Business people : Andy Bigford Named Group Publisher of Bonnier’s Mountain Group

Boulder, CO -- Bonnier Corp. has tapped snow-sports veteran and SKI alumnus Andy Bigford as Group Publisher of its Mountain Group, which includes the SKI, Skiing and Skiing Business brands.

“Andy brings three decades of experience in mountain publishing to this group, plus firsthand knowledge of our flagship brand, SKI,” said Bonnier Corp. CEO Dave Freygang. “This market has great potential. And as he’s demonstrated throughout his career, he’ll bring success to the group.”

Previously at the group, Bigford served as Vice President and Editor-in-Chief of SKI from 1996 to 2003. During that time, he moved the magazine from New York City to Boulder, where the title experienced robust growth and broad success, earning more than 20 editorial awards. Bigford also forged strong relationships with marketing partners both inside and outside of the industry. In 2003, he was promoted to General Manager of Warren Miller Entertainment, where he headed up efforts to sign a new title sponsor and strengthen ticket sales.

In 2005, Bigford started his own publishing company and, while working in conjunction with Active Interest Media, served as editor and publisher of EpicLife (formerly Peaks) magazine for eight years. He also rejuvenated the SIA Snow Show Daily as its editor and publisher in 2011 and 2012, and spent four years as an adjunct professor of journalism at the University of Colorado.

“It’s great to be back,” said Bigford. “I’ve been passionate about the Mountain Group titles — and snow sports — my entire life. I look forward to reenergizing the entire group, and positioning the brands as the unrivaled leaders for this sport and lifestyle that we all love.”

SKI is the authority on resorts, equipment and instruction, while Skiing offers information, advice and fresh perspectives on the lifestyle of young-thinking, active skiers. Bonnier Corp.

(www.bonniercorp.com) is one of the largest consumer-publishing groups in the U.S. and is the leading media company serving passionate, highly engaged audiences through magazines, events, digital media and leading-edge products.

New products : Dynastar, New CHAM Women Skis to Debut at SIA

Hilaree O'Neill and Kit DesLauriers Named Global Ambassadors for Cham W

Park City, UT -- As two of the world's elite 8,000 meter alpinists, Hilaree O'Neill and Kit DesLauriers regularly put their lives on the line climbing and descending remote peaks in mountain ranges around the world.

Hilaree and Kit have become the global ambassadors for the new Cham W series, to be unveiled this week at the 2013 SIA tradeshow.

"Reliable, lightweight and user-friendly, the new Cham W skis are just so adaptable for everything I do. They can handle big-mountain descents confidently but still be that everyday, all-mountain ski when I'm just skiing the resort." - Hilaree O'Neill, Dynastar athlete, 8,000m Alpinist, Mother of two

Building off the award-winning Cham series, including Outside Magazine's "2013 Gear of the Year", the Cham 97, the all-new Cham W series features the same award-winning, next-generation rocker and sidecut technology combined with a lightweight Paulownia wood core construction.

The unique blend of long tip rocker, reverse sidecut at tip and tail, classic camber underfoot and flat pintail delivers more power, manueverability and float for all skier types. Combined with a 25% weight reduction, Cham W skis provide enhanced agility, versatility and ease-of-use that redefines "freeride".


Business people :Spyder Elevates Collier to SVP of Product and Design

Spyder Active Sports, Inc. has promoted J.J. Collier to senior vice president of product and design. In his new role, Collier will establish and execute the vision for the leading concept, design, and finishing for the skiwear and premium lifestyle apparel brand.

Moving forward, Collier will continue to draw on his unique background and also build upon the inspired design evolution he has led during his first three years at Spyder. A former professional snowsport athlete, Collier is intimately aware of athletes’ needs for performance and stand-apart style, and takes an innovative approach to the design process. His many years of brand experience include posts as senior designer for Salomon and as design director at Polo Ralph Lauren RLX.

“The last three seasons have been pivotal in Spyder’s product and brand progress.  I’m having an epic time implementing new design and product strategies and look forward to increasing the brand’s global reach. Spyder’s core tenets and my own personal passions run parallel, creating an engaging dynamic,” Collier said.

Collier reports directly to Tom McGann, CEO, who recruited him to Spyder in 2010.
“J.J. has elevated Spyder's product to an entirely new level of modern progressive design," said McGann. "His design vision is shaping the future for Spyder as we engage new consumers in our rapidly growing aspirational lifestyle apparel lines. Whether it's the Men's Leader Jacket, a Core Sweater, or the Audi R8 LMS graphic package—whatever he touches results in extraordinary appeal and taste.  J.J. has built a world class team in our product and design department to support and execute upon his vision, and that team has driven three consecutive years of growth for Spyder in demanding market conditions in North America and Europe.”

The appointment was effective Jan. 1, 2013. Collier is based at Spyder’s Boulder, CO headquarters.

( SportsOneSource Media )

New product : Nike Golf Brings RZN Tour Performance Technology to an Amateur Golf Ball

Nike Golf utilizes innovative RZN technology to create revolutionary distance for amateurs with the ONE RZN golf ball.

ONE RZN is the latest edition to the RZN family, incorporating groundbreaking technology into a golf ball suitable for a wider range of players. ONE RZN features the same larger, softer RZN core found in the new Nike 20XI tour ball, but with a slightly different formulation. This formulation is dialed and designed for increased distance when it counts.

RZN replaces conventional rubber cores with a radical new game-changing material. RZN is a highly neutralized polymer that’s faster and lighter, engineered to produce longer distance and more controlled shots.

With tour proven results, Nike Golf ball engineers sought to enhance the already innovative RZN technology. Refining the formula to increase core size and performance, engineers worked to create an even faster engine for the new generation of golf balls. This larger, softer RZN core improves feel off all shots while maintaining driver distance.

“With ONE RZN, we are able to bring revolutionary advances in golf balls to a wider range of athletes,” said Rock Ishii, Nike Golf’s Product Development Director for golf balls.  “There’s not a product out there in this category of golf ball that has technology of this magnitude.”

