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Does 24/7 Connectivity Equal Increased Productivity?

Does 24/7 Connectivity Equal Increased Productivity?

Randstad survey shows the majority of women disagree

ATLANTA, Feb. 19, 2013, With technology increasingly blurring the lines between work and home and women assuming more prominent roles at work, a survey released today by Randstad US reveals that constant connectivity does not mean increased productivity for women workers.

Randstad’s latest Engagement Index study reveals that while 42 percent of women believe it is increasingly difficult to disconnect from work while at home, the majority (68 percent) do not believe that the blurring of lines between work and home has increased their productivity.

“As enhanced technologies and increased access to information continues to blur the lines between our professional and personal lives, many workers mistake being busy for being productive,” said Linda Galipeau, Randstad CEO of North America. “These are two very different concepts that when looked at from an organizational standpoint—could have serious implications for a company’s bottom line. We are only productive if we’re producing the results that are most impactful to our goals. Being that we live in a multi-tasking world, it is important to work smarter and hone in on those high-impact efforts that will create more meaningful results. This is incredibly important, especially as women and men can now perform their jobs from almost anywhere.”

Other notable findings:

Flexible Working Arrangements and Policies Among Prime Benefits For Women

  • Forty-nine percent of women say their company is flexible and accommodating in terms of hours or working arrangements. Additionally, 33 percent of female respondents feel this is one of the most effective ways to engage them.

Women Cite the Top Asset in Growing Their Careers

  • In terms of the skills important to growing their careers, half of women surveyed (50 percent) chose flexibility/adaptability, followed by encompassing computer and technology skills (43 percent).

On-the-Job Relationships Impact Career Happiness

  • Women value their relationships with colleagues and supervisors. Relationships with their colleagues (87 percent) and direct supervisors (85 percent) have a big impact on their happiness with their jobs.

Randstad recently launched its Women Powering Business section on its Workforce360 thought leadership site. This section includes the latest research and trends shaping the way women work. For more information, as well as other research insights, advice and career resources, visit www.randstadusa.com/workforce360.

Methodology
The Randstad Engagement Index is comprised of findings from quarterly waves of research targeting employees and annual surveys of employers. The sixth wave of findings was conducted November 1-13, 2012 from a national sample of 3,417 aged 18 and older who are currently employed full time from Ipsos’ U.S. online panel were interviewed online.

Weighting was used to balance demographics and ensure samples reflect the U.S. population of working adults.

Employees and employers were surveyed to compare notable differences in perceptions and attitudes. Multiple waves of research allow for trending and to track changes in perceptions and attitudes over time. Research into employee attitudes and perceptions will be conducted quarterly. Research into employer attitudes and perceptions will be conducted on an annual basis.

About Ipsos Public Affairs
Ipsos Public Affairs is a non-partisan, objective, survey-based research practice which conducts strategic research initiatives for a diverse number of American and international organizations, based on public opinion research. They are the international polling agency of record for Thomson Reuters, the world’s leading source of intelligent information for businesses and professionals. To learn more, visit: www.ipsos-pa.com.

About Randstad US
Randstad is a $22.5 billion global provider of HR services and the second largest staffing organization in the world. From temporary staffing to permanent placement to inhouse, professionals, search & selection, and HR Solutions, Randstad holds top positions around the world and has approximately 28,700 corporate employees working from its nearly 4,700 branches and inhouse locations in 40 countries. Founded in 1960 and headquartered in Diemen, the Netherlands, Randstad Holding nv is listed on the NYSE Euronext Amsterdam. Learn more at http://www.randstad.com.

SOURCE: Randstad

 

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Annual Car Sales Strength Expected To Slow

Annual Car Sales Strength Expected To Slow Following Three-Year Trend Of Double-Digit Growth, According To Kelley Blue Book Analysts

Industry Sales Will Continue to Outpace Economic Growth; Affordable Pricing and Credit Environment Keeps Consumers Coming Back

IRVINE, California, Feb. 13, 2013, New-vehicle sales are expected to grow nearly 6 percent in 2013 to 15.3 million units overall, breaking the three-year trend of double-digit sales growth that has persisted since 2010, according to Kelley Blue Book www.kbb.com, the leading provider of new and used car information.

