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Beverly Hills water wasters ‘should be ashamed

October 30, 2015 Leave a comment

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The city of Beverly Hills and three other water suppliers face financial penalties for falling short of state water conservation mandates, officials said Friday.

Statewide, Californians cut their urban water use in September by 26.1% compared with the same month in 2013, regulators said. The reduction was below the 27% decline recorded in August and the 31% savings in July.

In addition to Beverly Hills, the cities of Indio and Redlands and the Coachella Valley Water District were issued a $61,000 penalty for failing to meet their conservation mandates, officials said.

Cris Carrigan, director of the Office of Enforcement of the State Water Resources Control Board, said he is “sure” there are water users in Beverly Hills that are “very conscientious and doing their part.”

“To those who aren’t, and are wasting water,” he added, “I’d say yes, you should be ashamed of yourselves.”

Beverly Hills officials could not immediately be reached for comment.

Redlands spokesman Carl Baker said in an email that “we were notified late yesterday. Right now I have no comment until we have an opportunity to seek direction from the City Council on Tuesday.”

Also Friday, Gov. Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency over the loss of millions of trees across California, the result of a bark beetle infestation made worse by the drought.

Brown asked the federal government to help “mobilize additional resources for the safe removal of dead and dying trees.”

The U.S. Forest Service recently estimated that more than 22 million trees have died in California, Brown said.

The statewide conservation effort kept California in compliance with Brown’s restrictions for the fourth consecutive month. Earlier this year, Brown ordered cities and towns across the state to slash their water consumption by 25% amid a four-year drought.

As the hot summer months give way to cooler temperatures and more rain, officials have cautioned that it may prove harder for Californians to save water.

Experts say outdoor watering decreases in the winter, so residents and businesses who want to keep conserving at high levels will need to look indoors.

“There is still ample opportunity for indoor conservation but it’s more of a challenge,” said Max Gomberg, the water board’s climate and conservation manager. “It is not as simple as turning off your irrigation.”

In order to attain the statewide 25% reduction in urban water use, the board assigned conservation “standards” to each of the state’s 411 urban suppliers earlier this year.

Suppliers with a history of high per-capita water use were ordered to cut as much as 36% off 2013 totals. Suppliers with a history of lower consumption were told to cut as little as 8% or, in rare cases, even 4%.

Despite the good overall results, some individual water districts have struggled to meet their targets. In August, for example, six suppliers missed their mark by more than 15 percentage points. An additional 54 suppliers were off by between five and 15 percentage points.

Regulators met over the summer with some lagging districts and later issued conservation orders to eight of them. The orders demand that the districts take specific steps to save more water.

About 100 suppliers have received so-called information orders requiring them to send more information about the conservation measures they have undertaken, Gomberg said.

Under the drought regulations, water districts that violate a conservation or information order can be fined up to $500 per day. The water board can also send violators a cease-and-desist order, which carries a stiffer penalty: up to $10,000 for each day of non-compliance.

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E-commerce software provider NetSuite reports a 34% hike in Q3 revenue

October 30, 2015 Leave a comment

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The provider of cloud-based e-commerce and business operations software, NetSuite, says it’s getting strong demand from B2B clients.

Increasing demand from manufacturers, distributors and wholesalers for e-commerce software integrated with financial software contributed to a sharp increase in third-quarter revenue for NetSuite Inc., the company says.

“Distributors, wholesalers, and manufacturers are all in a similar situation, where matching the demand side of the equation with the supply side is very important for efficiency in that business,” CEO Zach Nelson said in a conference call with stock analysts last week. “The combination of [NetSuite’s] commerce front-end with all of the capabilities we have in the enterprise resource planning and services resource planning are very important for them.”

Manufacturers and distributors use enterprise resource planning, or ERP, systems to manage such operations as inventory, financial accounting and customer relationships. During the third quarter ended Sept. 30, more than 430 manufacturers, distributors, wholesalers and retailers deployed NetSuite’s SuiteCommerce e-commerce platform, along with its OneWorld global business software systems, the company says. “OneWorld sales accounted for more than 50% of new business, and we had a higher number of customers upgrading to OneWorld than in any quarter in history,” said Ron Gill, chief financial officer.

Total Q3 revenue increased 34.2% to $192.8 million from $143.7 million a year earlier.

The majority of NetSuite’s new clients are small-and medium-sized businesses involved in industrial distribution or in employee benefits administration, Nelson said. WHSmith, a retail chain offering books, periodicals, stationery and gifts based in the United Kingdom, launched NetSuite SuiteCommerce in Q3 as an e-commerce platform for selling to businesses. “WHSmith sells its own brand and selected branded merchandise to over 200 franchise stores and various wholesale customers throughout the world,” says David McGrath, head of shared I.T. services at WHSmith. “To meet the needs of our customers we needed to develop a world-class business-to-business commerce capability. NetSuite SuiteCommerce offers an ideal combination of rapid time to market and rich functionality that will help us support the growth of our franchise and wholesale business.”

