Istrian caterers presented six arguments why they oppose raising the VAT rate

first_imgMembers of the Tourist Board of the Tourist Board of the Istrian County made a unanimous decision at the 21st session and advocate that the proposal of the Value Added Tax Act, which almost doubles the VAT rate on catering, is extremely harmful to tourism and catering in the long run. economic activity of the Istrian County, but also to related activities such as agriculture and construction.Today, tourism and catering are one of the few growing activities in Croatia that invest more and more every year, and according to data from 2012, before the introduction of the VAT intermediate rate, investments in tourism amounted to about 2 billion kuna per year without growth. The councils add that the announced investments in 2016 will amount to 4,3 billion kuna, and the current growth dynamics will reach as much as 7 billion kuna per year in 2019.”The County of Istria is at the forefront of this significant growth cycle of investment in tourism. Investment activity is extremely important because through increased consumption, employment and the construction sector it brings an increase in inflows into the state budget.”, Said Mayor Flego, adding that the adoption of such a Law on Value Added Tax, seen in combination with other measures that make up the tax reform proposed by the Ministry of Finance, would be an increase in the overall tax burden on tourism, which the Council considers a strategically wrong move. consequences for the economy of Istria and the Republic of Croatia.”Increasing the tax burden on the economy is completely contrary to all national strategic documents and announcements of the Government “, said the Istrian prefect, adding that with such a move, even more money will end up in the state treasury and the state will be further centralized.Photo: Barmen.hrWith the conclusion, the Tourist Board of the Istrian County points out that a double increase in VAT on catering would mean:1. A negative blow to the economy of Istria, which has a positive effect on the economy of the whole of Croatia- In Istria, we continuously invest a lot of effort and private and public funds in the development of the tourist offer, which has made an extremely big step forward in the results of the tourist season, but also in the overall branding and attractiveness of Croatia as an attractive tourist destination.- Tourism is a significant generator of the Istrian economy, which records above-average results – the average GDP per capita in Istria County is one fifth higher than the Croatian average, the unemployment rate is twice lower, and Istria has a significant current account surplus, thus stabilizing the overall Croatian economy- Double doubling of VAT on catering in Istria will destabilize the further development of Istrian agriculture for which catering is a key sales and marketing channel, especially winemaking, olive growing, meat and dairy industry, as well as other crafts and family farms that show the way destination development and year-round business to other tourist regions of the Republic of Croatia2. Non-competitiveness in relation to other destinations  – The current VAT rate in catering of 13% is already the highest in the Mediterranean. Prices in hotels and restaurants in Croatia are similar to those in Portugal, Greece, Turkey and Malta and slightly lower than in more developed markets such as Italy, Spain, Germany or Austria, but we cannot compare with these markets due to a much higher standard and much more developed total tourist offer.- The situation in the environment shows that there is no room for price increases because caterers would become uncompetitive, so the expected consequences of the VAT increase are a reduction in investment and employment in this activity.3. Stopping the development of the tourist offer that ensures long-term success and competitiveness of each destination- Gastronomy is a significant part of the overall tourist offer and has a great influence on the development of a successful image of the entire destination, which Istria has shown- Catering and non-board consumption are an integral part of the offer of tourist facilities such as hotels, apartment complexes and camps, so the increase in VAT will have a direct negative impact on further development of quality and range not only in restaurants but in all tourist facilities.- Raising the VAT on catering threatens to stop the cycle of development of the tourist offer and is a step backwards when we offered tourists only “sun and sea”4. Decline in investment and employment as an economic consequence of the proposed tax reform- Catering and food and beverage services are an integral part of every tourist facility, so the increase in VAT as a direct consequence will reduce the capacity and willingness of investors for further investments- Reduction of investments means a decrease in employment in relation to the dynamics envisaged by the Tourism Development Strategy, and consequently a loss of budget inflows5. Increasing the gray economy and unfair competition- Reducing the tax burden in the hospitality industry in 2013 reduced the gray economy, which recorded a long-term positive effect on the entire economy, but also on the image of our destination among guests- The announcement of the return of the full VAT rate is a step backwards in the fight against the gray economy and unfair competition, and it threatens that guests will again see Croatia as a backward destination where no invoices are issued and taxes are avoided.6. CateringCaterers are the biggest losers in tax reform. Although they will undoubtedly benefit from other measures (reduction of income tax, ie profit, recognition of part of the representation), it is clear that doubling the VAT will be a great burden for their further work. They are particularly surprised by the fact that the increase is taking place despite the Croatian Tourism Development Strategy for the period until 2020, which envisages a reduction in VAT. It is clear that in this way the competitiveness of Croatian tourism is reduced, given that in close and competitive countries the VAT rate ranges from 6-10%. The reduction of the VAT rate in 2013 led to a new investment cycle, which resulted in good business results in the last two tourist seasons.MEETING OF ISTRIAN COUNTY CATERERSCaterers of Istria and the surrounding area invite you to participate in a large gathering of Istrian caterers that will be held 21.11.2016. at 17 pm in the Pazin Memorial House. The topic of this gathering will be related to the increase of VAT for caterers from 13 to as much as 25%.“A hasty decision that runs counter to a number of things, and ultimately endangers less and less long-term caterers whose trades are unlikely to be able to survive this burden. Caterers fear that the government’s move will lead to numerous layoffs, the closure of many smaller outlets but also force young entrepreneurs to move beyond the country’s borders where their success will depend solely on them.. “Point out the Croatian Association of Waiters and Bartenders.last_img read more