“Although the sales pace is expected to slow this year, automakers have demonstrated that they can generate solid profits with sales at current levels, which is a strong indication that they will remain disciplined by continuing to match production to meet demand,” said Alec Gutierrez , senior market analyst of automotive insights for Kelley Blue Book . “Sales growth won’t come easily, especially considering the challenges facing the industry in today’s economy. While economic growth is expected to arrive slowly in 2013, there are several indications that point toward solid auto industry sales growth in the years ahead.”

Among the various factors contributing to the ongoing recovery, Kelley Blue Book believes that pent-up demand, high used-vehicle values, improving credit availability and low interest rates all have played a direct role in the auto industry’s ability to outperform the economy. Each of these factors has been critical to-date and will continue to drive sales this year and beyond.

Kelley Blue Book: New-Car Sales to Hit 15.3 Million Units in 2013

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

Annual Sales Volume   (Millions)

16.1

13.2

10.4

11.6

12.8

14.5

15.3

Auto Industry Sales Will Continue to Outpace Economic Growth
The economy has come a long way since nearly collapsing in late 2008, yet a long road to recovery remains. At the depths of the recession in 2009, the unemployment rate hit a 30-year high of 10 percent, new-vehicle sales hit a 30-year low of 10.4 million units, and the Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index hit an all-time low of 25 (for perspective, in 1985 the index was at 100). Some feared the onset of a second Great Depression in 2009, and while a repeat of the 1930s doesn’t appear to be in the cards, the nation still has a long way to go before the economy is completely back on its feet.

Today unemployment remains at an uncomfortably high 7.8 percent, while consumer confidence is below 60, which is notably better than in 2009 but well below the 4.5 percent unemployment rate and 100+ consumer confidence readings from 2007. This is important to note since 2007 was the final year of a 10-year span in which the auto industry consistently posted sales of 16 million units or more. Although the economy has recovered slowly and still has a long way to go before unemployment and consumer confidence are back to levels last seen in 2007, Kelley Blue Book doesn’t see a reason why auto sales cannot continue to outperform the pace of the economic recovery.

“Looking at the historical relationship between unemployment and auto sales from the 1980s through 2007, unemployment would need to be below 6 percent to generate auto sales of 16 million units or more,” said Gutierrez. “According to estimates from the Federal Reserve, unemployment only will drop down to 7.4 percent in 2013 at best; a point that would historically justify sales of only 13 million to 14 million units. However, since 2010, new-car sales have outperformed their traditional relationship with unemployment, which means that sales in excess of 15 million units clearly are attainable.”

Auto sales also have outperformed their historical relationship to consumer confidence by a significant margin. Despite expectations for consumer confidence to remain well below levels historically required to justify sales of 15 million units or more, Kelley Blue Book believes auto sales will continue to grow as predicted provided that consumer confidence remains stable.

Pent-Up Demand Drives Growth Since 2010, Will Persist in 2013
While economic growth has remained relatively weak and only explains part of the auto sales recovery, Kelley Blue Book sees pent-up demand playing a more critical role in the rebirth of the industry. According to Polk, registered vehicles in the United States are 11 years old on average; the oldest ever recorded. The increase in vehicle age can be attributed to two key trends. First, vehicles have grown much older as consumers have opted to hold onto them longer, due to the weakened economy. Consumers have focused on deleveraging after the collapse of the real estate bubble, and unless they require a replacement or the model no longer meets the needs of its owners, many are choosing to hold on to their vehicle rather than acquire additional debt to purchase an all-new vehicle. This leads directly to the second major influence of increased vehicle age, which is improved vehicle quality.

Aging Vehicles to Continue to Generate Demand in 2013

2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

Avg. Registered

Vehicle Age

8.9

8.9

9

9.1

9.4

9.5

9.7

9.8

10

10.3

10.6

10.8

Source: Polk

“Vehicles produced during the past few model years are significantly higher in quality than those produced in previous decades,” said Gutierrez. “In the 1990s, consumers came to expect a vehicle produced by a Japanese manufacturer to last 100,000 miles and beyond. Now we can say the same about vehicles produced by all manufacturers. Whether shopping for a Toyota, Honda, Chevrolet, Ford or Hyundai, consumers can be reasonably assured that their vehicle will hit 100,000 miles with ease, and 200,000 miles or more with proper maintenance and care.”

