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For the first time in years, we did not attend the July Gift and Home Market in Atlanta. Apparently, we were not alone. The feedback we have heard is that the traffic was down but those attending were upbeat and optimistic about the back half of the year. Many feel increased airfares and hotel fees discouraged many on the fence from attending the summer show. They have opted to attend regional markets, rely on their reps and buy on-line. I also think there continues to be a retail cleansing which I think needed to happen. The US Census Bureau reported June 2014 retail sales up .02% over May. Discretionary retail sales including Home Furnishings, Home and Garden, Electronics, and Dept Store sales declined .31% from May. The good news is the Consumer Confidence Index for July hit 90.9 which is the highest since October 2007. Although these results appear to be confusing and a little conflicting I find them encouraging for retail the back half of the year.
Since the Licensing Show we are still busy following up with requests and trying to finalize deals here, as well as internationally. We anticipate finalizing a couple deals internationally and several domestically. We are currently reviewing several product sectors and hoping to strengthen our position in those areas.
Our Tabletop partner Tabletops Unlimited has had several presentations with majors and has had strong interest. We continue to assist them in their efforts making changes where necessary. We appreciate their efforts and are confident it will result in good retail placement.
Our last show for the year will be the New York Tabletop market in October. We are currently scheduling appointments at the show as well as in the city. This show is a good time to meet with existing licensees to review 2014 and look forward to 2015. We continue to dig in the archive and uncover new licensing opportunities with newly discovered illustrations, as well as blended content created by our graphics department.
If we missed you at Licensing or Atlanta, please let us know your current needs. I guarantee we will find something that will work for you!
Director of Licensing