Supplier News

LORUS TO CENTRALIZE WATCH DISTRIBUTION

Seiko has reorganized distribution of its Lorus brand quartz watches, turning over nearly all key mass merchandise accounts from four distributors to one. Starting Jan. 1, 1996, the King Co., Austin, Tex., will head distribution of Lorus; three other distributors in New York, Seattle and Kansas City will be used only as needed at a local level, says Tony Cannilla, Lorus manager of advertising.

“King Co. will handle the large national customers such as Wal-Mart, Target and Kmart,” says Cannilla. Only King will continue to receive its watches directly from Japan. In turn, however, other distributors may buy from King as needed. “This will make distribution more efficient and provide the best possible customer service.”

The new alignment will avoid duplication of efforts, he observes, where in some cases large retail customers were serviced by more than one of the four distributors.

Lorus has been the primary product imported and distributed by King. Seiko Corp. of America, Mahwah, N.J., handles Seiko, Lassale, Lorus Clocks and Pulsar, but is not involved in distributing Lorus.

Cannilla says the current distribution network will be in place until the end of 1995, adding that the Lorus Clock sales division will not be affected.

LANDSTROM’S BUYS F.L. THORPE

Landstrom’s Original Black Hills Gold Creations, Rapid City, S.D., has agreed to purchase F. L. Thorpe, Deadwood, S.D. Thorpe, the oldest manufacturer of Black Hills gold, was founded in 1878. As a new division of Landstrom’s, F.L. Thorpe will continue to be sold under its trademarked name; both lines will be offered to current customers.

All operations of F.L. Thorpe, including production, customer service, marketing and advertising, eventually will be moved into Landstrom’s Rapid City facility.

IWI TO BUY DACO GROUP

IWI Holdings Ltd., Westmont, Ill., has agreed to purchase the Toronto-based Daco Group, maker and distributor of jewelry, perfume, watch es and collectibles primarily to Wal-Mart and Kmart in Canada. Daco will operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of IWI.

IWI Holdings’ President Richard Cieslak said the purchase gives IWI entry into the Canadian market, as well as “$16 million a year in combined sales and brings immediate benefits.”

The purchase of Daco is part of IWI’s acquisition plans for which it has earmarked $10 million, Cieslak said. Earlier this year, IWI purchased the Chattanooga, Tenn.-based Ullenberg Corporation. IWI and its subisidary, Imperial World, design and market moderately priced fashion jewelry and distribute to jewelers, mass merchandisers, department stores, military post exchanges, catalog showrooms and catalogs.

ARTWATCH MOVES

Artwatch International moved its headquarters from Larchmont, N.Y., to Dallas, Tex. The new address is Artwatch International, 2639 Walnut Hill W., Suite 205, Dallas, Tex. 75229; (800) 767-3254 or (214) 350-3331, fax (214) 350-3502.

ANGLO’S EARNINGS RISE 20% IN 1995

Earnings rose 20% to US$917 million in fiscal 1995 for Anglo American Corp., the world’s largest gold mining house.

Industrial, commercial, base met al and coal divisions showed strong gains. Finance and mining divisions reported more modest gains. Gold mining, once the mainstay of An glo’s profits, was lackluster because of static gold prices and rising mining costs.

The profit squeeze has continued into this year, says Clem Sunter, head of the company’s gold and platinum mining division. Three factors contribute to the squeeze: mining costs are rising 10%-15% yearly, no new gold mining projects are planned to take up the slack from aging operations and Anglo has done all the cost-cutting it can do, say executives.

Despite the problems with its gold holdings, Anglo is still rated as the world’s largest mining house, according to a report in the Financial Times of London. According to the Who’s Who of Mining by the Raw Materials Institute of Sweden, Anglo held an 8.6% share by value of all non-fuel materials mined in 1994. Its nearest rival was RTZ with a 5.36% share of market.

Anglo’s high percentage of precious materials – gold, diamonds and platinum -is the chief reason for its world leadership, says the report.

Anglo is the largest gold producer in the world and, through De Beers, its related company, also is the world’s leader in diamond production. The report combines Anglo and De Beers Consolidated Mines.

FYI

Takashi Wakuyama, president of Seiko Corp. of America, presented a check for $30,000 to high school students from Cass Technical High School in Detroit who won the Seiko Youth Challenge environmental science competition. The prize comprises $25,000 in college scholarships and a $5,000 grant to the school. The students won for developing a program that teaches students how to detect and avoid lead poisoning in drinking water. From left are Joe Whall, manager of corporate communications for Seiko; students Janelle Jenkins, Adrienne Lewis, David Sheikhnejad and Bryce Anderson-Small; and faculty adviser Randall Raymond. Now in its fifth year, the competition drew 325 entries nationwide.

FYI

Jerry Dikowitz, president of E. Gluck, Long Island City, N.Y., received the first-ever Bugsy Award from Dan Romanelli, president of Warner Bros.’ consumer products division. The award honors outstanding performance by a Warner Bros. licensee. E. Gluck was cited for outstanding point-of-purchase displays and materials and its trade and co-op advertising.