Sodexo Q1 Revenue Climbs 5.6%; Economy Hits N. American B&I
PARIS — Sodexo, a leading provider of food and facilities management services, posted $5.48 billion in revenue for the first quarter of 2009, ended Nov. 30, up 5.6% from $5.17 billion during last year’s first quarter.
Chief executive Michel Landel said first-quarter performance was in line with the company’s forecasts, and that the economic slowdown will likely be felt most at the beginning of 2009. He added the current financial crisis could ultimately lead to increased demand for outsourcing and that Sodexo’s integrated services give it a competitive advantage.
In North America, revenue grew 5.6% in the first quarter, despite an increasingly difficult economic environment. However, revenue in Sodexo’s corporate services business dropped 2.3% as a result of a reduction in discretionary spending by corporate clients, fewer employees at many sites and the end of contracts in the energy sector in Canada.
In the healthcare and seniors sector, the services provider also recorded strong performance. Organic growth of 8.4% was driven by solid comparable unit growth resulting from price increases to offset food cost inflation and an expanded service offering. Revenue from educational institutions climbed 7.5%, which the managed service giant attributes to comparable unit growth on university campuses and schools as a result of increased student population.
In Continental Europe, revenues increased 3.5%. Organic growth in corporate services slowed to 1.3%, with wide disparities between countries. In France, activity was slower in sports and leisure venues as the number of foreign tourists declined, Sodexo reported. The initial signs of a slowing economy were particularly evident in France, Italy and Central Europe, where the company served a declining number of consumers in certain industrial sites and saw reduced discretionary spending by corporate clients. In the healthcare and seniors segment, revenues grew 7.4%. A 5.5% revenue increase in education was driven both by solid performance at existing sites and the impact of contracts won in the prior fiscal year.
In the United Kingdom and Ireland, excluding the Rugby World Cup hospitality contract during the 2008 first quarter, revenue grew 9.1%. Throughout the rest of the world, revenue climbed 20.6% in food and facilities management services in all geographic areas.
With more than 355,000 employees at 30,600 sites in 80 countries, Sodexo had 2008 fiscal revenues of $17.9 billion. Landel expressed confidence in achieving the objectives Sodexo set last November for consolidated revenue growth in fiscal 2009 between 4% and 7%.
SCVA Puts Finishing Touches On Winter Training Conference
DAVIDSON, NC — The South Carolina Vending Association will hold its 21st annual winter training conference from January 22 to 25 at the Doubletree Guest Suites in Charleston. The event kicks off with the annual membership meeting on Friday morning, followed by a legislative update from SCVA lobbyist Tom Sponseller and a state immigration law report from Fisher and Phillips, a firm specializing in employment law.
Motivational speaker Ken Futch will share his secrets of achieving personal and business success during a workshop entitled “Take Your Best Shot: Turning Situations into Opportunities” on Saturday morning. Sunday’s educational session will be delivered by keynoter Bill Thomson, who will take participants back to the “good ole’ days” through his lighthearted take on “The Rare Topic of Southern Humility.”
Conference-goers will have plenty of opportunity to network and socialize with their peers throughout the three-day event. Recreational events on Friday include a lunch outing in historic Charleston and the eighth annual Don Head Memorial Golf Tournament. The day concludes with a spirited evening of hors d’oeuvres, drinks and dancing at Bubba Gump’s restaurant.
Saturday’s highlights include a dinner banquet and silent auction. The fun continues until midnight with a high-energy casino fundraiser to benefit the SCVA scholarship fund. Participants can try their luck at blackjack, poker, craps and roulette and win tickets redeemable for valuable prizes.
Complete details and registration for the winter conference are available by calling the SCVA office at (704) 896-2961 or emailing email@example.com.
Coke, Samsung Preview Touchscreen Vender At Consumer Electronics Show
LAS VEGAS — Vending was in the media spotlight at the recent Consumer Electronics Show where Coca-Cola and Samsung unveiled a Coke machine created collaboratively to engage consumers in a multi-sensory experience through touchscreen technology.
A dynamic 50-in. touchscreen interface on the machine front features graphics of available beverages that take the place of selection buttons. Customers can touch the screen to “spin” the image of the bottle to view nutrition facts on the back. When not in use, the multimedia machines broadcast advertisements.