With consumers delaying the purchase of a new vehicle due to economic hardship and improved vehicle quality, Kelley Blue Book expects the average age of vehicles on the road to continue to increase. As vehicles continue to get older and economic conditions slowly improve, buyers are expected to continue to return to market.

Leasing to Aid Sales Growth in 2013
When auto sales hit their low point in 2009, leasing all but dried up. The lack of lease returns during the past several years has played a pivotal role in the used-vehicle supply shortfall that has driven used-vehicle values to record highs. The reduced lease returns also have limited the number of consumers that traditionally would be seeking a new vehicle at the end of their lease term. While this reduced the number of in-market shoppers in recent years, Kelley Blue Book anticipates this trend to begin to reverse in 2013. Leasing bounced back in 2010, increasing nearly 700,000 units year-over-year. Kelley Blue Book believes that the return in leasing will generate as many as 300,000 additional in-market shoppers this year, a number that will increase in 2014 and beyond. With lease returns expected to approach more normal levels during the next few years, Kelley Blue Book anticipates new-vehicle sales to grow and used-vehicle values to soften.

Kelley Blue Book: Increase in Lease Returns to

Drive Boost in Demand for 2013

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

Total

Vehicles

Leased

2,446,569

2,453,189

1,935,910

1,083,619

1,709,149

1,960,128

2,284,800

Source: Kelley Blue Book Automotive Insights

Affordable Pricing and Credit Environment Keeps Consumers Coming Back
Consumers looking to purchase a new vehicle in 2013 will find affordable pricing on some of the best vehicles being produced today. On average, consumers can expect to find new vehicles priced at approximately 94 percent of MSRP, not including incentives. Not only are transaction prices quite favorable for consumers, but interest rates also remain at historically low levels.

“Consumers with a solid credit history should have no trouble obtaining a loan for 3 percent or less for up to 72 months,” said Gutierrez. “Many automakers continue to offer loans of zero percent for up to 60 months, as well as rock-bottom lease payments around $160 per month for a compact and only a few dollars north of $200 per month for a mid-size.”

Leases accounted for approximately 18 percent of all vehicles sold in 2012, returning to levels regularly seen prior to the collapse in industry sales in 2009. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke indicated that interest rates will remain near zero through at least 2015, so consumers looking for a new vehicle can expect to find affordable pricing on new models for several years to come.

The affordability of new vehicles has been made even more attractive by the high values maintained by used cars. Although approximately 8 percent below the all-time highs seen in 2011, late-model used-car values remain uncomfortably close to new-car transaction prices, influencing many consumers to purchase new rather than used. This phenomenon is most pronounced for high-demand vehicles such as subcompact, compact and mid-size cars. These vehicles all have been significantly upgraded in recent years and generate excellent fuel economy for an affordable price. As a result, they have maintained extraordinarily strong values in the used-car market. In fact, the difference between a five-year payment on a new car and a 1- to 2-year-old used model is as little as $30 per month apart in some cases. Kelley Blue Book expects used-car values to continue to ease from current highs, so this phenomenon likely will play less of a role in the years ahead.

Kelley Blue Book: New-Car Pricing Remains

Near Used-Car Pricing

MY2013
(New)

MY 2012 (Used)

MY2011

MY2010

MY2009

MY2008

Average Monthly

Payment for a Compact

$335

$302

$280

$253

$224

$202

Source: Kelley Blue Book Automotive Insights

For more information and news from Kelley Blue Book ‘s KBB.com, visit www.kbb.com/media/, follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/kelleybluebook (or @kelleybluebook), like our page on Facebook at www.facebook.com/kbb, and get updates on Google+ at https://plus.google.com/+kbb/.

