaid.com offers a friendly and highly personal experience, whether customers are managing their Wellness+ account, shopping our online store or managing their prescriptions."

The company worked with Razorfish Healthware on the site redesign. Any part of the website is now accessible in three or fewer clicks, and important areas like the pharmacy, Wellness+ and the online store are displayed in the header, while drop-down menus offer convenient access to information and services. Features include a new Wellness+ dashboard, which offers data-driven, real-time member status, savings summaries, integration with a member’s pharmacy profile, targeted offers, product recommendations, "portlet" programs for wellness rewards and Load2Card coupons and +UP Rewards. The site also includes simplified navigation in its e-commerce section, with improved product photography, color-coded product categories and greater emphasis on new items.

"Our internal research showed that 80% of visitors to Riteaid.com also visited a Rite Aid store, meaning the online experience we provide is a key driver of our in-store business," Martindale said. "By creating a website that is easy, informative and engaging, we’re not only elevating the Riteaid.com online experience; we’re setting a solid foundation for growth of our in-store business too."

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Snyder’s celebrates National Pretzel Day

BY CSA STAFF

HANOVER, Pa. — Synder’s of Hanover is using the 30th anniversary of National Pretzel Day to create a series of nationwide events to engage with consumers.

Events on April 26 will be held at Penn Relays in Philadelphia, Pa., the world’s largest track and field meet; Bicentennial Plaza at the Inner Harbor in Baltimore, Md.; Fountain Square in Cincinnati, Ohio; the Minnesota Twins baseball game at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minn.; and the San Diego Zoo in front of the Zoo’s Kids Store. Attendees at these events nationwide will be able to sample three of Snyder’s flavored pretzel pieces — Honey Mustard & Onion, Hot Buffalo Wing and Bacon Cheddar — at an old-fashioned pretzel cart with a modern twist. Consumers can also earn free giveaway items, like pretzel-shaped glasses or "I Tasted How Great a Pretzel Can Be" T-shirts in exchange for sharing a picture on Instagram or Twitter with hashtag #NationalPretzelDay while at the events.

"Pretzels have a rich history tied into celebrations and traditions, from weddings in Switzerland to New Year’s Day celebrations in Germany as well as Christmas and Easter traditions in Austria," said Bob Gould, marketing manager for Snyder’s of Hanover. "At Snyder’s of Hanover, we are starting a new tradition this National Pretzel Day by introducing consumers to our boldly flavored Pretzel Pieces."

According to various sources, pretzels were created by monks in 610 A.D. by forming scraps of dough to represent a child’s arms folded in prayer. Eventually, the tradition of pretzel-baking was brought to Pa. and the birth of hard pretzels came about after a baker’s apprentice overcooked them.

Since then, the traditional twisted shape of pretzels has been the inspiration for U.S. dance moves, furniture, songs, roller coaster rides, parks and city names. Snyder’s of Hanover, however, has not limited its pretzel products to just this traditional shape. The more than hundred-year-old pretzel brand offers more than 30 pretzel varieties, flavors and shapes that include rods, checkerboard designs, pretzel sandwiches with peanut butter or cheddar cheese filling and bite-size pieces.

National Pretzel Day was initially declared in 1983 by U.S. Representative Robert S. Walker of Lancaster County, Pa., who proclaimed that his favorite food deserved a holiday. Former Pa. Governor Ed Rendell re-declared the holiday in 2003 to acknowledge the importance of the pretzel to the state’s history and economy. Today more than 80% of America’s pretzels are made in the state.

The National Pretzel Day sampling events and social media are a teaser for the Snyder’s of Hanover national TV and digital campaign that will launch in mid-May in 27 markets across the country, including the five cities where sampling events will take place. The focus of the campaign is Flavored Pretzel Pieces.

For details on the Snyder’s of Hanover National Pretzel Day events taking place on April 26, go to www.SnydersofHanover.com or the pretzel maker’s Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest pages.

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