ONE RZN will be available in two versions, ONE RZN and ONE RZN X.  With ONE RZN, players can expect to experience longer and straighter shots with softer feel on impact.  ONE RZN X will deliver longer, more penetrating shots by generating maximum velocity on impact.
Both versions of the ONE RZN will be available globally, February 1, 2013

Availability:  February 1, 2013
MSRP:  $40.00
Street Price:  $29.99

Business news :Delta Apparel Returns to Profitability

Delta Apparel, Inc. reported second-quarter revenues improved 1.2 percent in the second quarter ended Dec. 29, to $106.8 million from $105.5 million a year ago.

Net income for the 2013 second quarter was $46 thousand, or $0.01 per diluted share, compared with a loss in the 2012 second quarter of $13.6 million, or $1.61 per diluted share. As previously reported, net income for the fiscal 2012 second quarter and first half was negatively impacted by a one-time inventory markdown of $16.2 million resulting from record high cotton costs combined with selling price decreases in Delta's line of basic undecorated t-shirts.

For the first six months of fiscal 2013, sales increased 3.4 percent to $236.9 million compared to $229.0 million for the first six months of fiscal 2012. Net income for the first six months of fiscal 2013 was $3.6 million, or $0.42 per diluted share, compared to a loss of $9.2 million, or $1.09 per share, in the prior-year six-month period. Fiscal 2013 first half net income was affected by a one-time charge of $1.2 million related to the previously reported Audit Committee internal investigation completed in September 2012 that reduced 2013 first quarter earnings per share by $0.10.

The Company's second quarter benefitted from solid year-over-year sales growth in its Delta Catalog, Junkfood, The Game and Art Gun businesses. This growth was offset somewhat by continued softness in the Company's Soffe business and lower selling prices within its FunTees and Delta Catalog businesses due to lower priced cotton.
Basics Segment Review

Second quarter 2013 sales in the basics segment rose to $58.8 million, a 2.2 percent increase over the comparable 2012 period. The increase resulted from a 13.1 percent rise in basics segment volume, which was offset somewhat by lower average selling prices in both the Delta Catalog and FunTees businesses. The addition of new customers in the blank and private-label business was the principal driver of the volume increase. Delta Catalog experienced a 15 percent increase in unit volume, driving 7.8 percent sales growth. Due to lower pricing, FunTees experienced a net sales decline of 7.3 percent despite a 6 percent increase in volume. Efficient use of new print programs using Delta Catalog blanks and the success of Delta's Six Sigma initiatives in reducing manufacturing costs bolstered revenue and provided improved margins for the basics segment.

Branded Segment Review

Branded segment sales for the second quarter were $47.9 million, up slightly from the prior year second quarter. Junkfood, The Game and Art Gun each experienced double-digit net sales growth, which was offset by continued weakness in the Soffe business. While Soffe's strategic sporting goods channel gained new distribution and better product placement, its independent sporting goods business remained slow. Soffe's juniors business with mid-tier department stores also remained slow but various girls and "missy" college programs performed well in that channel. Junkfood continued to add specialty retail customers and new design-for-fee business, and its professional sports license business continues to grow, largely through e-commerce channels. The Game continues to show good growth, led by Salt Life, which is experiencing strong buy-in from customers. Salt Life will start shipping its new footwear line in the March quarter. Art Gun grew net sales 83 percent in the second quarter and has been profitable throughout the first half. Driving its growth were several new e-commerce sites and direct-to-garment fulfillment opportunities that were added to the Art Gun platform since the beginning of the 2013 fiscal year.

Robert W. Humphreys, Delta Apparel's Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, commented that while the Company's second quarter was not as strong as expected, it is still on track to meet its full-year guidance. "During the second quarter we completed several projects that are designed to reduce costs and leverage customer relationships. The Game's basic tee products now employ a completely vertical production model extending from textiles through screen printing. This provides a low cost structure and facilitates rapid product replenishment. The Salt Life brand continues to gain in popularity. Our Fall 2013 line received an excellent reaction from buyers at the recent Surf Expo in Orlando, Florida, and we are making good headway in establishing the brand on the West Coast."

"Delta made good progress in bringing all of our bookstore business under The Game's operation and we expect to complete the consolidation by the end of this fiscal year. This will help us leverage our bookstore relationships and reduce our selling, general and administrative costs going forward."

"In the second quarter, we added additional equipment to our Art Gun business and went to a twenty-four/seven operation to support holiday growth and provide quicker shipping to customers spread across more than 65 countries. We also continued to expand sales on our own e-commerce sites, which grew 71 percent over last year's first half. While e-commerce is a very small part of our business, it is an area of exceptional growth that will continue to gain importance to our

"Obviously, the Soffe business offers one of our biggest challenges as well as one of our biggest opportunities. In this regard, we are addressing Soffe's cost structure to bring it in line with that of our other business units. Beyond that, we are seizing a number of opportunities to leverage customer relationships through new, more creative sales and marketing programs to coincide with and enhance the rapidly evolving marketing strategies of mid-tier retailers and independent sporting goods operators."

Mr. Humphreys concluded, "While the economic outlook in the U.S. continues to lack certainty, current demand for our products is firm and we believe we can meet our sales and earnings expectations in each of the two remaining quarters of fiscal 2013."

Fiscal 2013 Guidance
The Company continues to believe that the guidance previously provided for fiscal 2013 can be achieved. Based on anticipated net sales growth and higher unit volume leveraging fixed costs, the Company believes that it will reach record revenues in the range of $500 to $510 million for fiscal 2013 or about a 3 percent increase over 2012. Net income is expected to be in a range of $1.65 to $1.80 per diluted share.

( SportsOneSource Media )

Business news :DuPont, sports equipment maker Easton-Bell in court fight over use of Kevlar trademark

DOVER, Del. - The DuPont Co. is feuding with sports equipment maker Easton-Bell Sports over the use of the Kevlar trademark in packaging for bicycle tires and locks.

DuPont filed a federal lawsuit in Delaware this week claiming that Easton-Bell's prominent use of the Kevlar trademark on tire and lock packages infringes on DuPont's trademark. DuPont says Easton-Bell's packaging suggests that DuPont endorses or sponsors the tire and lock products, which it does not.

