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  Wednesday, 15 Feb 2012 | 3:32 PM ET

Highlights From the Toy Fair

Highlights From Toy Fair 2012

“Play Happens” is the motto you see splattered on signs as you walk around the American International Toy Fair at the Jacob K. Javitz Center in New York, and indeed it does. That might be why the mood remained upbeat at the 2012 Toy Fair, despite coming off another year of weak toy industry sales. U.S. retail sales of toys generated $21.18 billion in 2011, a 2 percent decline from the $21.68 billion in toy sales rung up in 2010, according to market researcher NPD Group. Of course the decline was
Photo by Adam Jeffery for CNBC.com
“Play Happens” is the motto you see splattered on signs as you walk around the American International Toy Fair at the Jacob K. Javitz Center in New York, and indeed it does. That might be why the mood remained upbeat at the 2012 Toy Fair, despite coming off another year of weak toy industry sales. U.S. retail sales of toys generated $21.18 billion in 2011, a 2 percent decline from the $21.68 billion in toy sales rung up in 2010, according to market researcher NPD Group. Of course the decline was

“Play Happens” is the motto you see splattered on signs as you walk around the American International Toy Fair at the Jacob K. Javitz Center in New York, and indeed it does. That might be why the mood remained upbeat at the 2012 Toy Fair, despite coming off another year of weak sales.

U.S. retail sales of toys generated $21.18 billion in 2011, a 2 percent decline from the $21.68 billion in toy sales rung up in 2010, according to market researcher NPD Group. Of course the decline was not even; sales of licensed toys bucked the trend, rising 2 percent in dollar sales; and there were some brands such as Mattel’s Barbie and Crayola that continued to turn in a strong performance.

Classic toys such as building sets and dolls saw the most significant sales gains, 23 percent and 7 percent, respectively.

But to stay relevant, toymakers are looking to new products to excite shoppers and get them to buy, and that’s what Toy Fair is all about. Click ahead to see some of the coolest toys from Toy Fair 2012.

By Christina Cheddar-Berk,
Posted 15 February 2012

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  Friday, 10 Feb 2012 | 6:00 PM ET

New York Fashion Week Fall 2012

Posted ByKatie Little

Hot Looks from This Season’s Collections

kicks off its fourth season at Lincoln Center where models dressed in cutting-edge designs will hit the runway.Thousands of fashion industry insiders will descend upon New York during the next week to see more than 90 of fashion’s most well-respected and emerging designers present their collections for the upcoming fall season. Fashion trend forecasters expect designs to emphasize simplicity and employ more feminine shapes and fabrics.Although the economy has shown signs of rebounding, industry
Photo: Getty Images
kicks off its fourth season at Lincoln Center where models dressed in cutting-edge designs will hit the runway.Thousands of fashion industry insiders will descend upon New York during the next week to see more than 90 of fashion’s most well-respected and emerging designers present their collections for the upcoming fall season. Fashion trend forecasters expect designs to emphasize simplicity and employ more feminine shapes and fabrics.Although the economy has shown signs of rebounding, industry

Models wearing cutting-edge designs are hitting the runways at New York's Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, which is in its fourth season at Lincoln Center.

Thousands of fashion-industry insiders are in New York through Feb. 16 to see 90 of fashion’s most well-respected and emerging designers present their collections for the upcoming Fall season. Fashion trend forecasters expect designs to emphasize simplicity and employ more feminine shapes and fabrics.

Although the economy has shown signs of rebounding, industry experts say consumers still seem cautious about planning their luxury purchases.

High fashion continues to take note of consumers who wish to buy big names on a not-so-big budget. Several designers, including Jason Wu, Missoni, and Nicole Miller, have collaborated with mass-market retailers to offer collections with lower price points.

Click ahead for some highlights from the New York Fall 2012 fashion show.

By Katie LittlePosted 10 Feb 2012
Updated 13 Feb 2012

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  Wednesday, 1 Feb 2012 | 2:02 PM ET

His and Hers Valentine's Gifts

Posted ByKatie Little

Gifts for Every Type of Valentine

Love may be blind – but it’s not free. In fact, Americans are planning to spend big bucks this Valentine’s Day to show their significant others that they care, according to a new report. The National Retail Federation forecasts that love-struck consumers will spend 8.5 percent more on Valentine’s Day this year bringing the average spending to $126.03 per person, or a total of $17.6 billion. Men will once again be the big spenders, shelling out almost twice as much for women in the elusive hunt f
Photo: Tooga | Riser| Getty Images
Love may be blind – but it’s not free. In fact, Americans are planning to spend big bucks this Valentine’s Day to show their significant others that they care, according to a new report. The National Retail Federation forecasts that love-struck consumers will spend 8.5 percent more on Valentine’s Day this year bringing the average spending to $126.03 per person, or a total of $17.6 billion. Men will once again be the big spenders, shelling out almost twice as much for women in the elusive hunt f

Love may be blind — but it’s not free. In fact, Americans are planning to spend big bucks this Valentine’s Day to show their significant others that they care, according to a new report.