Adriatic confirmed the highest international standard of creditworthiness excellence

first_imgThe international group Bisnode AB, the largest European provider of business and credit information based in Stockholm, which brings together more than 2400 experts from 18 European countries, awarded the Crikvenica Adriatic, which owns 8 hotels, 2 campsites and a tourist resort, on the Crikvenica Riviera. excellence for 2016.Thanks to the exceptionally good business results from last year, Bisnode awarded Jadran the highest rating of 3A, which confirmed the highest international standard of creditworthiness excellence. “I am extremely glad that Jadran and our successful business have been recognized by leading European analytical companies such as Bisnode. In the international environment, certification is a common practice, and in this way companies further strengthen their reputation and trust in the domestic and foreign business environment. ” pointed out Dino Manestar, President of the Management Board of Jadran ddBy obtaining one of the most important European standards that define the quality of business, the Adriatic is classified as 5% of the best business entities in Croatia, and the obtained certificate is an internationally recognized label of economic quality that will significantly contribute to strengthening the positive reputation of the Adriatic, both domestically and internationally. “Above all, this recognition of excellence is a confirmation of our systematic and quality work since the bankruptcy, and thus we place the Adriatic alongside other successful companies from the domestic economy, but also the European Union, because the same strict criteria apply to all holders.  Manestar points out and adds that the Certificate of Creditworthiness Excellence is based on the analysis of financial statements for the past year and business performance forecasts for the next 12 months. The analytical method of calculation is unique for all European markets, which is why, by ranking at the very top, the carrier company becomes an equal participant in the entire European market.Good business results after the bankruptcy are the result, first of all, of large investment cycles in increasing the quality of accommodation capacities, which has already raised the categorization of most facilities within the company, and two hotels, Omorika and Katarina, became the first facilities in the company’s history. with 4 stars. ” Also, works on the renovation of the Esplanade Hotel in Crikvenica have recently begun, and with this investment worth over 35 million kuna, a complete reconstruction of the hotel is planned, which will be positioned as a family holiday hotel of high category 4+ stars, with highly individualized service for guests of higher purchasing power. ” concludes Manestarlast_img read more

Hotel accommodation capacities are just one of the conditions for extending the season in Split-Dalmatia County