DuPont tried to work out a licensing deal with Easton-Bell, based in Scotts Valley, Calif., but Easton-Bell rejected it, saying DuPont's proposed licensing fees were exorbitant.

Easton-Bell instead filed its own lawsuit in federal court in California last week, seeking a court declaration that it is not infringing on DuPont's trademarks.

© Copyright 2013 Randall Chase / The Associated Press

Business news :Callaway's Revenues Slump in Q4

Callaway Golf Co. reported revenues slid 23.4 percent in the fourth quarter, to $118 million. The operating loss grew to $71 million from $50 million a year earlier but were in line with prior guidance. Callaway estimates full year 2013 net sales of approximately $850 million with pro forma net income at breakeven.
For the fourth quarter of 2012, the Company reported the following results:
Dollars in millions except per share amounts
% of Sales
% of Sales
Improvement / (Decline)
Net Sales
Gross Profit
Operating Expenses
Operating Loss
Loss per share
For the full year 2012, the Company reported the following results:

Dollars in millions except per share amounts
% of Sales
% of Sales
Improvement / (Decline)
Net Sales
Gross Profit
Operating Expenses
Operating Loss
Loss per share

In addition to the company's results prepared in accordance with GAAP, the company has also provided additional information concerning its results on a non-GAAP pro forma basis. The manner in which the non-GAAP information is derived is discussed in more detail toward the end of this release and the company has provided in the tables to this release a reconciliation of this non-GAAP information to the most directly comparable GAAP information. 

For the fourth quarter of 2012, the Company reported the following non-GAAP pro forma results:
Dollars in millions except per share amounts
% of Sales
% of Sales
Improvement / (Decline)
Net Sales
Gross Profit
Operating Expenses
Operating Loss
Loss per share
For the full year 2012, the Company reported the following non-GAAP pro forma results:

Dollars in millions except per share amounts
% of Sales
% of Sales
Improvement / (Decline)
Net Sales
Gross Profit
Operating Expenses
Operating Loss
Loss per share

"Our pro forma financial results for the fourth quarter and full year reflect both the previously reported challenges our business faced during 2012 as well as the actions we took during the year to prepare our business for a turnaround in 2013," commented Chip Brewer, President and Chief Executive Officer.  "While our 2012 financial results were disappointing, as I look back on the year, I am very pleased with the pace and direction of change we implemented. During 2012, we made several key additions to the senior management team, sold the Top-Flite and Ben Hogan brands, licensed our footwear and apparel businesses, began transitioning our GPS business to a third party model, strengthened our presence on tour worldwide, restructured our Americas and European sales organizations, improved our manufacturing and supply chains, re-energized our global product development team, overhauled our approach to global marketing, refinanced a majority of our outstanding convertible preferred stock with less expensive 3.75% convertible debt and implemented major reductions in force and other cost reductions which should result in annualized savings of $60 million. These changes are also driving cultural and behavioral changes at Callaway which, along with our renewed focus on our core golf clubs and golf ball businesses, should serve as the keystone to our turnaround."

"Looking forward, I am encouraged on several fronts," continued Mr. Brewer.  "On a macro basis, we continue to anticipate a slow but steady market recovery in the U.S. as well as growth opportunities in Asia. During the second half of 2012, we saw stabilization of our overall market share and lower retail inventory as a result of improved sell-through performance in most of our key markets.   Additionally, we are encouraged with the early response we've received on our 2013 product line and marketing message.   Our expectation is to re-gain hard goods market share in each of our major markets (Americas, East Asia, Southeast Asia Pacific and Europe). Despite this optimism, we remain mindful that there is much work to be done, we continue to anticipate an extremely competitive market place, and we know that our success ultimately will be determined by the consumer as measured by both sell-through and customer loyalty generated from our product performance and brand appeal.  All things considered, I remain confident in our turnaround plans and optimistic on our long-term outlook.  All of us at Callaway are excited for the start of the 2013 season."

Business Outlook

The company provided guidance for the full year and first half of 2013 as follows:

Net Sales

The company estimates that net sales for the full year 2013 will be approximately $850 million compared to $832 million in 2012.  Net sales related to the company's continuing brands and business were $772 million in 2012, with net sales relating to the brands and businesses that were sold or transitioned to a third party model of approximately $60 million.   

The company estimates that net sales for the first half of 2013 will be approximately $555 million compared to $566 million in 2012.  The company's estimated net sales for the first half of 2013 would represent an increase of 7% over the first half 2012 net sales of $519 million related to the company's continuing brands and business.


The company estimates that 2013 full year non-GAAP pro-forma net income will be breakeven with a non-GAAP pro forma loss per share of $0.04 due to the impact of dividends paid on the company's outstanding convertible preferred stock.  In 2012, the company's non-GAAP pro forma loss was $43.9 million with a non-GAAP pro forma loss per share of $0.78.

The company estimates that first half 2013 non-GAAP pro forma net income will be approximately $28 million (an increase of 33% compared to $21 million for the same period last year) and that non-GAAP pro forma earnings per share will be approximately $0.33 per share as compared to $0.25 per share for the first half of 2012. 

The non-GAAP pro forma estimates of net income and earnings per share exclude for 2013 carryover charges related to the company's prior cost-reduction initiatives and exclude for 2012 gains and charges relating to the sale of the Top Flite/Ben Hogan brands and the cost-reduction initiatives. The pro forma estimates for both 2013 and 2012 are based upon an assumed tax rate of 38.5%. The schedules to this release include a reconciliation of the non-GAAP information to the most directly comparable GAAP information.

( SportsOneSource Media )

Business news :Made in California Initiative Qualifies 250 Manufacturers

The non-profit California Manufacturing Technology Consulting (CMTC) and The Corporation for Manufacturing Excellence (Manex) announced that its Made in California program has achieved 250 participants.

The goal of the statewide program is to showcase the products made in the Golden State and highlight the contributions of California’s manufacturing sector to the public. As part of the program, social media forums have been created for both Northern and Southern California manufacturers to network and discuss industry issues.

“The manufacturing community plays a critical part in California’s economic growth and success,” says James Watson, President & CEO of CMTC which services Southern California. “The state is home to more than 41,000 manufacturers and the sector employs more than 1.2 million people.”

