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  • Cinde Ingram

Blending fresh new styles

Casually Speaking

The current casual season opened in the midst of drastically different retail buying patterns, changing consumer confidence, tightening credit and other economic factors that added to business challenges across the board. Trade shows so far in 2009 have followed the same lean pattern of generally slow traffic. The fewer numbers of buyers are more selective, reflecting the caution they see in consumers.

Despite the challenging economic environment, national surveys continue to show consumers are spending and planning to spend more on their casual living areas and outdoor entertainment products. Higher income consumers are evaluating purchases carefully and paying more attention to style when buying outdoor products. The number of affluent consumers going online continues to grow despite the recession, according to a new report.

"On PCs and mobile devices, affluent Internet users are more active than ever," said Lisa E. Phillips, eMarketer senior analyst and author of the report Affluents Online: Living in Luxe in Private.

Does your style and online strategy put you in the right position to sell to the people who still have money to spend?

Lindsey Hughes
Lindsey Hughes

Bringing a fresh sense of style and comfort with today's Internet technology, we are welcoming Lindsey Hughes to the Casual Living staff. You may have noticed her byline on articles in recent issues, but with a different last name. Married in May at the Carolina coast, she returned in time to help close this issue. You'll find her color trend forecast for 2010, drawing from fashion and color analysts whose predictions range from earthy vegetable influences to play-it-safe neutrals or out-of-the-box bright color accents. As New Products Editor for Home Accents Today, Lindsey brings insight into product trends that blur the lines between indoors and out.

Taking top honors in Casual Living's ninth annual Merchandising Awards contest, Summer Classics was recognized for its ability to blend products for outdoor use seamlessly with indoor. The company also blends manufacturing and retailing functions in creative ways with a sense of style that reflects acceptance of fresh ideas and allowing young talent to shine.

Feedback? Send your comments to:

Cinde W. Ingram
Casual Living Editor-In-Chief
7025 Albert Pick Rd., Suite 200, Greensboro, N.C. 27409

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