first_imgAs part of the extended session of the Professional Group of Hoteliers at ŽK Split, a round table was held at the HGK County Chamber of Split on the topic: “Hotel accommodation facilities – a condition for extending the season.”The aim of the round table was to gather relevant experts and open a discussion on the current state of accommodation capacities in the city and county, key issues, trends and their positive and negative sides, and provide guidelines for further tourism development. ”The organization of this round table was prompted by data on the growth of tourist accommodation capacities in Split and our county. In the last five years, in the period from 2010 to 2015, in the Split-Dalmatia County, the total increase in the number of beds was 41%, while the increase in the number of beds in hotel accommodation in the period was 48%, and the increase in beds in private accommodation 42%. The data also show that hotel accommodation facilities of a higher category have proven to be one of the preconditions for a quality extension of the season. The utilization of the capacity of county hotels in the past five years is on average 124 days and this figure is growing with the categorization of hotels, while for private accommodation this indicator is half lower. said in the introductory speech the vice president of the Croatian Chamber of Commerce for construction, transport and communications and the acting president of ŽK Split, Mirjana Čagalj.President of the Professional Group of Hoteliers at ŽK Split, Joze Tomaš, opened the discussion with an article by journalist Ružica Mikačić from 2014, since it brought together all the key problems of Split tourism, which are unfortunately still present today. According to projections Mario Šerić, director of the consulting company MarCon, Split will grow by 15% in the next 60 years, and the Split-Dalmatia County, with more than 20 hotel projects in plans and construction, has the greatest development potential.Joško Stella, director of the SD County Tourist Board, announced the preparation of a study of the carrying capacity of the county. “Once we know the boundaries, we will know which way to go. Our goal is not unlimited tourist growth, but sustainable tourism, preservation of the destination and the satisfaction of the local population that must feel the benefits of tourism. said Stella. Alijana Vukšić, director of the Tourist Board of the city of Split, said that the Strategic Marketing Plan of the destination Split, in cooperation with the Faculty of Economics, has been practically completed. In the last three years, accommodation capacities in Split have increased by 10.000 new beds. The congress center, several hotels and the primary commissioning of five city hotels (Marjan, Bellevue, Ambasador, Slavija and Central) would significantly extend the season. “Last year, 55% of overnight stays were realized in the private sector, while in the pre-season hotels were more full (51%),” said Vukšić.Photo: ECASmiljana Pivčević, head of the Department of Economics of the National Economy at the Faculty of Economics in Split, believes that the change in perception of tourism in society is changing for the better, and that interest in the tourism school is growing. “But we need to ask ourselves what we want from tourism, because in the analysis we conducted, the local population points out that the city has been taken away from the residents and that tourism has taken too much momentum.”, said Pivčević Aida Batarelo, Deputy Mayor of Split, stressed that tourism should not be an end in itself, and to be better it is necessary to develop the IT industry in cooperation with the University, and certainly have a financial regional center in Split, such as Splitska banka.Hotel accommodation facilities are indeed, but only one, one of the conditions for extending the season All participants agreed that an increase in hotel accommodation capacity is needed, but also that this is only one of the conditions for extending the season. There are many unresolved issues and problems: the problem of labor (“who will work in these hotels”), the emigration of the population from the inner city and turning it into a tourist city, lack of joint action, better management of the city, lack of parking, traffic jams, ie, as stated by Šerić, solving 4P problems in Split – palace, market, beach, parking.It is necessary to work together on the attractiveness of the destination, observing Split as a whole with the surrounding area (the growth of Split entails the growth of the surrounding area), better connection of the destination and more flights, “The more flights, the more guests!” in discussion).Split is one of the few cities that does not have a tourism development strategy, nor does it have a city development strategy. “There is currently unhealthy structure of accommodation capacities, two thirds are private capacities while in other comparable cities the ratio is exactly the opposite. Hotels are a generator of season extension, but congress tourism, city breaks, events and manifestations are desperately needed; product creation and destination branding by joint action of all actors in tourism are some of the conclusions of the constructive discussion. “They point out from HGK ŽK Split and add that tourism definitely did not happen to Split, but through the persistent work of all employees in tourism and tourist boards, Split has grown from a transit city to a destination.It is certainly positive that all topics are openly and argumentatively discussed, which is the first prerequisite for us to grow and develop, both privately and in society. The more argumentative and constructive the discussion the better. Also, the fact that we do not deal with tourism strategically and in the long run is our main tourism problem from which all problems arise.Strategic development of destinations as well as tourism in general is the only right way to solve all problems and long-term success.last_img read more

By 2020, Maistra will invest HRK 2 billion in the development of the tourism business