An integral part of Made in California is an online directory which features the state’s manufacturers and their products. Any California manufacturer who qualifies can sign up as a program participant at no cost and obtain a company profile page to be included in the directory. A company can display its logo, description, contact information, company news, pictures and videos of its products on a profile page. CMTC manages the directory for Southern California manufacturers while Manex oversees the directory for Northern California manufacturers.

“People believe in the value of products Made in America,” says Gene Russell, CEO of Manex which services Northern California. “The online directory allows visitors to easily view the diverse products made in California, encouraging our state’s businesses and residents to buy locally made products and stimulate our economy.”

The online profiles have brought increased visibility for the participating companies because they include direct links back to the companies’ websites. “The Made in CA program has enhanced our visibility as a California manufacturer which has increased the quality of leads coming in,” stated Kimberly Bennett at Valley Box.

In addition to a free profile in the directory, Made in California participants receive additional benefits including an official certificate to display in their facility, the program logo to exhibit on their website and a copy of the monthly Made in California newsletter. Manufacturers also receive a no charge listing in the National Innovation Marketplace when they join the program. Program participants are also featured to become the “Featured Manufacturer of the Week” which includes a special feature on the website and social media listings.

CMTC and Manex are affiliates under the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) MEP, a nonprofit network that helps manufacturers become more efficient, innovative and profitable. The Made in California program supports the national Make it in America program managed by NIST MEP.
A private, nonprofit corporation established in 1992, CMTC is the Southern California affiliate of NIST MEP, under the Federal Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) program, a network of more than 60 centers across the country that provides assistance to small, medium and large manufacturers. CMTC serves Fresno to San Diego/Imperial County.

Founded in 1995, Manex is a premier niche consulting firm with a focus on small to midsize manufacturers to help them quickly achieve cost efficiencies and increased profits. The Manex team brings an average of 20 years experience to provide a powerful depth and breadth of industry and business know-how. We are recognized for our strategic, enterprise-level expertise and extensive front-line manufacturing and distribution experience. Manex serves the Northern California region. 

( SportsOneSource Media )


Business news : Wool is hot at huge Utah outdoor gear trade show

(AP) Wool instead of synthetic fleece, carbon skis and a spoon-shaped sleeping bag are among the hottest products at the world's largest expo for outdoor equipment and apparel, where vendors are vying for a share of the $289 billion Americans spend every year on outdoor gear, travel and services.

The Outdoor Retailer Winter Market show that runs through Saturday is a merchandise bazaar for a lifestyle of outdoor adventure. Bringing together 1,000 of the world's manufacturers and distributors, it is a showcase for the latest gear and fashions before they hit the mainstream.

One hardware company, Salt Lake City-based Black Diamond, put models on stage late Thursday for its inaugural 24-piece line of jackets and stretch-woven pants. It plans to jump into wool a year from now.
Wool was rubbed out by fleece decades ago, but many exhibitors said it's back without the itch, still warm and quick to dry and it doesn't hold body odors, a big drawback of fleece.

"Natural fibers is where it's at," said Matt Skousen, of Everest Designs. "It's the real deal. Wool has had millions of years to figure itself out."

Skousen founded Everest Designs with his Nepalese wife, Choti Sherpa. They hire workers in Nepal to stitch beanies from New Zealand wool, run the company out of Missoula, Mont., and were hoping for a sales boost at a trade show also crowded with Merino wool sweaters, undergarments and socks.
Shoppers aren't allowed inside the expo and no cash sales are conducted. Instead, the four-day show brings together retailers making orders for next year's inventory. Suppliers range from industry giants like Patagonia and Mountain Hardwear to perhaps the smallest player, a former Army Ranger hawking "Combat FlipFlops" from his duffel bag.

Matthew Griffin, who calls himself a micro-manufacturer, didn't have a booth of his own.
New products range from sunglasses with magnetic pop-out lenses to a thermo-electric camp stove that does double duty boiling water and charging electronic devices.

Another company showed off a line of sleeping bags with a roomy hourglass shape for camper comfort.
"Nobody sleeps like a mummy," said Kate Ketschek of New Hampshire-based NEMO Equipment Inc., which is receiving industry attention for its extra-wide Spoon Series of sleeping bags, an alternative to mummy and rectangular bags. She called it a "completely new category" of sleeping bags, made for side sleepers.

The jam-packed expo underscores a thriving corner of the economy. Outdoor-gear sales grew 5 percent annually throughout recent years of recession, analysts said.

The show favors Utah, a place of rugged mountains and canyons and a cottage industry for innovators like DPS, a maker of expensive carbon-fiber skis that recently shifted production from China to safeguard and refine its technology.

Stephen Drake was an English major from New York in 2005 when he launched DPS with $100,000, a trip to China and a design for a featherweight carbon ski.

"Man, we were in over our head," said Drake, 36, who teamed up with an engineer. "It's almost ridiculous what we tried to do with so little money, building carbon skis with new technology." DPS now handcrafts several thousand pairs a year for retail prices up to $1,300 from a factory in Ogden.

That's too much for a ski, said Mark Wariakois, founder of Voile, which sells a hybrid-carbon model for $600 adopted by backcountry professionals in the Rocky Mountains. Voile laminates 3,000 skis and snowboards a year at a factory in a Salt Lake City suburb.

"Everybody is trying to figure out how we make these big skis" for that price, said Wariakois. "We make all of our own tools. That's probably the biggest secret to our success."

Attendance is up 40 percent since 2006, with more than 20,000 flocking to Winter Market, said Nielsen Expo Outdoor Group, the organizer. A twin show in August brings out a larger crowd and is dominated by equipment for water sports.

Nielsen announced Tuesday it was keeping the shows in Salt Lake City through August 2016. The decision suspended a political standoff that had the Outdoor Industry Association threatening to leave over Gov. Gary Herbert's policies. Herbert, a Republican, unveiled a 59-page "vision" for outdoor recreation in the state, which calls for the creation of a state office devoted to the $5.8 billion economic sector.

The Outdoor Retailer show has taken place in Utah since 1996 and pours $40 million annually into the local economy.

