Hasbro heads for the loo and business booms

Business for Hasbro is in the toilet, which turns out to be a pretty good place.

The toymaker’s revenue surpassed that of its rival Mattel for the first time in 17 years thanks in part to hot sales of a new board game called Toilet Trouble.

“I never thought I would actually get to talk about this on an earnings call but, you know, Toilet Trouble is off to a very good start,” CEO Brian Goldner told analysts Monday after putting up very strong first-quarter numbers.

Profit in the quarter jumped 41 per cent on rising demand for both mobile games and classics like Monopoly, which saw classic player pieces like the wheelbarrow, thimble and boot replaced by a dinosaur, a penguin and a rubber ducky.

The game Toilet Trouble follows another Hasbro game that became a viral sensation. In the earlier release, called Pie Face, players can get hit with a face

full of whipped cream.

In Toilet Trouble, players in the board game take turns flushing a plastic toilet that spits water at their faces. Shares of Hasbro touched an all-time high Monday, extending shift in fortunes in the toy industry for the Pawtucket, Rhode Island, company.

Rival Mattel reported a disappointing first quarter last week. The maker of Barbie dolls and Hot Wheel cars lost the rights to sell Disney’s princess toys to Hasbro in late 2014.

Hasbro started producing the dolls last year and company shares are up 31 per cent so far in 2017. Shares of Mattel have fallen 22 per cent in the same period.

Hasbro said its best performing toys during the first quarter were its games. Revenue for its gaming business soared 43 per cent from a year ago.

Hasbro reported net income of US$68.6 million, or 54 cents per share, in the three months ending April 2. That’s up from US$48.8 million, or 38 cents per share, a year ago. Per-share profits easily exceeded industry analyst predictions for 37 cents per share, according to Zacks Investment Research.

Revenue rose 2 per cent to US$849.7 million in the period, also beating Wall Street forecasts of $833.3 million easily. Mattel reported revenue of $735.6 million, the first time it has lagged Hasbro since March of 2000.

Shares of Hasbro rose $5.67, or 6 per cent, to close at $101.70 Monday after earlier hitting an all-time high of $104.11.

NZherald

 

Celebrity astronauts return to earth

Canadian Chris Hadfield and his American colleague Thomas Marshburn left Earth on December 19 as astronauts, but they return as internet celebrities.

Exhibition 35 of the International Space Station came to an end today, ending five months of amazing photos of our planet taken by the two astronauts which have been shared on social media by hundreds of thousands of fans.

Hadfield, Marshburn and Russian cosmonaut Roman Romanenko landed as planned southeast of the town of Dzhezkazgan at 8:31am local time (2.30pm NZT) following a-146 day mission to the International Space Station.

The undocking marked the start of Expedition 36 under the command of Russian cosmonaut Pavel Vinogradov, who will remain at the station with Chris Cassidy and Alexander Misurkin.

Live footage on NASA TV showed the Soyuz TMA-07M capsule slowly descending by parachute on the sun-drenched steppes under clear skies. Russian search and rescue helicopters were hovering around the landing site for a quick recovery effort.

Hadfield and Marshburn have attracted a massive following on social media; Marshburn has almost 40,000 followers on Twitter , while Hadfield has a whopping 850,000 followers on Twitter and another 270,000 on Facebook.

Hadfield in particular has embraced social media, posting scores of videos on Youtube sharing life aboard the ISS and also partaking in a Reddit “Ask Me Anything” live chat.

A highlight from Hadfield came yesterday, when he posted a polished video performance of David Bowie’s Space Oddity sung by Hadfield while orbiting Earth.

The video has already had more than 1.5 million views.

Bowie described the cover as “possibly the most poignant version of the song ever created”.

Hadfield’s astronomical rise in popularity came on the back of a Twitter conversation in January with four of the most famous names associated with space travel – the second man on the moon, Buzz Aldrin, and Star Trek’s William Shatner, George Takei and Leonard Nimoy.

The following month the Canadian Space Agency live streamed a video conversation between Hadfield and fellow Canadian Shatner.

Hadfield and Marshburn have boosted public interest in space and science, and engaged with the public like few astronauts before them, at a time when both the Canadian Space Agency and NASA have seen a cut in funding.

The five-month mission has not just been about tweets and videos clips, it has also been productive scientifically, with the Expedition 35 crew achieving the most hours of science in a single week ever performed on the space station. Read more about the research work on the ISS here.

Fans of Hadfield and Marshburn on social media will hope either Vinogradov, Cassidy or Misurkin pick up where they left off, although none of them appear to have a Twitter account at this stage.