first_imgIn 2016, the Adris Group generated total revenue in the amount of HRK 5,55 billion, while operating income amounted to HRK 5,11 billion. Revenue from sales of goods and services amounted to HRK 3,97 billion. HRK 2,81 billion was generated on the domestic market and HRK 1,16 billion on foreign markets. Net profit amounts to HRK 501 million, which is an increase of 27 percent compared to the same period last year. If the one-off effects of the extraordinary net profit realized from the transaction of the tobacco part of the business are excluded, the net profit after minority interests amounts to HRK 446 million, which is 19 percent more than last year’s profit.Maistra continues the investment cycle with the growth of all key business indicatorsIn 2016, Maistra continued to grow all key business indicators, and the process of investing in the highest segments of the hotel offer continued. In 2016, almost HRK 500 million was invested. The largest investment, worth more than 300 million kuna, is the family hotel Amarin. It is an innovative hotel product and the largest investment in Istrian tourism in 2016. Also, the construction of the new Park Hotel is underway, a key product in the process of completing the top hotel offer in Rovinj. In addition to investing in raising the quality of its own content, Maistra is also focused on increasing the visibility and offer of the entire destination. So, for example, in May 2016, Maistra was the organizer of an attractive sporting event, the prestigious Beach Polo Cup tournament.Maistra generated 2016 million overnight stays in 3,13, an increase of three percent compared to last year. This year, too, the largest increase in overnight stays was recorded in the luxury hotel segment, averaging eleven percent. In the observed reporting period, the prices of overnight stays increased by six percent at the company level. Investment in the destination, investments in top products as well as further growth in the share of direct sales channels had a positive impact on the revenue side. In 2016, Maistra generated operating revenue of HRK 950 million, which is ten percent more than last year’s revenue. Operating profit amounted to HRK 221 million or nine percent more than in 2015. Net profit amounts to HRK 131 million, which is an increase of 28 percent. “The achieved results are the best confirmation that Adris has successfully completed the transformation of the company. We have created growing and long-term sustainable business and preserved a respectable investment potential. ” points out the President of the Management Board of Adris Group, mr. sc. Ante VlahovićThe Hilton Hotel in Dubrovnik, which was acquired in 2014, recorded an increase in all key indicators. Overnight stays in 2016 increased by four percent, prices by one, and accommodation revenues by five percent. Operating profit of HRK 16 million was achieved, which is an increase of 22 percent. Net profit amounts to HRK 12 million or 53 percent more than the profit realized in 2015.By 2020, Maistra will invest an additional two billion kuna, which will put 95 percent of hotel capacity at the highest level of supply. The current indebtedness at the level of debt and EBITDA ratio of 2,8 enables Maistra to independently finance the mentioned investment cycle.last_img read more

Gorjanović’s flag profile in Vukovar declared a geological monument of nature

first_imgAfter a two-year administrative procedure, the Decision of the Vukovar-Srijem County Assembly finally permanently protected “Gorjanović’s flag profile in Vukovar”, which was declared a geological monument of nature.The geological monument of nature “Gorjanović’s flag profile in Vukovar” is a geochronological record of climate change that took place in the last one hundred and fifty thousand years, ie during the last ice age. This locality is also significant because it contains the only registered and researched tephra (accumulation of volcanic ash brought by the wind, 145 years old) in the Croatian part of the Carpathian Basin.On the flag profile it is easy to notice warming within the ice age in the form of darker stripes on the light flag, and the researched profile has great scientific, historical and educational value, and is named after its first researcher Dragutin Gorjanović-Kramberger. In 2012, the Ministry of Environmental and Nature Protection, by a Decision, preventively protected the site in the category of geological natural monument, and at the proposal of the Public Institution of Vukovar-Srijem County, a permanent protection procedure was initiated in early 2015. The public institution of Vukovar-Srijem County has arranged the site of the geological natural monument for the general public by building an accessible educational geological hiking trail and setting up information and educational boards funded by the IPA CBC HUHR cross-border cooperation program Hungary-Croatia through the Project “Three Rivers = One Goal”.Certainly, Gorjanović’s flag profile can be interesting as a tourist product, especially through scientific and archeological tourism, and as a tourist-educational center. Also, through the development of promenades and bike paths along the Danube River, from Vukovar to Vučedol, the view of this natural wealth can certainly be another special “landmark” and a great tourist story from the city of Vukovar.last_img read more