Business news : Better to Ride These Bikes Than Make Them

PHNOM PENH, Jan 28 (IPS) - Cambodia’s export business is in the process of changing due to shifts in manufacturing in Asia. A business publication in the country has reported unexpected growth in the “machinery and transport equipment” sector and speculated it was as “probably bicycles.” But when Cambodia jumped into the top ten exporters of bicycles to the EU in 2012, it prompted the European Bicycle Manufacturers’ Association (EBMA) to investigate.

In 2011, 366,000 bikes were exported from Cambodia to the EU but “in the first half of 2012 the country managed to almost triple its bike export to the EU. Cambodia’s exports totaled close to 520,000 units in the first six months of 2012 compared to 140,000 in the same period of 2011,” according to Bikeeu.com.

The EBMA discovered that bicycle companies had moved their production to Cambodia from Thailand and China, citing increased expenses. The move is estimated to save 14 percent on taxes. A favourable scheme is in place for Least Developed Countries (LDCs) under the Generalized Scheme of Preferences (GSP) known as the Everything But Arms (EBA) agreement. The EBA allows countries ranked among the 48 LDCs to export products duty-free to the EU, except arms and ammunition.

Introduced at the beginning of 2011, it ushered in a surge of 53 percent in export growth to European countries that year, making the EU Cambodia’s second largest export partner after the U.S., according to local business reports.

Increasing expenses in China and Thailand have been attributed in part to rising wages. The minimum wage in Thailand was recently raised to 300 baht per day (10 dollars) and salaries in China in this business have risen to 400 dollars per month.  By contrast, minimum wages in Cambodia are set at just 61 dollars per month.

Strongman and A & J - listed as a subsidiary of Atlantic Cycle Co. - was reported to have originally opened their factory in Cambodia in 2005.  A government website listing investments into the country shows three bicycle factories in the “Tai Seng zone” in the Svay Reing province - A &J, Atlantic Cycle Co. and Smart Tech - and a fourth bike factory, Best Way Industry, in the ‘Manhattan zone’ in Svay Reing.
The Special Economic Zone (SEZ), according to a USAID report, offers pro-business perks to investors, a quick turnaround on red tape, low taxes, low wages, ease of doing business and a “young and educated” population. The report listed 1,500 workers in the bicycle industry. The minimum monthly salary then for factory work was 60 dollars a month, or 33 cents per hour, which would necessitate working six days per week to make 60 dollars monthly.  Dated 2008, this shows that wages have not risen in four years.
Local media recently revealed that a minimum wage increase for garment factories was in the works due to a labour shortage. Manufacturing overall has been shifting from China and Vietnam to Cambodia, and there are not enough workers in this country. The social affairs ministry has called for a wage increase but asked unions to agree on an amount - with suggested salaries ranging from 93 dollars to 150 dollars per month.

Bicycle factory workers face similar labour issues to garment workers.  Srun Srorn, activist and NGO consultant, explained how factory workers live on wages which amount to just two dollars per day.
Workers pool money and share a single meal. "Usually they do this: four friends x 500 riels (12 cents) = 2000 riels (50 cents). Then they eat some food which costs 500 riels or less. Usually the maximum is 5000 riels (1.25 dollars) for three or four people.”

Some factories include a meal stipend with the monthly salary.  Workers have short meal breaks and eat from vendors located just outside the factory gates.  Some employers include a transportation stipend.  There is no public transportation system in Cambodia, requiring workers to pay for motorbike taxi rides which cost 50 cents to a dollar.

In mid-December 2012, local media reported 1,000 workers at a Smart Tech bike factory in Svay Rieng went on strike to raise their salary. Two months prior, another strike had been reported at A& J.
Moeun Tola, a lawyer at the labour programme of the Community Legal Education Centre (CLEC) said he assisted the workers with legal advice. He said they were not part of a union but had organised the strike on their own. “They are not advised by anyone but we would give legal assistance and advice.”
Better Factories, an International Labour Organisation (ILO) programme, was created to help factory workers but at this time only assists garment factories, according to a spokesperson contacted by IPS.
IPS spoke with Nhanh Kosol, one of the workers, about the strike for an update. Kosol said that their wage is still just 61 dollars a month but the factory had agreed to a transportation subsidy of 13 dollars per month and overtime pay. They can work overtime between two hours and five hours a day, depending on the factory. Overtime of five hours earns an additional three dollars.

He thought the bike factory was “not too bad, because I have a job. The working conditions are some days good, and some days bad but the salary is not sufficient to support living and everything is always going up.” In his two years working there, the workers went on strike two or three times already and “it can help, but not too much.”

Bike EU listed the per unit price imported from Cambodia as about 200 euros. The U.S. has also recently had an upsurge in imports in bikes from Cambodia, according to foreign trade statistics. In 2009, 2.06 million dollars worth of goods were imported from Cambodia under the label “toys, shooting and sporting goods, and bicycles.” In 2010, the amount tripled to 6.8 million dollars and by 2011 it was 10.3 million dollars.

When asked how much he thought the bikes he helped make sold for, Kosol said workers thought between 1,400 dollars and 3,000 dollars, the low end of which is 25 times his monthly salary.

( Source Independent European Daily Express (IEDE) )

New product :Cocona® Merino Sets New Performance Standard for Wool

Cocona, Inc., the leader in active drying technologies, introduces the new Cocona® Merino Fabrics, where nature meets function. Soft, lightweight and super fast dry rates are among the features being offered exclusively to Cocona’s licensed brand partners. 

Cocona® Merino synergistically blends the advantages of merino wool and Cocona’s Active Drying Technology. Unlike 100 percent merino wool fabrics, Cocona® Merino Fabrics excel in high-energy activities and multi-hour events. Where other Merino fabrics hold sweat, Cocona® Merino Fabrics process the moisture and accelerate drying two to five times faster depending on construction and weight. Gear stays drier, lighter and faster by extending the comfort range into higher temperatures and higher workloads.

Wearing Cocona ® Merino together with Cocona® mid and shell layers creates an active drying system for ultimate dry rate performance, improving your outdoor experience.
For information about Cocona® Technology, please visit www.cocona.com. 

