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Holiday Planning

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW NOW

Each year in July, Earnshaw’s turns its sights to the all-important holiday selling season. As we went to press, two surveys emerged that may inject some badly-needed optimism into the air as retailers plan their end-of-year buys and window displays.

First, Father’s Day spending was expected to reach record highs of $14.3 billion, with 43 percent going to clothing items. National Retail Federation (NRF) President and CEO Matthew Shay says it could be a sign “related to consumers’ willingness to spend more as we head into the second half of the year.” More good news: Toys also saw a bump in U.S. sales during the first quarter of the year, up 6 percent to $206 million compared with the first quarter last year, according to the NRF. In May, U.S. retail sales increased for the second straight month, up 0.5 percent. The jump was higher than economists expected and speaks to healthy demand. Looking ahead, a study conducted by Research and Markets predicts expansion in the global childrenswear business from 2016 to 2020 thanks to the rising number of working women.

Anecdotally, we know the challenges that have affected manufacturers and retailers alike. Crazy weather patterns earlier this year prevented moms from buying big-ticket items, like coats, leaving excess inventory in stores. The flip side, however, is that there will be plenty of merchandise for back-to-school and the holidays when shopping kicks into higher gear. Lauren Olsen tackled these issues and more in her holiday retail report entitled “Jingle Bells,” p. 16. Meanwhile, Emily Beckman combed the showrooms to uncover fun and imaginative items just perfect for the increasingly crucial add-on sales. See her Gift Guide on p. 20. Finally, Sesame Street Workshop opened up its world of brand collaborations with Cookie Monster, Oscar the Grouch and more, to Earnshaw’s. See our Q&A with Gabriela Arenas, Sesame Street’s Vice President of Licensing in North America  on p. 12.

In the next few months, you will notice some changes in Earnshaw’s. We recently conducted a survey and heard your call for more trend forecasts, market analysis and new resources. Our goal is to deliver that business intelligence in an updated, sophisticated look and feel. We’d love to hear your feedback. Please don’t hesitate to drop me a line.

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