Study examines concussion, cognition, brain changes in retired NFL players

first_imgShare on Twitter Share A preliminary study of retired National Football League (NFL) players suggests that history of concussion with loss of consciousness may be a risk factor for increased brain atrophy in the area involved with memory storage and impaired memory performance later in life, according to an article published online by JAMA Neurology.While most individuals recover completely from concussion within days or weeks, the potential association of concussion and the subsequent development of memory dysfunction with brain atrophy later in life remains poorly understood, according to the study background.Munro Cullum, Ph.D., a neuropsychologist at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, and coauthors examined the relationship of memory performance with hippocampal volume and with the influence of concussion history in retired NFL athletes with and without mild cognitive impairment (MCI). Share on Facebook Emailcenter_img Pinterest LinkedIn The authors recruited retired NFL athletes living in Texas to build a sample of 28 former athletes, eight of whom were diagnosed as having MCI and had a history of concussion. The study also included 21 cognitively healthy control group participants with no history of concussion or past football experience and an additional six control participants with MCI but without history of concussion. Of the 28 retired football players, 17 had reported a grade 3 (G3) concussion with loss of consciousness.The study found that former athletes with concussion history but without MCI had normal but lower scores on a test of verbal memory compared with control participants, while athletes with a concussion history and MCI performed worse compared with both control participants and athletes without memory impairment. There was no difference in scores between control participants with MCI and athletes with MCI on the test.Former athletes without a concussion and loss of consciousness showed similar hippocampal volumes compared with control participants across age ranges. However, older retired athletes with at least one concussion with loss of consciousness had smaller hippocampal volumes compared with control subjects and a smaller right hippocampal volume compared with athletes without a G3 concussion. The left hippocampal volume in retired athletes with MCI and concussion also was smaller compared with control participants with MCI.All of the retired athletes older than 63 years of age with a history of G3 concussion (7 of 7) were diagnosed with MCI and only one former athlete was diagnosed as having MCI but did not have a concussion with loss of consciousness (1 of 5), according to the results. Also, there was no relationship found between the number of games played and MCI, the study reports.“Our findings suggest that a remote history of concussion with loss of consciousness is associated with both later-in-life decreases in hippocampal volume and memory performance in retired NFL players. … Our findings further show that a history of G3 concussion in athletes with MCI was associated with greater hippocampal volume loss compared with control participants with MCI. Prospective longitudinal studies after a G3 concussion would add further insight to the mechanism of MCI development in these populations,” the study concludes.last_img read more

You’ve been diagnosed with depression, now what?

first_imgLinkedIn Share on Facebook So you’re depressed. You know this because a health professional has told you so, or you’ve been depressed before and there is no mistaking the symptoms. Or perhaps you just suspect that you’re depressed – you’ve used an online screening questionnaire that suggests the diagnosis, and just need to see a health professional to confirm it. What now?First stop: talking therapiesPsychotherapy remains the cornerstone of treatment. Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is the most studied of the therapies, but other forms are effective too. CBT works by addressing the thoughts and behaviours that act to entrench depression.When people are depressed they tend to withdraw from their social networks. They no longer enjoy social interactions and think they’re unappealing company. By spending more time alone, and less time around people whose company they would usually enjoy, the depression gets worse, leading to even more time spent alone, and so on. Share on Twitter Sharecenter_img Pinterest Email CBT and most other therapies act to break this feedback loop by challenging the thoughts and behaviours that reinforce social isolation, and getting people engaged again.How do you find a therapist?Your GP should be able to recommend one, or you can find names in the directories at the Australian Psychological Society and Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists. If you’re between 12 and 25, headspace is a good option.Most therapists are psychologists or psychiatrists, but some have backgrounds in occupational therapy and social work. There is actually no need for a formal qualification to work as a therapist; my five-year-old daughter could put up her shingle. But it becomes important for claiming rebates, as well as feeling confident you’re seeing someone with a degree of competence.The Medicare Better Access scheme provides rebates for up to ten sessions of therapy a year to see a psychologist, social worker, or occupational therapist.To access it you need a GP referral, and the amount of the rebate you get will depend on the qualification of the therapist. It might cover all of the therapist’s fee, or there might be a gap.You can get a higher rebate still if you see a psychiatrist, who can offer up to 50 sessions of therapy a year. Their fees are likely to be higher, though, meaning a bigger gap between what you pay and the rebate you get.The funding for ten sessions per calendar year for non-medical therapists introduces an oddity to the process. If you start seeing a therapist towards the end of the year you can get 20 continuous sessions (ten in one year and ten in the next). But if your depression hits at the beginning of a calendar year you will be cut off after ten.There are other options, though: you might be eligible for rebates from your health insurance fund and of course, if you can afford to, you can pay for the sessions yourself.Then there is online therapy, which research suggests is very effective. There are a number of options available in Australia, including MoodGYM, e-couch and This Way Up. They are worth investigating.AntidepressantsMedications for depression have got a lot of bad press in the past few years, with suggestions that pharmaceutical companies have exaggerated their effectiveness by burying equivocal or negative results.A fair assessment of the evidence suggests that overall they are effective: only modestly so, but taking an antidepressant medication is, on average, more effective than taking a sugar tablet.Antidepressant medications might be considered when therapy hasn’t been effective, when it isn’t wanted (not everyone wants to see a therapist), or when the depression is severe.One of the problems with antidepressant medications is they’re often not well-managed. Too often doctors write a script and the person stays on a low and ineffective dose of the medication without review for many months, even years.Antidepressant medications take four to six weeks before they start working. If there hasn’t been any effect by then, something needs to happen. In the first instance that is usually a dose increase.But if the medication still hasn’t had any positive effect after another six to eight weeks, another medication should be considered. You need to get to this point before you can determine that a medication hasn’t been effective, but beyond this point there seems little sense in staying on a medication that hasn’t helped.Any decisions about stopping medication, or changing dose, should be made in consultation with a doctor. Not only can they discuss the options, but they can also monitor your mood while changes are made.Diet and exercisePeople with depression are increasingly told that doing more exercise and eating better – the contemporary version of pulling their socks up – will alleviate their symptoms.The science shows people who eat well and exercise regularly have lower levels of depression. Good physical health is associated with good mental health.Whether or not interventions that aim to improve diet or increase physical fitness are effective treatments for depression is, however, less certain.The main problem with these prescriptions, as anyone who has been on a diet or joined a gym will know, is that filling them is hard.It is always good to be fit and eat well, and doctors should more often recommend that these can help depression. But at this stage, while we work out how best exercise and diet can work as interventions, they should be seen as adjuncts to the more established treatments: pursue them, but in addition to psychotherapy, not instead of it.Christopher will be on hand for an Author Q&A between noon and 1pm AEDT on Friday, October 16, 2015. Post your questions in the comments section below.By Christopher Davey, Consultant psychiatrist and head of mood disorders research at Orygen, The National Centre of Excellence in Youth Mental Health, University of MelbourneThis article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.last_img read more