About Kelley Blue Book (www.kbb.com)
Founded in 1926, Kelley Blue Book, The Trusted Resource®, is the only vehicle valuation and information source trusted and relied upon by both consumers and the industry. Each week the company provides the most market-reflective values in the industry on its top-rated website www.kbb.com, including its famous Blue Book® Trade-In and Suggested Retail Values and Fair Purchase Price, which reports what others are paying for new cars this week. The company also provides vehicle pricing and values through various products and services available to car dealers, auto manufacturers, finance and insurance companies as well as governmental agencies. KBB.com provides consumer pricing and information on cars for sale, minivans, pickup trucks, sedan, hybrids, electric cars, and SUVs. Kelley Blue Book Co., Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of AutoTrader Group.

SOURCE:

Kelley Blue Book

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McDonald’s Global Comparable Sales Decrease 1.9% In January

McDonald’s Global Comparable Sales Decrease 1.9% In January

OAK BROOK, Ill., Feb. 8, 2013, McDonald’s Corporation today announced that global comparable sales decreased 1.9% in January. Performance by segment was as follows:

  • U.S. up 0.9%
  • Europe down 2.1%
  • Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa (APMEA) down 9.5%

“McDonald’s is focused on satisfying the needs of each and every customer visiting our restaurants in search of great-tasting food and beverages, outstanding service and everyday value,” said McDonald’s President and Chief Executive Officer Don Thompson. “While January’s results reflect today’s challenging environment and difficult prior year comparisons, I am confident that our unwavering commitment to delivering an exceptional restaurant experience will enhance our brand’s relevance and drive long-term results.”

January comparable sales increased 0.9% in the U.S. driven by a balanced offering of premium, core and compelling value options, including the addition of the new Grilled Onion Cheddar burger to the Dollar Menu. Results for the month also benefited from convenience and restaurant modernization strategies designed to provide customers with a better overall experience.

In Europe, comparable sales decreased 2.1% as positive results in the U.K. and Russia were offset by performance in Germany, France and other markets. Throughout Europe, McDonald’s remains focused on appealing to a broad range of customer preferences with seasonal food events and enhanced value and breakfast offerings along with extended operating hours.

In APMEA, January’s comparable sales decreased 9.5% due to ongoing weakness in Japan and negative results in China due primarily to the shift in timing of Chinese New Year and, to a lesser extent, the residual effects of consumer sensitivity around the recent supply chain issue in the chicken industry, which more than offset positive results in Australia.

Systemwide sales for the month increased 0.3%, or 0.7% in constant currencies. For the month of February, comparable sales will be negatively impacted by approximately 3 percentage points as prior year results included one extra day due to leap year.

Percent   Increase/(Decrease)

Comparable

Systemwide   Sales

Sales

As

Constant

Month ended January   31,

2013

2012

Reported

Currency

McDonald’s Corporation

(1.9)

6.7

0.3

0.7

Major Segments:

U.S.

0.9

7.8

1.9

1.9

Europe

(2.1)

4.0

3.8

0.6

APMEA

(9.5)

7.3

(8.6)

(5.1)

Definitions

  • Comparable sales represent sales at all restaurants, whether operated by the Company or by franchisees, in operation at least thirteen months including those temporarily closed. Some of the reasons restaurants may be temporarily closed include reimaging or remodeling, rebuilding, road construction and natural disasters. Comparable sales exclude the impact of currency translation. Comparable sales are driven by changes in guest counts and average check, which is affected by changes in pricing and product mix. Management reviews the increase or decrease in comparable sales compared with the same period in the prior year to assess business trends.
  • The number of weekdays and weekend days can impact our reported comparable sales. In January 2013, this calendar shift/trading day adjustment consisted of one less Sunday and Monday, and one more Wednesday and Thursday compared with January 2012. The resulting adjustment varied by area of the world, ranging from approximately -0.9% to 0.8%. In addition, the timing of holidays can impact comparable sales.
  • Information in constant currency is calculated by translating current year results at prior year average exchange rates. Management reviews and analyzes business results excluding the effect of foreign currency translation and bases incentive compensation plans on these results because they believe this better represents the Company’s underlying business trends.
  • Systemwide sales include sales at all restaurants, whether operated by the Company or by franchisees. While franchised sales are not recorded as revenues by the Company, management believes the information is important in understanding the Company’s financial performance because these sales are the basis on which the Company calculates and records franchised revenues and are indicative of the financial health of the franchisee base.