About Cocona
Headquartered in Boulder, Colorado, Cocona is the world leader in the development, commercialization and marketing of Active Particle Technologies used to dry clothing, footwear and sleep systems.  With initial focus on the Outdoor and Sports markets, Cocona is rapidly gaining market penetration for patented Cocona® Technology in the commercial, industrial, and hospitality markets globally and discovering new applications for the technology.  For more, visit: www.cocona.com

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Market preview :Retailers to Spend $55bn Annually on Mobile Marketing by 2015

As retailers increasingly utilize mobile devices as a touchpoint on each stage of the retail lifecycle, a new report from Juniper Research has found that annual spend by retailers on mobile marketing will reach $55bn, almost double the $28bn level expected this year.

Advertising up in wake of mRetail Boom

The report – Retail mCommerce: Mobile & Tablet Marketing, Advertising & Coupon Strategies 2013-2017 - found that the development of a mass tablet market had created new opportunities for brands seeking to enhance engagement with consumers. With eCommerce migrating to mobile and nomadic devices, adspend on both tablets and smartphones is continuing to grow strongly as retailers (notably in North America and Western Europe) migrate their own spend to digital in general, and mobile in particular.

Similarly, the report observed that mobiles were driving retail footfall through coupons, with couponing apps becoming an increasingly popular mechanism of distribution and coupon storage. Furthermore, it highlighted the increasing trend towards the development of additional distribution channels – such as AR (augmented reality) and NFC (near field communications) – as mobile becomes increasingly integrated into in-store retail strategies.

Mobile Site Optimisation “Critical”

However, the report cautioned that while retailer engagement with mobile channels had increased dramatically, many had still not optimized their sites for mobile browsing, registration or payment. According to report author Dr Windsor Holden, “If retailers truly want to maximize the mobile monetization opportunity, then optimization is critical. If you are using mobile advertising for consumer acquisition, you need to push users to a site with which they can comfortably interact; retailers that fail to respond to consumer demand will fall behind.” Other key findings from the report include:

  • Brands are increasingly seeking to integrate campaigns across mobile social networks such as Foursquare and Facebook
  • Brands and retailers need to ensure that mobile ads are frequency capped to prevent overexposure

  • The ‘Mobile Marketing ~ Retailer Therapy’ whitepaper is available to download from the Juniper website together with further details of the full report.

    Business people :Reef announces new footwear executive structure led by industry veteran Tom Cooke

    (Carlsbad, CA) – Reef is pleased to welcome the addition of Tom Cooke to the role of Vice President of Footwear, as the company announces a new Footwear organizational structure designed to drive the brand’s key strategic initiatives. Tom Cooke, who begins work effective immediately, will report to Reef President, Jeff Moore.

    The newly-created Vice President role will support Reef’s strategic plan in gaining organic growth within Reef’s sandal business as well as develop new product growth in closed-toe footwear. The position will oversee Guys’ and Girls’ Footwear, including Product Management, Design and Development teams. Tom will be responsible for overseeing all Footwear Product strategies to ensure synergies for the entire product line, analyzing market trends, while identifying new opportunities.

    Reef President, Jeff Moore commented, “I am pleased to have Tom join the Reef family. His expertise, drive, and passion will be a valuable asset as we continue to grow our sandal business as well as expand our closed-toe footwear.”

    Tom joins Reef from Vans, where he has held numerous roles in Product Management and Development, most recently as the Director of Footwear for the Core Channel, which included Syndicate, Pro-skate, Surf and OTW footwear lines. Tom holds a Bachelors Degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Virginia.

    Reef is the exotic surf brand enabling your journey of discovery…since 1984
    Our purpose is to provide premium, comfortable, and innovative products in a sustainable manner. We are guided by the sea.

    ( Source Press release )

    Market preview : NRF Forecasts ( USA )Slower Retail Sales Growth in 2013

     The National Retail Federation released its 2013 economic forecast today, projecting retail industry sales (which exclude automobiles, gas stations, and restaurants) will increase 3.4 percent*, slightly less than the preliminary 4.2 percent growth seen in 2012.

    The subdued forecast comes on the heels of a holiday season that went head-to-head with Washington’s political wrangling over fiscal concerns, shifting consumers’ spending plans downward. In the end, holiday sales in 2012 grew 3.0 percent. Shop.org, NRF’s digital division, expects online sales in 2013 to grow between 9.0 and 12.0%. Online sales in 2012 during the months of November and December last year grew 11.1 percent.

    “What we witnessed during the holiday season is an indication of what we are likely to see in 2013. Consumers read troubling economic headlines every day and look at their bottom lines at the end of the month, and they don’t like what they see,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. “Pushing fiscal policy decisions down the road will lead to even greater uncertainty, and will continue to impact consumers’ desire and ability to spend on discretionary items. The administration and congress need to pursue and enact policies that lead to growth and economic expansion, or it could be another challenging year for retailers and consumers alike.”

    “Retailers will compensate for the drag on household spending this year by managing inventories and focusing on providing value for their shoppers through unique promotions in stores and online and exclusive product lines,” continued Shay.

    A number of factors contributed to NRF’s 2013 economic forecast, including:
    • Employment: The labor market continues its modest recovery but 2013 is not expected to result in meaningful acceleration in growth. As of December 2012, the unemployment rate has held steady for the last two months at 7.9 percent. Retailers on average employed 150,000 more workers in 2012, and the industry remains one of the biggest employers in the world.
    • Income growth: Consumers are constrained by modest growth in income, and recent legislation passed in January increased payroll taxes for millions of workers, further limiting and Americans spending decisions.
    • Housing: NRF expects the housing sector to continue to improve and the fundamentals for growth to see continued gains in 2013.
    • Inflation: Price pressures continue to be contained. NRF expects the Consumer Price Index to increase 1.9 percent in 2013, below the 2.1 percent increase in 2012.
    • Consumer confidence: Current consumer attitudes are likely weighed down because of the handling of the fiscal cliff and the increase in payroll taxes. We expect confidence to improve as the pace of the recovery accelerates in the second half of 2013.
    “While it’s too early to know the full effect of higher payroll taxes, there’s no question that many consumers will feel some kind of impact from the change in their paychecks,” said NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz. “That said, consumers have in the past shown a resiliency in the face of uncertainty, and we expect those impacted to adjust to smaller budgets by trading down or simply cutting back on certain items. Overall we foresee some improvements in the second half of the year should the outlook for job creation and income growth improve.”