Is Christmas creep making Black Friday a thing of the past?

first_imgShare Pinterest Black Friday is the “traditional” start of the holiday shopping season, when hordes of eager consumers line up outside retailers in the wee hours to ensure they don’t miss out on steeply discounted televisions, faded jeans and smartphones. Fistfights over printers are known to occur.But has Black Friday, which occurs the day after Thanksgiving, lost its luster as more retailers downplay its significance as just another Christmas shopping day, pulling the holiday season further away from its traditional moorings in December? And as consumers expect steeper discounts earlier in the year, what does that mean for retailer profit margins?The true meaning of Black FridayOnce upon a time, the Christmas season – with all its lights, mangers, music and sales – began only after we had time to digest our Thanksgiving turkeys. And that gave Black Friday special significance as its official start. LinkedIn Share on Facebookcenter_img Share on Twitter Email Black Friday’s origins are murky, with the first recorded use of the term in 1869 to refer to a crash in the gold market that sank the stock market. An oft-cited story claims it refers to the day when retailers are finally in the “black” (profitable) for the year.The last two months of the year typically account for 20% of retailers’ annual revenues and as much as a third of their profits. Nonethless, the story is considered inaccurate and more of a marketing myth.The “true story,” according to the History Channel’s website, is that police in Philadelphia used the term to describe the chaos that descended on the city as suburbanites poured in for the post-Thanksgiving Army-Navy football game.Regardless, the day’s importance is increasingly fading as “Christmas creep” – referring to businesses exploiting our holiday spirit before the holiday really begins – gets earlier and earlier every year.Seasonal shoppingMany retailers, such as Walmart, Target and Best Buy, started their seasonal promotional and discount shopping strategies in October or even earlier.More broadly, retailers are downplaying the significance of Black Friday, often still offering the especially steep discounts to lure customers but also on the day before and, in Walmart’s case, online for the first time.The retailer says its efforts to lessen the significance of the single day is aimed at public safety: a Walmart employee was trampled to death in 2008 after shoppers rushed the doors at a store in New York state.But it’s also a reflection of the reach of the internet and that more people will be tackling their Christmas shopping lists online. (A recent survey claimed more than half of respondents plan to do a majority of their holiday shopping on Amazon.com.)Other consumer surveys bear out the move away from Black Friday. Almost a third of shoppers said they planned to do most of their shopping before the week of Black Friday, while about 66% of millennials said they intend to complete a majority of their shopping by December 1.Clothing retailer Gap, another company jumping on the bandwagon, informed shoppers a week ago that “Black Friday Starts Now,” and many other retails did the same thing, diminishing the day as a “promotional hot button.”Bye bye Black Friday?But before we kiss goodbye to Black Friday as the herald of the traditional shopping season, a few retailers are fighting back or trying something entirely different – in part to protect their thinning margins.Nordstrom, for example, is holding tight to its long-standing policy of not putting up holiday decorations until the day after Thanksgiving.The Seattle-based clothing retailer has also cut the number of “clearance” events – days with promotional markdowns – by 20% this year than a couple of years ago and will trim it by another 25% in 2016.Teen apparel retailers Abercrombie and Fitch and Aeropostale are also focusing more on minimizing promotions, as opposed to the deeper cuts offered last year.REI, on the other hand, is trying an entirely different tack. It says it will close on Black Friday and give its staff the day off to enjoy the outdoors.Resistance is futileBut how far they can go in fighting this trend and resisting heavily discounting items in the face of heavy competition isn’t clear, given how pre-conditioned consumers are to the seasonal promotions.Retailers with overstocked inventories have little choice but to move product, even if they have to lower prices, even as the need to protect margins and profits grows in a bumpy economic environment. Balancing each will be a genuine challenge with a fair amount of risk in getting it wrong.A recent PricewaterhouseCoopers survey indicates that about 87% of consumers are considering price the primary driver of their purchase decisions – particularly households making less than US$50,000 a year – up three percentage points from last year, while a still-weak recovery suggests people will remain stingy about how they spend their money.Forecasts for holiday sales growth, meanwhile, have been mixed. Market research firm NPD says this season may slow the slowest year-on-year growth since 2009, or about 3%, while eMarketer expects a 5.7% jump in sales, the most since 2011. The biggest increases are seen in online sales, which are expected to account for about 9% of total sales, up from 8.3% in 2014, thanks to the growing importance of Cyber Monday, the first business day after Black Friday.In the end, whatever the original origins of the phrase, all that really matters to retailers is whether Black Friday and the rest of the holiday shopping season will in fact put them in the black – or leave them in the red.By George Cook, Executive Professor of Marketing Emeritus at Simon Business School, University of RochesterThis article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.last_img read more