The National Retail Federation forecasts that love-struck consumers will spend 8.5 percent more on Valentine’s Day this year, bringing the average spending to $126.03 per person, or a total of $17.6 billion.

Men will once again be the big spenders, shelling out almost twice as much for women in the elusive hunt for the ideal gift, the NRF said.

But once Cupid has helped you snag your true love, where do you buy the present that will make your other half swoon. To help you out, we’ve found a variety of “his” and “hers” gifts — for whatever type of sweetie is in your life.

Click ahead to see some Valentine’s Day gift ideas.


By Katie LittlePosted 1 Feb 2012

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  Friday, 6 Jan 2012 | 10:32 AM ET

Highlights from the 2012 New York Boat Show

Posted ByKatie Little

The Spring 2012 Boat Show

After the recession hit, cautious Americans were not exactly running to break out the fishing tackle box and shell out cash for a new boat. In fact, new boat sales plunged about 55 percent as boaters scaled back their spending and bought pre-owned models instead. But as the winter boat show season began in New York City on Jan. 4, manufacturers and dealers have reason to be optimistic. Consumers appear to be testing the boat-buying waters again, and industry officials predict new boat sales will
Photo: Tiara Yachts
After the recession hit, cautious Americans were not exactly running to break out the fishing tackle box and shell out cash for a new boat. In fact, new boat sales plunged about 55 percent as boaters scaled back their spending and bought pre-owned models instead. But as the winter boat show season began in New York City on Jan. 4, manufacturers and dealers have reason to be optimistic. Consumers appear to be testing the boat-buying waters again, and industry officials predict new boat sales will

After the recession hit, cautious Americans were not exactly running to break out the fishing tackle box and shell out cash for a new boat. In fact, new boat sales plunged about 55 percent as boaters scaled back their spending and bought pre-owned models instead.

But as the winter boat show season began in New York City on Jan. 4, manufacturers and dealers have reason to be optimistic. Consumers appear to be testing the boat-buying waters again, and industry officials predict new boat sales will have ended 2011 higher for the first time in five years.

Because industry sales are still slow, this could be an ideal time to take a dip in the market.

Click ahead for highlights from this year's New York boat show.

By Katie Little
Posted 6 January 2012

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  Friday, 16 Dec 2011 | 1:13 PM ET

Best Coffee Table Books for 2011

Best Coffee Table Books for 2011

You’ve done it again – you’ve run out of time and ideas and you need those gifts now.Relax.I’ve already shared with you my list of the  – but sometimes words aren’t enough. In fact, sometimes words are too much and what you really want from a great book – are great pictures.What you need then,  is that perfect coffee table book that will sweep those “hard-to-buy-for” people  off their feet – transporting them to another place, giving them hours of joy just flipping through the pictures.Click ahe
Photo Credit: Betsie Van Der Meer | Taxi | Getty Images
You’ve done it again – you’ve run out of time and ideas and you need those gifts now.Relax.I’ve already shared with you my list of the – but sometimes words aren’t enough. In fact, sometimes words are too much and what you really want from a great book – are great pictures.What you need then,  is that perfect coffee table book that will sweep those “hard-to-buy-for” people  off their feet – transporting them to another place, giving them hours of joy just flipping through the pictures.Click ahe

You’ve done it again. You’ve run out of time and ideas — and you need those gifts now!

Relax.

I’ve already shared with you my list of the Best Books for the Holidays — but sometimes words aren’t enough. In fact, sometimes words are too much and what you really want from a great book...are great pictures.

What you need, then, is that perfect coffee table book that will sweep those “hard-to-buy-for” people off their feet — transporting them to another place, giving them hours of joy just flipping through the pictures.

Click ahead to see some great ideas for that traveler, cat lover, adventurer, movie fan, nature lover, foodie, or fashionista on your list.