Upcoming Communications

The Company plans to release February 2013 sales on March 8, 2013.

McDonald’s is the world’s leading global foodservice retailer with more than 34,000 locations serving more than 69 million customers in 119 countries each day. More than 80% of McDonald’s restaurants worldwide are owned and operated by independent local men and women.

Forward-Looking Statements

This release contains certain forward-looking statements, which reflect management’s expectations regarding future events and operating performance and speak only as of the date hereof. These forward-looking statements involve a number of risks and uncertainties. The factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from our expectations are detailed in the Company’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, such as its annual and quarterly reports and current reports on Form 8-K.

SOURCE:

McDonald’s Corporation

http://www.mcdonalds.com

 

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Survey Finds Large Spending By Consumers On Valentine’s Gifts

Majority of Consumers to Spend Up to $100 on Valentine’s Day Gifts, PriceGrabber® Survey Finds

36 Percent of Shoppers Plan to Compare Prices in-Store Using Mobile Phones

LOS ANGELES, Feb. 7, 2013, Online shopping site PriceGrabber® just released results of its 2013 Valentine’s Day Shopping Survey, revealing a majority of consumers plan to shower their loved ones with gifts this Valentine’s Day holiday. Sixty-two percent of consumers plan to spend up to $100 on gifts this year, a decrease from 68 percent in 2012. However, 36 percent of consumers plan to spend more than $100 compared to 28 percent in 2012. Conducted from Jan. 22 to Jan. 31, 2013, the survey includes responses from 2,251 U.S. online shopping consumers.

Valentine’s Day Shopping Budgets On Par or Slightly Higher than 2012
When consumers who plan to celebrate Valentine’s Day were asked about their spending habits compared with last year, 52 percent indicated they plan to spend the same amount as in 2012. Twenty-six percent will spend more, 17 percent will spend less, and 5 percent will not purchase a gift this year. According to PriceGrabber’s survey, the economic climate continues to be a relevant factor in shoppers’ mindsets, with 55 percent indicating the economy will have an effect on their Valentine’s Day purchasing decisions in 2013.

Consumers to Hit Stores and Shop Online for Gifts; Mobile Makes a Presence
Shoppers plan to purchase Valentine’s Day gifts in a variety of ways this year, with online and mobile shopping continuing to increase in popularity. When consumers were asked to select all of the ways in which they plan to purchase Valentine’s Day gifts, 69 percent indicated they would buy gifts from a store, up from 54 percent in 2012. Fifty-six percent of consumers said they would purchase gifts online, a significant increase from 34 percent last year. This was followed by 5 percent of shoppers that indicated a purchase via electronic tablet device, compared to 1 percent in 2012; and 4 percent cited a purchase using a mobile phone, a slight increase from 2 percent last year.

“Consumers continue to shop and conduct product research in advance of making purchases in order to find the best pricing on products. We expect this trend to continue as shoppers hit the stores and go online to make their Valentine’s Day gift purchases this year,” said Rojeh Avanesian, vice president of marketing and analytics of PriceGrabber.com. “Our survey showed that 36 percent of consumers plan to compare prices using their mobile phones when Valentine’s Day gift shopping in brick-and-mortar stores, a jump from 29 percent in 2012, revealing that consumers are increasingly using their mobile devices to look for the best deals.”

Many shoppers will celebrate with an evening out and purchase greeting cards
When consumers were asked to select all of the things they plan to spend money on during their Valentine’s Day celebration, 39 percent indicated they would spend money on an evening out. This was followed by 35 percent of shoppers who noted they would purchase a greeting card for a loved one; 22 percent will buy flowers; and 20 percent will purchase candy. Fourteen percent of consumers selected jewelry, another 14 percent cited clothing and an additional 14 percent said they plan to buy themed gifts, such as stuffed animals or a heart-shaped present.