School shootings and street violence: How they’re alike and different

first_imgPinterest Share on Twitter “But the basic approach to preventing them is very similar. It starts with making the prevention of youth violence a national priority.”Bushman co-authored the new report with 11 other violence experts from universities across the country. They all co-wrote a report for the National Science Foundation on what is known and not known about youth violence.This new report, which summarizes and updates the NSF document, appears online in the journal American Psychologist.Bushman said that the type of youth who become school shooters are nearly opposite of those who commit street shootings.Nearly all school shooters are white, rural or suburban, and middle class. Street shooters are often black, poor, and live in the inner-city.Street shooters often have lengthy arrest records and use handguns that they obtained illegally. School shooters usually have multiple weapons, including semi-automatic or automatic rifles, which were purchased legally and often obtained from family members.“Street shooters don’t want anyone to know what they did – they want to hide,” Bushman said. “Mass shooters want everyone to know.”And for mass shooters, their violence is often designed to be the end of the line for them: They often kill themselves, whereas street shooters rarely commit suicide.Given all the differences between street shooters and school shooters, it might appear that the causes are completely different. But that’s not true, Bushman said.“The causes of gun violence in youth are complex. There are usually multiple factors acting together no matter what kind of shooting is involved,” Bushman said.Some factors – like social rejection from peers – seem to be more related to school shooters. Other factors, like poverty, appear to play a larger role in street shootings.But many factors, like family influences, personality traits, exposure to media violence, and access to guns play a role in both types of youth gun violence, Bushman said.Bushman has extensively studied the role that a steady diet of media violence has on aggression and violence in youth.Particularly in school shootings, the role of violent video games is often debated, particularly because so many offenders were shown to be obsessed with “first-person shooter” games, where the player is the killer.“We can never say that playing violent video games is the one cause of a youth going on a shooting rampage,” Bushman said.“But there is a lot of evidence that exposure to media violence increases aggressive behavior. And evidence suggests such exposure may be a contributing factor to violent behavior, even if it isn’t the main factor. The main factor is probably easy access to guns.”Because youth violence has so many causes, preventing it also requires a multifaceted approach. Many of the solutions are well-known, if not often implemented, such as strengthening families, minimizing violent media effects, reducing youth access to guns, and improving school climates.But Bushman said tools that make it possible to search large quantities of online data have opened new doors for predicting youth violence.“It is possible to sift through Facebook and Twitter posts to determine if individuals are showing signs of violent behavior,” he said.“There are concerns about privacy. We have to make sure that when we do this kind of data mining that we only use data that is publicly available.”Bushman said improving school climate may be one of the biggest steps we can take to prevent youth violence.Often, taking a high-security approach is not the best option. Metal detectors and security guards can make students feel fearful and mistrustful.“You want students to trust parents and teachers and feel like they can talk about possible threats they hear about without ruining someone’s life,” he said.“Zero-tolerance policies for speech are not helpful. Many kids won’t report threats they hear if they know a fellow student could be expelled for what could be an idle or non-serious comment.”Bushman said that both school rampage shootings and everyday street violence need more attention from lawmakers and the public than they currently receive.“We can’t begin to solve the problem of youth gun violence if we don’t make the issue a major national priority.” Email The two types of youth gun violence couldn’t be more different, but the ways to prevent them remain largely the same, according to a new report by some of America’s top violence researchers.School rampage shootings and street shootings by youth differ in dramatic ways: They are done by different types of youth for different reasons, and often have very different risk factors.“It is amazing how different school shooters are from street shooters,” said Brad Bushman, the lead author of the report and a professor of communication and psychology at The Ohio State University.center_img Share Share on Facebook LinkedInlast_img read more