    * Retail industry sales according to NRF include most traditional retail categories including auto parts and accessories stores, non-store categories, discounters, department stores, grocery stores, and specialty stores, and exclude sales at automotive dealers, gas stations, and restaurants.

    ( Source NRF throuygh SportsOneSource.com )

    New product : EGO SE, compact semi-submarine

    During our last visit of the "Boot show" in Dusseldorf, we saw a real interesting concept: THE EGO

    Imagine the fish swimming and colorful coral reefs spread out in front of you, and at
    the same time, you can see the blue sky and clouds. What a wonderful experience?

    What do you get the mariner who has everything? You could do worse than the Ego Compact Semi Submarine.

    Made by South Korea's EGO. Inc, the Ego Compact is more of a glass-bottom boat than a sub, but it's still pretty nifty. Protected by 20mm-thick acrylic windows, the waterproof cabin hangs down from two pontoon-like floats and serves as a mobile observation room.

    I was on a glass-bottom boat recently, and thought it was the perfect thing if you're too lazy to learn how to dive. But if seas are choppy and boat is pitching, waves can prevent you from seeing well underwater. The Ego seems to get around that with its low-slung cabin.

    The two-seater, 12-foot craft is powered by two battery-operated 1.5KW thrusters and has a top speed of 5 knots (about 5.7 mph). The batteries take 6 to 10 hours to charge, and will last about 8 hours at cruising speed. So don't expect to make it out to the Mariana Trench.
    Still, it might be handy for fishing. One guy on deck, another in the cabin directing him to the fish. That, or shark-watching.

    Released last year, the Ego has been making the rounds recently, but Raonhaje doesn't list a price for the half-sub. It's marketing the craft for leisure and research and says it's working on a four-seater version.

    With that, the whole family can spend the day underwater.

    2012-2013 RED Dot Design Award

    The Red Dot Design Award is one of the largest and one of the most prestigious design competitions in the world.

    In the 2012 REDDOT DESIGN AWARD, EGO SE – compact semi-submarine is awarded with “Honorable Mention” for its unique design and creative idea in the section of Automobiles, transportation, and commercial and water vehicles.

    This means that EGO Inc. has the same competitive edge as world class vehicle manufacturers. This also means that EGO SE is credited with its value of smart and creative design more than just a new kind of marine leisure watercraft. EGO Inc. will keep bringing on new and innovative designs through constant research & development.


    Jisup Lee, the founder & President of Ego Inc. designed and developed in 1997 a compact semi-submarine. His idea was to get everyone to easily enjoy the underwater environment and finally released EGO – compact semi-submarine in 2008. This magical item was the first in the world and patents and PCT were issued.

    In 2009 Raonhaje Inc. was established to produce EGO and then in 2012 EGO Inc. was newly registered to set up mass production and a systematic research & development system. The existing compact semi-submarine has been altered and upgraded to release a much safer and stable SE 450 than ever before.

    EGO Inc, with a better understanding how to enjoy the ocean, endeavors to keep developing various upgraded lines, in order for passengers to have a wide range of choices.

    Brief History

    2008.  Patend that EGO (Compact Semi Submarine)
    2009.  Establish RAONHAJE inc.
      Patend that EGO Design.
      Shanghai International Boatshow
    2011.   Miami International Boat show (In Raonhaje)
    2012.   Establish EGO. Inc
      2013 Eddition EGO SE Developed
      REDDOT Design award

    Business news : Indian Bicycle industry wants withdrawal of excise duty

    Govt support for upgrading technology sought

    Bogged by declining sales and rising costs, the $1.2-billion Indian bicycle industry is at a crossroad. Bicycle manufacturers are worried as the industry has plunged by 8 per cent this year due to meagre exports and less domestic demand. A further decline is expected unless the government takes timely action, they said.

    “We are at a disadvantage. The excise duty imposed by the government has made cycles expensive. We are also unable to export to lucrative markets in Europe due to trade restrictions. We want the government to intervene and provide us a level-playing field with Chinese bicycle industry,” Pankaj Munjal, President, All India Cycle manufacturers Association and co-Chairman & Managing Director, Hero Cycles, told The Hindu.

    “We urge the government to withdraw the 2 per cent excise duty levied on bicycles since the last budget and the government should negotiate with European Union for getting the Most Preferred Nation status for export of bicycles to Europe,” Mr. Munjal said.

    He said China had dwarfed India in terms of bicycle exports due to a favourabe policy and India must do the same for providing a level-playing field.
    ‘Reimburse inland freight’

    “The Chinese bicycle industry is a mammoth $8 billion compared to our $1.2 billion. We are requesting the finance minister to reimburse the inland freight up to the port which is hindering the growth in the export segment,” Mr. Munjal added.

    He said the Indian cycle industry could achieve export volume of $5 billion if a few corrective measures were taken. Earlier last week, Mr. Munjal, along with Punjab Chief Minister Prakash Singh Badal, met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh seeking his intervention. At this meeting, the delegation raised the concerns about declining bicycle business in India, more particularly in Punjab which is the hub of bicycle manufacturing.

    The industry has also sought government’s support for upgrading technology and to create a task force for benchmarking of technology. 

    ( Source www.thehindu.com )

    Business news :Marine lenders continue to see increased volume through 2012

    Despite reports that credit criteria for boat loans has tightened

    Marine lenders continue to report increased activity in 2012, with 58 percent of respondents to the NMBA survey for the quarter ending December 31 indicating volume is up year-over year. The remaining 48 percent indicated volume was the same for 2012 as 2011. Similarly, 91 percent of those reporting feel the first quarter of 2013 will produce new volume equal to or better than the same period last year. However, one-third of the lenders reported their margins decreased in 4Q2012 while the balance reported margins were the same as the prior year.