Other companies that have recently deployed SuiteCommerce include Maclaren, a manufacturer of baby strollers, and Domino’s Pizza, which uses NetSuite’s e-commerce software to let its franchisees order supplies. Businesses located in the Europe, the Middle East and Africa regions showed the strongest demand for NetSuite software, Nelson said. “In Q3, EMEA continued its streak as being our strongest region,” he said. “During the quarter, we doubled down on our investment there.”

NetSuite generates about 25% of its revenue outside the United States. The software provider opened two new European data centers in Q3—one in Dublin, the other in Amsterdam—to support increased demand as well as to accommodate changing requirements in European data privacy. NetSuite also hired sales and marketing staff at its European offices during Q3, and now has a total of 700 personnel based in Europe.

NetSuite does not break out sales of SuiteCommerce, its e-commerce software, from sales of it broader OneWorld software that companies use to manage globally dispersed operations and balance their financial books, track sales, customer history and inventory, among other functions.

“In 2015, we’ve grown the sales organization about 48% year over year, which is probably the fastest we floated in several years,” Nelson said. “Our services organization has grown concomitantly with that, it’s a little bit of 50% from a year earlier. For us, when we hire sales people, we’re often also hiring services people to ensure that implementation and ensure customer satisfaction.”

NetSuite also reported for the third quarter ended Sept. 30:

  • $154.7 million in revenue from software subscription and support services, up 33.6% from $115.8 million a year earlier;
  • Sales and marketing costs of $102.1 million, up 36.7% from $74.7 million;
  • Product development costs of $36.1 million, up 26.2% from $28.6 million;
  • A GAAP net loss of $37.3 million, which widened by 27.3% from $29.3 million;
  • Non-GAAP net income, which excludes such expenses as stock-based compensation and costs related to acquisitions, of $2.6 million, down from $8.3 million.

GAAP, or generally accepted accounting principles, is the set of accounting rules used by U.S. publicly owned companies.

NetSuite didn’t provide year-to-date financial figures for its first nine months, which it will release next month in its 10Q third-quarter financial statement filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

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E-commerce is a bright spot in Q4 for MSC Industrial Supply

October 30, 2015 Leave a comment

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Internet sales neared 60% of total sales for MSC Industrial Supply’s fiscal fourth quarter.

The fiscal fourth quarter wasn’t an easy one for MSC Industrial Supply Co., as a drop in oil prices and a strong U.S. dollar dampened demand from manufacturers for MSC’s business and industrial supplies and caused its total net sales to inch up just one tenth of 1%. “Conditions worsened as the quarter progressed,”president and CEO Erik Gershwind said Monday on an earnings call with stock analysts.

But things were better in MSC’s online business, as e-commerce sales increased a relatively strong 5.7% in the quarter, which ended Aug. 29, to $412.44 million from $390.20 million a year earlier, Gershwind said on the call, according to a transcript provided by Seeking Alpha. As a percentage of total sales, E-commerce increased to 56.7% from 53.7%.

Gershwind said that online sales were also helped by customers purchasing more through MSC’s vending business, which lets companies place online orders for such supplies as drill bits and work gloves that their employees can retrieve from worksite vending machines stocked by MSC. “Vending and e-commerce remain strong, as our customers continue to leverage our technology platforms,” he said on the earnings call.

The company includes in its total e-commerce sales figure sales through its vending business and its web sites, MSCDirect.com and discount site Use-Enco.com; other unnamed web portals; XML-based online ordering systems; and electronic data interchange, or EDI, which uses private networks to exchange invoices and other business documents. MSC sells metalworking services in addition to a wide range of products that companies use in the maintenance, repair and operation of their facilities.

Although it doesn’t break out sales for the e-commerce sites, Gershwind said MSCDirect.com has performed particularly well following investments to that site’s functionality. “We’re really pleased with the performance of the website,” he said, adding: “A lot of the investments that we’ve made into functionality have worked out quite well.”

Gershwind didn’t elaborate on MSCDirect.com’s improvements, but MSC has made several site upgrades over the past year designed to make it easier for customers, including those arriving on its site from Internet searches, to more easily find and purchase products.

Gershwind added in the earnings call that MSC recently added about 150,000 SKUs to its e-commerce site, bringing to about 1 million the number of SKUs it sells online. In addition, MSC said in a 10K financial statement filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission that it plans to continue expanding and changing its online SKU count in 2016. “Customers continue to drive more of their fulfillment needs electronically,” MSC says in the filing. “To support this trend, we believe that increasing the breadth and depth of our online product offering and removing non-value-added SKUs is critical to our continued success.”