NZherald

 

How the Auckland housing crisis is hitting small and medium businesses

Auckland’s housing squeeze is hitting small and medium businesses and driving staff from New Zealand’s biggest city, according to a new survey.

The overheated property market is being blamed for firms’ inability to recruit and retain the required amount of staff.

One third of the firms in MYOB’s latest Business Monitor survey say the housing market has sent current and prospective employees packing from Auckland.

Despite the Auckland market being strong within the small business economy, MYOB New Zealand general manager Carolyn Luey said if housing issues continued it could have dire effects on the wider economy.

“We are now seeing the Auckland housing crisis moving from what has been widely considered a residential issue into a business issue,” Luey said.

“If the housing market continues to run unchecked local businesses looking to recruit staff are going to find it increasingly harder,” she said.

“Without skilled staff businesses will be unable to grow and may even take steps to move out of Auckland or New Zealand altogether if they are not able to meet their staffing needs.

“Either way it is bad news for the New Zealand economy – as we have seen through the years of conducting the MYOB Business Monitor – the state of the Auckland economy has a swift flow-on effect to the rest of the country.”

Business New Zealand chief executive Kirk Hope agreed that Auckland’s housing issues were having an impact on small businesses.

“Small business is definitely feeling Auckland’s growing pains. Businesses in Auckland already have a hard time finding sufficiently skilled staff, and housing costs make it harder,” he said.

“While economic growth in the region can bring business growth, this is hampered if potential employees can’t afford to live there.

“The issue of restricted land supply pushing up the cost of Auckland housing has a definite knock-on impact on small business.”

Data reveals one third of Auckland small business owners’ perception of the Auckland City Council has deteriorated since last year’s election.Auckland’s housing issues needed to be addressed, Luey said.

This could involve revising the unitary plan, or helping investment with developers to create affordable housing, Luey said.

“I think it’s really an issue that both local and central Government need to continue to focus on and have a range of coordinated solutions to make housing more accessible and affordable,” she said. “At the end of the day small businesses need employees to help grow their business so it’s pretty tough if you can’t recruit people in the Auckland market.”

Despite the knock-on effects of Auckland’s property market, many small enterprises remain optimistic about the future, data shows.

Luey said this was due to small business owners having confidence in the economy.

While revenue results are down significantly in Auckland, the city’s SME economy has a higher expectation of improved revenue for the next 12 months, underpinned by a greater level of current activity.

If the housing market continues to run unchecked local businesses looking to recruit staff are going to find it increasingly harder.

Carolyn Luey, MYOB New Zealand general manager

Forty two per cent of business owners believe the economy will improve over the next 12 months, down two per cent from September’s survey.

Current economic activity in Auckland City is positive with businesses reporting more work booked or sales in the pipeline for the current quarter, data shows.

Despite Auckland’s property market said to be hindering recruitment, Auckland firms were found to be more likely to hire more staff and increase wages compared to others spread throughout the rest of the country.

The survey found competition to be the biggest pressure point for many Auckland-based small businesses.

“They are seeing increasing competition and increasingly difficult to find new customers, and that’s because the economy is quite strong,” she said.

Aimee Shaw is a business reporter focusing on small business

How the Auckland housing crisis is hitting small and medium businesses

Mute

Current Time1:28
/
Duration Time2:34
Loaded: 0%
Progress: 0%

Auckland’s housing squeeze is hitting small and medium businesses and driving staff from New Zealand’s biggest city, according to a new survey.

The overheated property market is being blamed for firms’ inability to recruit and retain the required amount of staff.

One third of the firms in MYOB’s latest Business Monitor survey say the housing market has sent current and prospective employees packing from Auckland.

Despite the Auckland market being strong within the small business economy, MYOB New Zealand general manager Carolyn Luey said if housing issues continued it could have dire effects on the wider economy.

“We are now seeing the Auckland housing crisis moving from what has been widely considered a residential issue into a business issue,” Luey said.

“If the housing market continues to run unchecked local businesses looking to recruit staff are going to find it increasingly harder,” she said.

“Without skilled staff businesses will be unable to grow and may even take steps to move out of Auckland or New Zealand altogether if they are not able to meet their staffing needs.

“Either way it is bad news for the New Zealand economy – as we have seen through the years of conducting the MYOB Business Monitor – the state of the Auckland economy has a swift flow-on effect to the rest of the country.”

Business New Zealand chief executive Kirk Hope agreed that Auckland’s housing issues were having an impact on small businesses.

“Small business is definitely feeling Auckland’s growing pains. Businesses in Auckland already have a hard time finding sufficiently skilled staff, and housing costs make it harder,” he said.

“While economic growth in the region can bring business growth, this is hampered if potential employees can’t afford to live there.