    The increase in business could be considered surprising, given these same lenders have reported a steady tightening of credit criteria throughout 2012. Seventeen percent of the survey responses indicate credit criteria were more stringent in the 4th quarter than the previous period. The data reflects three consecutive quarters of tightening, based on the NMBA member survey. To the contrary, lenders overwhelming reported consumer credit quality to be the same or better than the previous quarter, so those with strong credit profiles are leveraging it for a boat purchase.

    The 4th quarter reflected a bump in new boat finance activity from the fall shows, with 25% of the reporting lenders saying new boat transactions accounted for over 50% of their business. This is comparable to 3Q2011, when 29% of reporting lenders said new boat transactions made up over 50% of their loan volume for that period.

    The NMBA introduced the brief quarterly members’ survey in 1Q 2011 to gauge changes in the lending environment and identify trends that could be used for business planning. This survey has gained significant traction and is now delivering valuable results to the marine industry. Twenty-seven percent of the NMBA lender members (loan originators/brokers/ financial service firms, banks, credit unions, and finance companies) responded to the 4th quarter 2012 survey, with the majority having a national presence.

    Survey details ... 

    ( Source National Marine Bankers Association )

    Business news : KYB and Yamaha Motor to Establish a Joint Venture

    KYB Corporation and Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd., have decided to form a jointly owned business as follows:

    Purpose of the Joint Venture

    By combining the resources and know-how of KYB, a manufacturer of hydraulic shock absorbers, and Yamaha Motor, a manufacturer of motorcycles, the two companies plan to establish a global supply capability for motorcycle hydraulic shock absorbers and other products. The goal is to sell products with the best performance and quality in the world at competitive prices. Plans call for selling these products to motorcycle manufacturers worldwide, including Yamaha Motor.

    Outline of the Joint Venture

    Company name:
    KYB Motorcycle Suspension Co., Ltd.
    Formation method:
    The motorcycle operations of the automotive components business of KYB will be divested on July 1, 2013 (tentative) to form a new company, and then part of the shares of this company will be sold to Yamaha Motor.
    Nobumichi Hanawa (Currently General Manager, Motorcycle Engineering Dept., Automotive Components Operations KYB Corporation)
    Head Office: Dota, Kani-shi, Gifu, Japan Iwata Development Office: 2500 Shingai, Iwata, Shizuoka, Japan
    Start of operations:
    July 1, 2013 (tentative)
    Principal business:
    Development, manufacture, and sale of hydraulic shock absorbers and other products (such as suspensions) for motorcycles and other vehicles and development and manufacturing assistance to other companies
    Paid-in capital:
    ¥400 million
    KYB 66.6%
    Yamaha Motor 33.4%

    Outline of KYB

    Trade name:
    Kayaba Industry Co., Ltd
    Masao Usui, President and Representative Director
    4-1, Hamamatsu-cho 2-chome, Minato-ku, Tokyo, Japan
    Date of establishment:
    November 25, 1948
    Principal business:
    Manufacture and sales of hydraulic shock absorbers, hydraulic equipment, etc.
    Net sales:
    ¥337.1 billion (fiscal 2011, consolidated)
    Number of employees:
    12,012 (As of March 31, 2012, consolidated)

    Outline of Yamaha Motor

    Trade name:
    Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd.
    Hiroyuki Yanagi, President, Chief Executive Officer and Representative Director
    2500 Shingai, Iwata, Shizuoka, Japan
    Date of establishment:
    July 1, 1955
    Principal business:
    Manufacture and sales of motorcycles, transportation equipment, etc.
    Net sales:
    ¥1,276.2 billion (fiscal 2011, consolidated)
    Number of employees:
    54,677 (As of December 31, 2011, consolidated)

    Other Information

    Overseas cooperation between KYB and Yamaha
    As part of its global collaborative business operations, KYB established a company in India in December 2012 for the manufacture and sale of hydraulic shock absorbers for motorcycles. In 2014, this company plans to start supplying hydraulic shock absorbers for motorcycles to the Chennai Factory of India Yamaha Motor Pvt. Ltd. KYB’s goal is to use its company in India to manufacture and sell products that are cost competitive and rank among the best in the world. In July 2013, KYB plans to have its company in India issue stock for sale to Yamaha Motor. This sale will make the subsidiary a joint venture that will be 66.6% owned by KYB and 33.4% owned by Yamaha Motor.
    Company name:
    KYB Motorcycle Suspension India Pvt. Ltd.
    Date of establishment:
    December 11, 2012
    Hideo Inaguma
    Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India
    Paid-in capital:
    600 million Indian Rupees (Approx. ¥1 billion)
    KYB 100%
    Production volume:
    285,000 in 2014, 1,600,000 in 2018 (planned)

    Reference "Procurement strategies in the new medium-term management plan"

    Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd. (the "Company") announced its new medium-term management plan on December 18, 2012, which will work towards expanding the Company's business scale and improving its profitability, all with the aim to increase its corporate value through sustained growth.
    The establishment of the Company’s recent joint venture with KYB Co., Ltd is a realization of the procurement strategy at the heart of the new medium-term management plan. This initiative aims to further strengthen product competitiveness as well as improve profitability by combining the strengths of each company.

    The plan targets 90 billion yen of cost reductions in 2015 and concentrates 65% of total procurement by value on platform (PF) components in an effort to increase the benefits of larger-scale production. In addition, the Company announced that it will further promote collaboration with suppliers referred to as "global partners” in areas such as theoretical-value-based production and Zensuu Ryouhin Process Activities*

    Suspension components produced through this joint venture will be the Company’s largest platform components in terms of procurement value, and among the most important components that contribute to the nature of the products. This initiative which allows for the development and production of main components at the joint venture company will not only increase product competitiveness and reduce costs, but will also contribute to improvement in innovation, technology, and brand image.

    Concurrently, the Company will participate by means of a strategic investment in KYB’s new suspension manufacturing plant to be located in the Vendor Park adjacent to the new motorcycle assembly plant scheduled for construction in Chennai, India, in order to further improve product competitiveness in the Indian market while taking up the challenge of achieving the most cost-competitive manufacturing in the world.

    *Zensuu Ryouhin Activities: Activities pertaining to the Zensuu Ryouhin Process, a process that allows for the logical designing and sustenance of consistently high-quality products.   

    ( Source Yamaha motor )