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FACILITIES

Survey: Unclean restrooms can have negative impact on business

BY Marianne Wilson

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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JoeKefauver
Insights

Washington Spotlight

BY Joe Kefauver

Later this week, the nomination of Alexander Acosta to be the next Secretary of Labor will likely be voted out of the Senate HELP Committee and head for confirmation on the Senate floor. The administration made headlines just prior to his confirmation hearings outlining cuts to the Department of Labor budget in the neighborhood of $2.5 Billion or roughly 20%.

If the cuts are sustained, they likely will come at the expense of job training and similar programs. One area that we know will be pared back, one way or the other, is enforcement, specifically in the Wage & Hour division.

The Obama Administration pursued a program of zealous enforcement of violations, specifically “working off the clock” and meal and rest breaks whereby they classified such infractions as “wage theft.” While the Acosta said little in this regard during his confirmation, hearing, operators and other retailers can expect a “climate change” in the enforcement environment.

But before business owners think the heat is off, think again. Since the labor community was quite supportive of the Obama administration’s approach to enforcement, they put relatively little pressure on enforcement mechanisms at the state and local level.

That will change now. We should expect many state attorneys general, especially those in big, blue populous states like California, New York, Illinois and others to get into the game and pick up the mantle. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has already been aggressive in this space and filed numerous actions against employers, even putting a franchisee from a prominent restaurant chain in jail. Schneiderman and others will now ramp it up.

Expect “wage theft” to become a common refrain among state and local agencies, as well as policymakers. Enforcement is enforcement and whether it happens at the federal or state/local level, it will happen nonetheless.

Plaintiffs attorneys will also get in the game in a bigger way and fill the gaps. Operators and retailers need to maintain vigilance when it comes to compliance and in this regard, pretend the election never happened.


Joe Kefauver is managing partner of Align Public Strategies, a full-service public affairs and creative firm that helps corporate brands, governments and nonprofits navigate the outside world and inform their internal decision-making. Align specializes in service sector industries.

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Ollies
FINANCE

Extreme value retailer continues to expand

BY Marianne Wilson

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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B.Lackey says:
Mar-29-2017 07:41 pm

Please open a Ollie's Bargain Outlet in Colorado Springs
We would love to have an Ollie's right here in Colorado Springs! Please consider.

B.Lackey says:
Mar-29-2017 07:41 pm

We would love to have an Ollie's right here in Colorado Springs! Please consider.

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