“The issue of restricted land supply pushing up the cost of Auckland housing has a definite knock-on impact on small business.”

Data reveals one third of Auckland small business owners’ perception of the Auckland City Council has deteriorated since last year’s election.

Auckland’s housing issues needed to be addressed, Luey said.

Carolyn Luey, New Zealand general manager of MYOB.
Carolyn Luey, New Zealand general manager of MYOB.

This could involve revising the unitary plan, or helping investment with developers to create affordable housing, Luey said.

“I think it’s really an issue that both local and central Government need to continue to focus on and have a range of coordinated solutions to make housing more accessible and affordable,” she said. “At the end of the day small businesses need employees to help grow their business so it’s pretty tough if you can’t recruit people in the Auckland market.”

Despite the knock-on effects of Auckland’s property market, many small enterprises remain optimistic about the future, data shows.

Luey said this was due to small business owners having confidence in the economy.

While revenue results are down significantly in Auckland, the city’s SME economy has a higher expectation of improved revenue for the next 12 months, underpinned by a greater level of current activity.

If the housing market continues to run unchecked local businesses looking to recruit staff are going to find it increasingly harder.

Carolyn Luey, MYOB New Zealand general manager

Forty two per cent of business owners believe the economy will improve over the next 12 months, down two per cent from September’s survey.

Current economic activity in Auckland City is positive with businesses reporting more work booked or sales in the pipeline for the current quarter, data shows.

Despite Auckland’s property market said to be hindering recruitment, Auckland firms were found to be more likely to hire more staff and increase wages compared to others spread throughout the rest of the country.

The survey found competition to be the biggest pressure point for many Auckland-based small businesses.

“They are seeing increasing competition and increasingly difficult to find new customers, and that’s because the economy is quite strong,” she said.

Business NZ chief executive Kirk Hope. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Business NZ chief executive Kirk Hope. Photo / Mark Mitchell

“The whole economy is relatively strong. From our data we can see that certainly Aucklanders are expecting revenue to increase over the next 12 months, but so is the rest of the country.”

Luey said it was great that businesses had such a positive outlook on the economy and their business prospects.

“It is really great to see that small businesses are still confident that they can see growth in the next 12 months, and that’s backed up by the fact that they’ve got strong pipelines over the next three months in terms of building sales.”

During times of competition pressures, Luey said small business owners should keep an eye on their agendas, cash flow, and make sure they have the right tools.

Survey findings

• One third of firms say housing market has sent current and prospective employees packing from Auckland.

• One third of Auckland small business owners’ perception of the Auckland City Council has deteriorated since election.

• Twenty five per cent of Auckland business owners say they expect to face competition in the coming year.

• Forty two per cent of Auckland business owners say they think the economy will improve over the next 12 months.

• Forty per cent of Auckland business owners say they their revenue will increase over the next 12 months.

NZherald

Few Tips to Start a Successful Home Staging Business

 

Auckland boasts of a booming real estate scenario at the moment with an almost 20% increase in sales per year. Home staging refers to the process of preparing a residence for sale in the real estate market. Just like any form of advertising, home staging makes use of different techniques to make a property look more appealing and attractive to potential customers. Use of greenery, lights, paintings and accessories are common and effective tools of home staging. Home staging is swiftly becoming an integral part of selling a property, hence increasing the demand for home staging professionals among home sellers and real estate agents. Home staging business is a relatively low-cost start-up, which can be executed as a part-time or home business as well. If you are into interior designing, this would be the perfect aspect for you to explore without investing much capital. Here are four tips and tricks that can help you set up a successful home staging business.

  1. Do Your Research:

A business is obviously a serious affair and a little homework is always helpful. Not only should you be adept in interior designing, you must have a clear idea about the local real estate market. Knowledge of the real estate trends can help you gauge the taste of your clients. Also, you must also have a clear picture of the current scenario of the home staging business itself, so as to identify your competitors and their strengths.

  1. Hone Your Skills:

Enhance your staging and designing skills by getting enrolled in one of the many advanced training programs available in Auckland. Not only will it make you better and more knowledgeable about home staging designing, but it would be a strong point in your resume. It is true that most real estate agents would not bother about qualifications if your work is good enough, but the certificates from these training add significantly to your credibility.

  1. Build a Portfolio:

Building an impressive portfolio of your past works is an important part of your home staging business. It would demonstrate your capability and success to your potential clients. Include only the best of your initial and low cost works in your portfolio and add active references to enhance your reputation.

