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Christmas Strategies

by Cynthia L. McGowan

     Although it’s only July, it’s not too early to plan for Christmas. That’s why we’ve packed this issue with ideas and inspiration to help you plan your best season yet.

     From “Merchandising Merit,” on Page 12, to “Success Strategies,” on Page 58, we give merchandising inspiration, provide design ideas, and offer products and strategies to earn sales for Christmas 2011. The centerpiece of our coverage is our “Christmas Planner,” Pages 43 to 49, which identifies six themes for the season and provides coordinating merchandise. Our senior editor, Shelley Urban, interviewed dozens of experts to discern the looks that will make a connection with consumers this year.

     As you are putting together your holiday plan, a key factor will be consumers’ mood. Will they be ready to spend more on Christmas décor? Or are they going to hold tight to their discretionary dollars?

     Data from the Produce Marketing Association’s (PMA) Christmas 2010 “Holiday Floral Market Watch Report” provides insight into last year’s spending and how you can plan your product mix this year accordingly. (PMA members can access the full report at

     The report, prepared by the Perishables Group, West Dundee, Ill., reveals that 56 percent of retailers and 57 percent of suppliers saw 2010 Christmas sales decrease from 2009. “This was likely fueled by consumers purchasing lower-priced Christmas floral items in 2010 than in 2009, according to the survey,” the report says. “Most retailers reported that the average value of floral items purchased was $10.”

     But the report offers strategies for this year. Sales of bouquets and arrangements were higher for Christmas in 2010 than in 2009, the report reveals, and it goes on to suggest, “Retailers can help grow the sales of these categories in 2011 by implementing in-store displays and signage showing how fresh-cut floral arrangements and bouquets are the perfect addition to any holiday gathering.”

     Other bright spots included sales of evergreens and poinsettias, with retailers showing increases in both categories. And although gift sales overall were down, retailers reported that gift baskets and Christmas-themed decorations were the most popular items in that category. “Retailers may want to focus attention to these items during Christmas 2011,” the report suggests.

     The PMA report provides much more detailed information. If you are a member, I highly recommend you check it out. By using the research available to you, along with your own data and the strategies from Super Floral Retailing, you’re bound to have a successful season.

Reach Editor in Chief Cynthia L. McGowan at or (800) 355-8086.