MSC also reported for the fourth quarter ended Aug. 29:

  • E-commerce increased to 56.7% from 53.7% of total sales, which increased only 0.11% to $727.41 million from $726.62 million.
  • Net income of $59.0 million, down 6.1% from $62.8 million a year earlier;

For the full fiscal year, MSC reported:

  • E-commerce sales increased 21.0% to $1.62 billion from $1.34 billion;
  • E-commerce increased to 55.6% from 48.0% of total sales, as total sales increased 4.4% to $2.910 billion from $2.787 billion in the prior year;
  • Net income of $231.31 million, down 2.0% from $236.07 million the prior year.

MSC is No. 97 in the B2B E-Commerce 300, a new ranking of B2B e-commerce companies by annual web sales published by Vertical Web Media, which also publishes B2BecNews, B2BeCommerceWorld.com and the business magazine Internet Retailer.

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LinkedIn Has a Pleasant Surprise for Wall Street

October 30, 2015 Leave a comment
The New York Times
Friday, October 30, 2015
For the latest updates, go to nytimes.com/bits »
Daily Report
| The news wasn’t all bad this week for social media companies reporting their quarterly earnings.
After the close of trading on Thursday, LinkedIn, the social media site you often forget about when you’re not looking for a new job, announced earnings that beat expectations, sending the company’s stock up more than 12 percent in after-hours trading.
Revenue at the Mountain View, Calif., company rose 37 percent from the same period last year to $780 million. LinkedIn lost $40.5 million, or 31 cents a share, up from $4.3 million, or 3 cents a share, last year. But not including certain expenses like employee stock compensation, the company would have made 78 cents a share, well above the 47 cents a share analysts were expecting.
More important, LinkedIn also raised its financial forecast for the full year.
That stands in contrast to another big name in social media, Twitter, whichreported its earnings earlier in the week. While Twitter saw significant revenue growth in the most recent quarter, the one number Wall Street is watching – user growth – remained stagnant. And the San Francisco company also dampened expectations for its fourth quarter.
There doesn’t appear to be a common message to be gleaned from results from the two companies. Twitter’s challenges are well documented. And LinkedIn appears to be finding more ways to squeeze money from its less glamorous service.
Next week, Facebook will announce its quarterly results, which are expected to be strong. Perhaps the only big question will be how much advertising Facebook is pulling away from the smaller social media companies.
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Today’s Top Retail Stories

October 30, 2015 Leave a comment
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How Android Wear might know if you’re a vehicle driver or a passenger

October 30, 2015 Leave a comment

It’s safer to reduce wearable device functions while driving but only if it’s done for the driver. Google has an idea how to let passengers still use their smartwatch while in the car.

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Being a patent, the wording is broad and applies to wearable devices in general. With Google Glass now refocused on vertical markets, it’s more likely that Android Wear watches would be the first devices that could benefit from the patent.

By knowing if an Android Wear smartwatch or other wearable device is being used by a driver, Google could limit the amount of touchscreen interaction for safety reasons. In that case, perhaps the only way to use the watch would be through voice commands and audio feedback.

Since a vehicle’s passenger isn’t required to keep their eyes on the road, there’s no need to provide the same limitations to them. In fact, it would be downright annoying for the smartwatch to detect travel movement and reduce functionality for someone who’s along for the ride.

The technology that Google outlined in the patent, of course, isn’t quite new but it would be an improvement.

There have long been mobile apps that detect when you’re in a moving vehicle and reduce on-screen functions or read incoming messages aloud. The problem is that it’s more difficult to tell if the smartphone is being used by a driver or a passenger; it’s easier with a wearable device since the driver’s movement can be seen as they steer or shift the car.

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Mastering a Seamless B2B/B2C Omni-Channel Experience

October 30, 2015 Leave a comment

Live Webinar – Wednesday November 181PM ET / 10AM PT

ccording to Forrester Research, B2B online sales are forecast to grow at a rate of nearly 64% to top $1.1 trillion by 2020, comprising 12% of all B2B sales, and the forecasted revenues for B2B eCommerce this year alone total $780 billion more than double the $334 billion predicted for all of direct-to-consumer retail sales online.  We can all agree – the imperative to integrate the B2C website with the B2B website has never been greater.

Join us for an exclusive webinar with guest speaker, Andy Hoar, Principal Analyst, from Forrester Research who will discuss the fast-growing and ever-changing B2B eCommerce landscape and outline what merchants need to know in coming months.  Also join special guest, Pam Schechtman Vice President, Enesco Corporate e-Channel, who will provide insights and best practices Enesco followed to create a seamless experience for their B2C and B2B commerce merchants.

Tune in to our live webinar with your team and bring along any questions to the Q&A session!

Hope to see you there!
-The eTail Team

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