  1. Communication and Marketing:

Like any other product or service in the market, advertising your business and having good contacts within your business community is a very important part of running a successful business. Having good communication skills will help you a lot while dealing with demanding clients. Be sure to have extremely clear conversations with your clients regarding the available resources, their expectation and the price. As for marketing, putting up online and offline advertisements is a good way to create brand awareness.

Home staging business is something that would not see a downward trend in the near future. With the required skills, correct plan and resources, you can set up a successful business for yourself, which would bring you profit while following your passion.

 

 

Man tells police officer he beat stepdaughter’s rapist

A man accused of beating up his stepdaughter’s rapist made a full admission to the police officer who arrested him, saying he didn’t hit the victim enough.

Constable Benjamin Reed gave evidence in the Wellington District Court this morning during a trial in which the stepfather, who cannot be named, faces a charge of assaulting the victim in Paraparaumu last year.

The victim, Jason Haward, has been convicted of raping the man’s stepdaughter and was sentenced to seven years’ jail.

The stepfather has pleaded not guilty to assault with intent to injure.

Reed said he asked the man what happened on April 23, 2016, when the alleged assault happened.

“We saw him walking, I told her to pull over, I jumped out of the car and started punching him in the face, that was about it,” the man told Reed.

When asked how many times he hit Haward, the man replied “not enough”.

“I tried to kick him in the balls once,” the man told Reed.

The man told the officer Haward had raped his daughter.

A witness to the alleged assault told the court he was driving along Kapiti Rd when he saw “a bit of a melee” on the side of the road

He described one man trying to throw punches at another man while others tried to separate them.

He said the man throwing punches was yelling “It was you, I know it was you, you raped her, I’m gonna get you”.

The witness said the victim was denying the accusations, saying he had a family and wouldn’t do such a thing.

The struggle to keep the two apart continued until police arrived.

The stepfather also gave evidence of the moment he discovered Haward had raped his stepdaughter.

He was at home on April 21 last year when he heard a “commotion” outside.

He heard his partner screaming for him and went outside to see his stepdaughter crouched naked beside a car with Haward “over the top of her grabbing at her”.

Haward kept saying the girl had stolen his wallet, but could not explain why she was naked, the man said.

The man “lost the plot” and began punching him, and his partner then pushed Haward to the ground and kicked him in the head several times.

Haward’s partner then came running down the street screaming, and said Haward had only gone out to get a bottle of wine.

When the defendant’s partner told the woman Haward had raped her daughter, the woman turned to Haward and said “oh you’re back up to your old tricks are you c***?”, the defendant said.

Police arrived and arrested Haward, but did not charge the defendant with assault on that occasion.

“The police said that under the circumstances it was anything that any reasonable person would do,” he said.

The girl was not medically examined until 24 hours after the rape, and only because her parents arranged the examination, the defendant said.

He said he knew Haward had been released. He and his partner were trying to contact police with no luck, and even spent 15 minutes at the police station trying to get someone to see them, but no one did.

On April 23 they saw Haward walking down the street, and the defendant told his partner to pull over and call the police, and he would restrain Haward until they arrived.

He said he threw some punches and so did Haward, but his intention was to keep him there until police arrived.

He said Haward called his stepdaughter a “slut”.

The trial continues.

NZherald

Kiwis living in South Korea unfazed by threats of war

Images of tanks lining up along the Korean Peninsula’s northern beaches; the growth of North Korea’s nuclear programme; talk of swift punitive measures and retaliations from the North to the South and vice versa; US President Donald Trump’s equally aggressive rhetoric that suggests a “major conflict” was possible – all give a sense of rising tensions in the area.

While New Zealand is said to be one of the safest countries on Earth in the event of a nuclear strike on the peninsula, a number of Kiwis could still be in the firing zone if military action broke out.

Currently 364 New Zealanders have registered their presence in Korea with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs – one of these is said to be in North Korea.

The Herald speaks to Kiwis living in Korea about what the reality of life is like there and if they harbour any concerns amidst the rising political tensions.

Matthew Williams, 27 is an English teacher in Seoul.

He said the Asian city’s air quality was a stronger factor pushing him to leave than any threat of nuclear war.

The former Cantabrian has been living in South Korea for just over four years and is currently living in a neighbourhood called Itaewon, right next to an American military base.

Despite the growth in attention the Western media has given the tensions between the North, the South and the US Williams said it was only “slightly more apparent than usual”.

“Koreans have grown up with this constant aggressive rhetoric being spouted from the north, so they’re used to it.”

He said most believed it was all just a big bluff on the part of the North.

“They’d tease me if I expressed any real concerns about it. We often laugh at the way western media covers the situation here.”

Williams said there often tended to be a rise in the tensions preceding an election. South Koreans were heading to the polls early on May 9, after the impeachment of its former president, Park Guen-Hye.