Held January 8-11 at the Sands Expo and Convention Center here, the Consumer Electronics Show, the world’s largest consumer technology tradeshow, assembled the innovations of 2,700 exhibitors. Cnet’s coverage of the new Coke vender from the show floor can be viewed on YouTube.
New ACE Program Connects Exhibitors And Operators
MORRISVILLE, NC — Atlantic Coast Exhibition organizers are adding a new service to help exhibitors connect with key customers during the show’s June 4-6 run in Myrtle Beach, SC.
Exhibitors participating in the Key Connections program provide the ACE staff with a list of operators with whom they wish to meet during the convention. In turn, the ACE staff will invite each of those customers for a 15-minute meeting with the exhibitors. The meetings will take place on the show floor prior to show hours. Exhibitors can arrange up to 10 meetings.
Operators who meet with four exhibitors who requested their time receive complimentary show registration for their key buyer, along with one free night at the Hilton (with the purchase of a second night at the Hilton). ACE also provides them with a voucher for $200 that they can spend on goods and services from one of the exhibitors with whom they meet.
ACE is managed by IMI Association Executives, based here, on behalf of the vending associations in the Carolinas and Virginia, which sponsor the show in affiliation with the Georgia Automatic Merchandising Council. This year’s show will be the 52nd.
For more information, email Sarah Carlton at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Subway Features Dance Dance Revolution Toys In Healthy Kid’s Meals
EL SEGUNDO, CA — The Subway restaurant chain is providing an incentive for kids to get up and move when they purchase its healthy meals through a promotional tie-in with Konami’s popular Dance Dance Revolution videogame.
Now through March 29, participating Subway restaurants will offer one of six exclusive DDR-branded toy accessories, along with a $10 coupon for the latest DDR videogames for home consoles, with each purchase of a Subway Fresh Fit For Kid’s meal. Available for a limited time, the premiums include an armband, water bottle and pencil pal that promote the popular dance game.
Offering kids a fun and appealing form of exercise, DDR has been integrated into the physical fitness curriculum in many school districts throughout the U.S. Subway is the world’s largest submarine sandwich franchise, with more than 30,300 locations in 87 countries.
Betson Imperial Expands National Call Center, Extends Hours
CARLSTADT, NJ — Betson Imperial Parts and Service, a leading distributor of amusement, vending and gaming parts and service provider, announced that it has augmented its staff and extended the hours of operation at its national internal call center here. The changes will enable the company to more effectively support customers in light of rapidly growing product sales and service requests, according to officials.
The new call center hours are 8 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. EST, Monday through Friday. To support the increased volume of calls for sales and service, additional staff, including bilingual agents, is now available.
Betson Imperial also handles a full line of billiard and OCS products as well as OEM services. Its 11 strategically located sales and service offices allow the company to efficiently address customers’ needs. For more information, call (800) 524-2343 or email email@example.com.
NAMA Announces Reduced Spring Expo Room Rates
CHICAGO — The National Automatic Merchandising Association is urging those planning to attend its Spring Expo April 15-17 at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center to take advantage of recently reduced room rates.
They are available at the Luxor for $99, Sunday through Thursday, and $169 on Friday and Saturday; rates were originally $149 and $219, respectively. Mandalay Bay Hotel rates have been reduced to $109 for Monday night, $179 for Tuesday night and $199 for Wednesday through Saturday; the original NAMA rate was $199 for the first two nights and $249 Saturday.
Call (866) 889-9635 or (404) 584-7458 for reservations.
Iowa Considers School ‘Junk Food’ Ban
DES MOINES, IA — The Iowa Board of Education is scheduled to vote next month on new rules that would subject food and beverages sold in school vending machines and a la carte stands to nutrition guidelines proposed by a panel of state health and education officials, according to the Des Moines Register.
Under the new rules, acceptable beverages must have “nutritional value,” such as water, 100% fruit and vegetable juices and milk. Snacks must contain no more than 200 calories, and fat and sugar must make up 35% or less of the calories in foods sold at a la carte stands and through vending machines.