Workplace status matters — but not in the way you think

first_imgPinterest Email Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Sharecenter_img Are employees more likely to help co-workers above them or beneath them in the corporate pecking order?A new study suggests that may be the wrong question to ask. Researchers found that workers are most likely to help colleagues who are moderately distant from themselves in status — both above and below them.The results offer a new way to think about how status affects workplace relationships, said Robert Lount, co-author of the study and an associate professor of management and human resources at The Ohio State University’s Fisher College of Business. LinkedIn “A lot of attention has been focused on the direction of the relationship — which employee is above or below the other in the hierarchy and how that affects their work together. But status distance may be more important in some circumstances than whether your colleague is above or below you,” he said.“The sweet spot for helping seems to be those who are moderately distant from you in status.”The study was led by Sarah Doyle, a doctoral student at the Fisher College of Business. It appears online in the journal Academy of Management Discoveries and will be published in a future print edition.The study didn’t examine why colleagues who were moderately distant in status were most likely to help each other. But Doyle said it may be related to how workers perceive their own status within the company.“Someone near you in status poses more of a threat. The help you provide could help them pass you in status, or make it more difficult for you to pass them,” Doyle said.Those who are far above or below you in status could require a lot more time and effort to help, which could hurt your own job performance.Those colleagues who are moderately distant don’t pose much of a threat and offer the best opportunity for workers to demonstrate their willingness to cooperate with their teammates.The researchers conducted two separate studies — one in a real workplace — and both reached similar conclusions.In the first study, 267 undergraduate students read a work scenario in which they imagined they were part of a 15-person workgroup in a large sales organization.Participants were told that one of their group members was close to securing a large account, but was running short on time. The participants were asked if they would be willing to provide help, knowing that helping was optional.The crucial point was that participants were told that the person asking for help was either similar to them in status (small status distance), very dissimilar (large status distance) or neither similar nor dissimilar (moderate social distance).Results showed that participants were most likely to say they would help a team member who was moderately different from them in status.The real-world study was conducted in a large Midwestern customer call center. Employees were asked to try to make sales during their calls with customers. A list of how employees ranked in terms of sales was emailed to workers each month. That means employees always knew how their status compared to the other members of their team.While they each worked separately in cubicles, they were encouraged to help each other. Often, they would put customers on hold and ask their teammates for help with answering a question.“There were plenty of opportunities for collaboration and to give each other assistance,” Lount said.For the study, 170 employees completed an online survey asking a variety of questions. Included was a question asking each employee to list co-workers who regularly came to them for help and co-workers whom they regularly went to seeking help.A helping relationship was included in the study if two employees both agreed that the assistance did occur.In this real-world office, the finding of the first study was confirmed: Workers were most helpful to teammates who were just the right distance away as far as status goes – not too close and not too far.Lount said the results don’t mean that most people regularly refuse requests for assistance from their co-workers.“We found that people are generally willing to lend a hand. It is not a story of withholding assistance. It is more about who are you most likely to go out of your way to help.”There are certainly situations in the office where who is above the other in status will matter when it comes to offering assistance, he said. But especially when it comes to informal helping, status difference will be key.What can managers do with these results? Lount suggests that the findings might be useful when assigning people to train new employees.“You might want to avoid assigning the most recently hired employee to train the newcomer,” he said. “If that relative newcomer is worried about his or her status in the organization, they may be less than helpful with this new person who could surpass them,” he said.“Someone who is moderately successful, but not the top performer on the team, might be the most willing to help.”Doyle noted that while many organizations consider whether to flatten or expand hierarchies at their firms, this study suggests the question may often be more complex than assumed.“Managers have to consider how status distance plays a role in how well their corporate hierarchies work,” she said.last_img read more