“North Korea always tries to get attention in the lead up to elections in the south. I arrived during the last election in 2013 and I’d say the situation then felt very similar.”

“The only difference now is Donald Trump and his propensity for escalating things by talking big without considering or caring about the consequences.”

Williams said with the two leading candidates in the South Korean elections appearing more liberal in their approach to the north, there were hopes the situation would de-escalate in time.

“I’m not an expert and I might regret saying this, but I’d feel more concerned with the risk of a big earthquake happening while I’m living back in New Zealand than I do with war breaking out while I’m here.

“The air quality here is pushing me towards leaving more than any tensions with North Korea.”

Joshua Rapana, 28, is an English teacher in the city of Suwon, an hour train ride to the south of Seoul. He said for the most part life was just business as usual.

The teacher, who was originally from Whangarei, said western media had a tendency to portray the situation as being a lot more hectic than the reality.

“Here it is another day of life. This happens every time this time of year when the South Korean and US forces do training together. The North always provokes the South and the US.

“You get the odd WTF moments when they test nukes underground and it’s just 500km away from me.”

However, he said people were “pretty chilled” about the situation and he hadn’t seriously thought of leaving.

Rapana said the new US President was a bit of a volatile addition to the political scene that raised some concerns.

“The most concerned I’ve been about the situation is now. Some of the things he says are unpredictable.”

He said the talk of the US vs the North left South Koreans stuck in the middle.

Rapana asked his girlfriend of two years, what she’d do if war broke out.

“She said: ‘What can I do? I can’t just cross the border into a different country.”

Rapana’s move to the Asian nation was prompted by what he felt was a lack of job opportunities in New Zealand after he graduated.

“Life is pretty good here. It’s just typical, like every other job, you wake up and go to work.”

He said South Korea was quite different from New Zealand. Rapana described it as a tech-orientated culture with a unique Asian twist.

As one of relatively few foreigners in the country, Rapana said the attention he drew was a bit of a challenge at times.

“They stare at you when you walk down the street, because they have never seen a foreigner so that can be a bit unsettling.”

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs advised on its site there were “no significant security risks” in South Korea.

It did say relations between the North and South could be tense with “occasional exchanges of live fire”.

“Further provocations or reactions cannot be ruled out.”

Mfat said tensions could escalate with little warning and New Zealanders were advised to monitor the media to stay informed of any developments.

It advised there was “some risk” to security for Kiwis in North Korea due to the extensive restrictions placed on foreigners and international tensions.

NZherald

Why should you start a home staging business?

 

If you are planning to start your own business, then obviously you must be looking for a great idea that would you very well and at the same time will help you earn handsomely. Any wannabe businessman would love a domain where he/she can put his/her skills to the best sure to ensure great ROIs with the passing time. Though various business ideas are very popular these days and are often implemented by potential business owners across the world, yet every idea isn’t as lucrative and promising as the home staging business.

What is what is home staging?

Unless you are a total noob when it comes to the real estate industry, you obviously have some idea of what home staging is. If the term is totally alien to you, then this bit of information will help you understand what it is. Home staging is the process of presenting a house on sale in the best way possible to the potential buyers so that they can easily grasp the advantages and disadvantages of buying the house. Moreover, house staging always involves making minor changes to the house so as to increase its overall value. House staging plays an important role in real estate transactions and is gaining more importance by the day.

How starting a home staging business can be good for you?

If you are wondering what’s so great about home staging that you should use it as a business idea, then here is what you should know.

  • The first and foremost reason is that it is almost never affected by recession whereas most other businesses will undoubtedly be affected when the market is down. When the market is up, home staging would be required so that the recent owners get the best value for the property while during times of recession, home staging would help the sellers to get a decent price for their home.
  • It has been often seen that prospective buyers only want to check out properties that have been properly staged and leave out those that aren’t well staged. Considering this, more and more homeowners ensure that they stage their house well before they offer it up for sale. Naturally, you can expect a booming business if you are dedicated to the work.
  • Starting a home staging business doesn’t require as much investment as most other businesses do. You can start your own business with a meager amount of about $250 and initially offer home staging consultations and charge for that only. Later, as you make good profits, invest a good amount in becoming a full-fledged home staging business that not only offers advice on home staging but carries out the entire job as well. So, initially, you can stop worrying about a big investment.
  • Moreover, in the home staging business, you get to decide your own work hours. Since each home staging project will bring handsome profits, you can choose to stage only a couple of houses per week and you wouldn’t fall short of cash. Thus, getting into the business will help you earn good profits without having to struggle all through the day.