Survey: Unclean restrooms can have negative impact on business
Retailers looking for a competitive advantage in these competitive times should consider their restrooms.
Half of U.S. adults believe that unclean restrooms at a company give a number of negative messages about how the company is run or how it treats its customers, according to Bradley Corp.’s annual Healthy Hand Washing Survey. And 56% of respondents said they are unlikely to return to a business — or will think twice about doing so — after experiencing an unclean or unpleasant restroom, they either will not return to that business or will think twice about doing so.
Nearly all Americans (92%) see a direct relationship between the quality of a company’s products and services and the quality of its restrooms. This is further supported by the fact that 88% believe that if a restaurant has unclean restrooms, the likelihood is that the kitchen is also unclean.
The survey also revealed that Americans don’t like touching things in public restrooms. Instead, they will various techniques, such as using a paper towel to operate a faucet, to avoid coming into contact with surfaces in a restroom.
Cleanliness topped the list of restroom improvements survey respondents would like to see, followed by touchless fixtures and better stocking of supplies, such as toilet paper, soap and paper towels.
“Most everyone has had a bad restroom experience and, unfortunately, it's usually something you don't forget," said Jon Dommisse, director of global marketing and strategic development at Bradley Corp. "The good news is that manufacturers, like Bradley, do listen to consumers' concerns and work to address them by creating new and innovative products."
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Extreme value retailer continues to expand
Ollie’s Bargain Outlet Holdings Inc. is on track for store growth in 2017.
The retailer, which beat the Street in the fourth quarter, ended the year with a total of 234 stores in 19 states, an increase of 15.3% year over year. It expects to open 33 to 35 stores in 2017, with no planned closures.
Ollie’s reported fiscal fourth-quarter net income increased 52% to $24.4 million, surpassing Wall Street expectations.
Revenue rose 16.4% to $283.4 million in the period, which also beat Street forecasts. Same-store sales edged up 2%.
“Our fourth quarter results were very strong across the board and our business continues to perform at a very high level,” said Mark Butler, chairman and CEO, Ollie’s Bargain’s Outlet Holdings, which is based in Harrisburg, Pa.
For the year, the company reported profit of $59.8 million. Revenue was reported as $890.3 million.
“Looking ahead, we feel very good about the underlying trends in the business,” Butler said. “We work hard every day to further develop our vendor relationships and are confident in our ability to continue executing our long term goals of mid-teen unit growth, 1% to 2% comparable store sales growth and approximately 20% net income growth.”
Ollie's expects full-year earnings to be $1.12 to $1.15 per share, with revenue in the range of $1.02 billion to $1.03 billion.
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Luxe home furnishings retailer Q4 tops Street
Things are looking up at RH (formerly known as Restoration Hardware) which capped a busy year with better-than-expected results for its fourth quarter.
RH reported that revenue fell 9% to $586.7 million in the fourth quarter, beating analysts’ estimates.
Adjusted net income fell by nearly a third to $27.9 million, with adjusted earnings of $0.68 per share, also better than expected. The retailer said several one-time costs – including the launch of RH Modern – impacted its bottom line.
Full-year revenues edged up 1.2% to $2.13 billion. Brick-and-mortar sales rose 9%, but e-commerce and catalog revenues were down 7%.
RH, which has been working to improve its business, launched a number of new business initiatives in 2016, including RH Modern, RH Teen, RH Hospitality, the rollout of “design ateliers” in its stores and the addition of the Waterworks brand, which it purchased in April 2016, to its platform. All of these new initiatives are expected to contribute to growth in 2017 and beyond, the company said.
"2016 was a year of transformation and transition at RH," stated CEO Gary Friedman. "We transformed our business from a promotional to a membership model that we believe will enhance our brand, streamline our operations, and vastly improve the customer experience. We also began the redesign of our supply chain network, transitioning inventory into fewer facilities, which enabled us to forgo building a planned distribution center scheduled to open in 2017.”
The retailer is optimistic about its future. For the year, RH forecast earnings of $1.78 to $2.19 a share on revenue of $2.3 billion to $2.4 billion. Analysts forecast $1.94 a share on revenue of $2.33 billion.
Friedman noted that in contrast to the transformation and transition that characterized 2016, 2017 will be a year of execution, architecture, and cash flow at RH.
“Our focus will be on executing our new business model, architecting a new back-end operating platform, and maximizing cash flow,” he said. “While our investment strategy will always maintain a long-term view, we believe we can improve working capital and returns by having a more disciplined approach to capital allocation.”
The company is reducing its new store openings to three to five per year, which is expected to drive “high-quality sustainable growth, while lowering capital requirements and execution risk over the course of our real estate transformation,” Friedman said.
As of January 28, 2017, RH operated a total of 85 retail locations.
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