I breathed a sigh of relief this week
as the government officially declared
the recession over. The good news
is that the recession ended in June
2009 according to the National
Bureau of Economic Research. The
bad news is that it was the longest
recession since WWII.
jobs that were lost have yet to be replaced. In fact,
unemployment is still 9.6%, which is almost hard to
imagine. Companies are running very lean right now to
make sure they can survive.
I guess my personal observation
that business has gradually improved over the last year is not a
coincidence. The difference this
Vice President of Sales
What is the key take away from all this economic
news, and what impact will it have on our industry?
Everyone is working harder now than in the previous
10 years, which means there is less time for “luxury”
and a greater focus on quality of life when you do have
free time. And, what better way to improve quality of
life then to make your time at home more enjoyable,
which fortunately, is what our wonderful industry is
all about. Keep in mind, however, that consumers are
thinking twice before spending money, so
it is critical that you know your customer
better than ever. Value is paramount!
But, value is ultimately based on your
customer’s tastes and preferences. If you
keep this in mind as you select your retail
assortment this fall, I think you will enjoy
continued retail sales growth.
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Speaking of working a little harder, I would
like to take a moment to recognize the
newly elected International Housewares
Association board of directors and board
officers, who are devoting their precious
time and considerable expertise for the
good of our Industry. See story on IHA
Board on page 14.
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Publisher, Gourmet Business
President, HousewaresDirect, Inc.
Here’s some good news for a
change – The National Retail
Federation (NRF) expects consumer
spending on Halloween to reach
$5.8 billion, up from $4.75 billion
Since Halloween is second only
to the winter holidays in terms
of decorating the home or yard,
home décor, tabletop and specialty
food retailers should rejoice. For
the record, NRF states that half
of all consumers decorate for
NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay thinks that Halloween
offers consumers “a welcome break from reality, allowing
many Americans to escape from the stress the economy has
put on their family and incomes.” He also points out that
Halloween falls on a Sunday this year, so people have an
entire weekend to celebrate.
I’m just hoping that the predicted increase in spending at
Halloween is a harbinger of good news for the winter holiday
season and fourth quarter sales.
Holiday forecasts released to date are cautious. I’m hoping
that NRF forecasts, due next month, are more optimistic. In
anticipation, we’ve put together a great set of holiday-related
products in this issue. We’ve also included coffee and tea
items that are always popular for gifts and entertaining.
By the way, NRF bases their spending forecast on the 2010
Halloween Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey, a detailed
consumer survey conducted by BIGresearch for NRF. According
to this year’s survey, the highest percentage of people in the
survey’s history will dress up in costumes (40.1%, up from
33.4% in 2009). Nearly 11.5% of consumers will embarrass
their pets by dressing them in costume. Mr. Shay may be on
the right track – apparently we do need to escape.
Executive Editor, Gourmet Business