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Jackson HewittJackson Hewitt Tax Services reported it will open more of its retail tax stores than expected at Wal-Marts in time for the upcoming tax season. The company said it expects to be open in 1,800 to 1,900 Wal-Mart stores early next year. About 85 percent will be operated by francisees and the rest will be company owned. Jackson Hewitt also said it will launch its first online tax preparation software during tax season.

CEO Harry Buckley said that was above the high end of the previous statement that 1,500 to 1,700 Wal-Mart locations would be in operation, which he attributed to "diligent work" by both companies and support from Jackson Hewitt's franchise operators. The numbers were issued as part of yesterday's press release

regarding the company's results for the second quarter ended October 30.
The company sold 116 franchise territories during the quarter, virtually all at WalMart locations, compared to 61 in last year's corresponding quarter. However, revenue from franchisees dropped to $3.5 million in the recently ended quarter, down from $4.6 million a year earlier. The uptick in WalMart openings contrasted with the last quarter's report that the chain's redesign, which made it impossible to fit tax stores in some locations, had slowed the effort.

Buckley said the company is executing a back-to-basics strategy to get its results back on track after results earlier this year. Jackson Hewitt said has made a concerted effort to bring back experienced preparers and to provide better training for all preparers. Buckley said there is a direct correlation between tax preparer retention and customer retention.

Jackson Hewitt is also rolling out a marketing campaign focused on regional advertising, including television, and said it would provide more tools for franchisees to market in their local areas. Buckley said franchisees have already received marketing tool kits for the local effort. The company also redesigned its Web site and set up pages on social media sites such as LinkedIn and established a tax blog.

Buckley said the company is on track with plans for launching its online tax preparation product and successfully tested the product in early November. The product, whose name was not released, will also be tied into the Wal-Mart store operations. However, Buckley did not expect the online application would contribute significantly to its bottom line for fiscal 2010.

And since last tax season, Jackson Hewitt has also made significant changes in the operation of company-owned stores, which contributed about 13 percent of revenue. Jackson Hewitt reduced head count and closed about 200 unprofitable locations. It eliminated a lay or management and lowered the number of locations per manager while increasing the managers’ accountability.

 

 

Bob Scott
Bob Scott has provided information to the tax and accounting community since 1991, first as technology editor of Accounting Today, and from 1997 through 2009 as editor of its sister publication, Accounting Technology. He is known throughout the industry for his depth of knowledge and for his high journalistic standards.  Scott has made frequent appearances as a speaker, moderator and panelist and events serving tax and accounting professionals. He  has a strong background in computer journalism as an editor with two former trade publications, Computer+Software News and MIS Week and spent several years with weekly and daily newspapers in Morris County New Jersey prior to that.  A graduate of Indiana University with a degree in journalism, Bob is a native of Madison, Ind
Last modified on Sunday, 02 June 2013
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