Most will shop one week in advance and plan to use cash and credit cards for purchases
When consumers who plan to celebrate Valentine’s Day were asked when they plan to purchase their gifts, 43 percent said they will do so one week in advance. Twenty-five percent of shoppers will purchase gifts two weeks prior to Valentine’s Day, 22 percent will shop within 48 hours of the gift giving day, and 10 percent will shop three weeks prior. Cash and credit cards are the most popular forms of payment among consumers planning to buy Valentine’s Day gifts this year. When survey respondents were asked to select all of the ways in which they plan to pay for a gift purchase, 55 percent said a credit card and another 55 percent cited cash. Eleven percent of consumers indicated they will use gift cards to make purchases.

For shrewd shopping on any budget, visit http://www.pricegrabber.com to browse products, compare prices, read merchant reviews, find local deals, online deals, and more. Download the mobile application for smart shopping on the go.

INFOGRAPHIC: http://i.pgcdn.com/images/infographics/valentinesday2013.jpg

About PriceGrabber.com®
PriceGrabber is a leading online shopping site with more than 23 million unique shoppers monthly. At PriceGrabber, savvy shoppers can instantly find and compare over 80 million unique products and services across 25 categories with more than 11,000 merchants. Compare products side by side to find the right retailers at the best prices within popular categories, such as Digital Cameras, TVs, Electronics, Computers, Clothing, Books, and more. PriceGrabber provides shoppers with the right product from the right merchant at the best price anytime, anywhere. Visit us at http://www.pricegrabber.com.

SOURCE: PriceGrabber.com

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Diamondere Launched – “Jewelry is a Deeply Personal and Timeless Asset”

Jewelers To The Royals Since 1890 Launch Diamondere

BY ELIMINATING MIDDLEMEN, EVERYONE GETS ROYAL TREATMENT AT AFFORDABLE PRICES

PALO ALTO, Calif., Jan. 24, 2013, Jewelry is in the very DNA of Anish Godha , 23 and Varun Godha, 28. The recent entrepreneurial graduates of Stanford and Cornell are finally providing public access to their family’s 122 years of jewelry design and manufacturing with the launch of Diamondere.com, an affordable made-to-order fine jewelry e-commerce platform. In the past, their family focused exclusively on signature jewelry for the royals, dignitaries, and celebrities, which required significant personalization. With the surge of technological innovations like 3D printing and computer-aided design (CAD), the Diamondere platform now offers the same level of individual attention for rings, bracelets, earrings, necklaces and cufflinks to everyone.

For any design, buyers can choose from a variety of colored diamonds, colored gemstones, precious metals and engrave their purchases for free – all online and instant. Unlike its competitors, because the firm manufactures and distributes the jewelry itself, there are no middlemen and Diamondere can guarantee prices at least 30% lower than other online retailers and at least 50% lower than traditional retail. Some designs featuring colored gemstones like rubies, emeralds and sapphires are priced up to 75% lower than traditional retailers since the family procures the best gemstones themselves!

“Jewelry is a deeply personal and timeless asset. Diamondere enables customers to tell their own story with made-to-order, signature jewelry at a fraction of the price charged by others,” states Anish.

What makes Diamondere different from its competitors? Representing over 7 generations of designers, their personal library features more than 65,000 jewelry designs, out of which about 600 have been handpicked for the site. Each of these designs can be treated as templates. For instance, the same ring design that costs $15,000 with a diamond will cost $1,500 with a sapphire.

Customers can also work with the Diamondere Design Team to make further modifications to any design or even submit their own creations to be manufactured.

Besides the obvious savings to customers, Anish’s father continues the family’s tradition of personally searching throughout the world to find the best stones mined at the most affordable prices. This gives the customer a vast range of colored diamonds and colored gemstones in addition to the traditional white diamond, which is also offered.

Before Diamondere, a person had to be a Royal to have this level of personalized jewelry… now with Diamondere everyone gets the Royal treatment!

http://www.Diamondere.com

Contact: Kelly Fogelman Group 415 388 8009

Michele Kelly mkelly@kfgroup.net, Ed Fogelman ed@kfgroup.net

SOURCE: Diamondere