By Gloria McDonough-Taub
Posted 16 December 2011

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  Tuesday, 6 Dec 2011 | 1:22 PM ET

For the Clients: Corporate Gift Giving 2011

Posted By Jennifer Zabasajja, Special to CNBC.com

For the Clients

This holiday season companies are shying away from traditional pricey holiday gift giving, and sticking to an economical approach. With company budgets still tight for some, company gift givers are looking for the most cost-effective, charitable or personal gifts to send this year. Though skipping client gift giving altogether is not recommended, experts say sending gifts can positively impact client and company relations and leave a lasting impression on recipients. Saying thanks and taking a m
Photo: VStock LLC/Tanya Constantine | Tetra | Getty Images
This holiday season companies are shying away from traditional pricey holiday gift giving, and sticking to an economical approach. With company budgets still tight for some, company gift givers are looking for the most cost-effective, charitable or personal gifts to send this year. Though skipping client gift giving altogether is not recommended, experts say sending gifts can positively impact client and company relations and leave a lasting impression on recipients. Saying thanks and taking a m

This holiday season companies are shying away from traditional pricey holiday gift giving, and sticking to an economical approach. With company budgets still tight for some, gift givers are looking for the most cost-effective, charitable, or personal gifts to send this year.

Though skipping client gift giving altogether is not recommended, experts say sending gifts can positively impact client and company relations, and leave a lasting impression on recipients. Saying thanks and taking a moment to spread some holiday cheer can be accomplished in less time than ever this year. It's even easier than ever to find gifts that can be personalized for your clients, and you may want to consider branding your gift. Both of these touches can help form an emotional bond with your customers.

Here’s a look at some of this season's most popular and easily accessible corporate gift giving products that will impress your clients and ensure a timely delivery.

By Jennifer Zabasajja
Posted 06 Decemebr 2011

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  Wednesday, 23 Nov 2011 | 9:27 AM ET

The Cost of a Thanksgiving Dinner 2011

Thanksgiving Prices on the Rise

Please pass the peas — and the wallet — Thanksgiving dinner will cost quite a bit more this year. According to the American Farm Bureau Federation’s survey, turkey dinner and all the fixings will cost about $49.20, or about 13 percent more than it did last year. That’s the biggest increase in years. Blame the recent boom in crop and livestock prices, which pushed up the cost of nearly every item on the Thanksgiving shopping list. Prices for commodities have risen due to poor weather, which shran
Photo: iStock
Please pass the peas — and the wallet — Thanksgiving dinner will cost quite a bit more this year. According to the American Farm Bureau Federation’s survey, turkey dinner and all the fixings will cost about $49.20, or about 13 percent more than it did last year. That’s the biggest increase in years. Blame the recent boom in crop and livestock prices, which pushed up the cost of nearly every item on the Thanksgiving shopping list. Prices for commodities have risen due to poor weather, which shran

Please pass the peas — and the wallet — Thanksgiving dinner will cost quite a bit more this year.

According to the American Farm Bureau Federation’s survey, turkey dinner and all the fixings will cost about $49.20, or about 13 percent more than it did last year.

That’s the biggest increase in years. Blame the recent boom in crop and livestock prices, which pushed up the cost of nearly every item on the Thanksgiving shopping list.

Prices for commodities have risen due to poor weather, which shrank the size of U.S. crops, and retailers are being more aggressive about passing those costs along to consumers.

Click ahead to see how the costs break down per item. All costs are based on the prices collected by 141 volunteer shoppers in 35 states, who are asked by the AFBF to hunt for the least expensive prices, but not take advantage of promotional coupons or other purchase deals.

By Christina Cheddar-Berk,
Posted 21 November 2011

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  Friday, 18 Nov 2011 | 3:33 PM ET

Holiday Tipping Guide: 2011

Posted ByHeesun Wee

Whom to Tip

Holiday tipping time is here. If you’re looking for advice on how much to give and who should be on your list, we’ve got you covered. We asked expert Diane Gottsman of The Protocol School of Texas for some guidelines. Plus, what to do when you can’t give as much as you’d like. Click ahead to see who gets what.
Photo: Getty Images
Holiday tipping time is here. If you’re looking for advice on how much to give and who should be on your list, we’ve got you covered. We asked expert Diane Gottsman of The Protocol School of Texas for some guidelines. Plus, what to do when you can’t give as much as you’d like. Click ahead to see who gets what.

Holiday tipping time is here. If you’re looking for advice on how much to give and who should be on your list, we’ve got you covered.

We asked experts including Diane Gottsman of The Protocol School of Texas for some guidelines. Plus, what to do when you can’t give as much as you’d like.

Click ahead to see who gets what.

By Heesun Wee
Posted 18 November 2011

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  Thursday, 17 Nov 2011 | 11:52 AM ET

Holiday Gifts That Last All Year 2011

Posted ByKirsten Chang

Gift-of-the Month Clubs

The holidays are a great time to show your loved ones how much you care, but why limit these sentiments to once a year? Instead, you can send them love all year round by purchasing gift-of-the-month specials from retailers such as J. Crew and Jacques Torres. To join these clubs, there is no secret password or embarrassing initiation process, but be warned: You may have to splurge a little. Click ahead to see some unique gifts you can give all year long.
Photo: Andy Crawford | Dorling Kindersley | Getty Images
The holidays are a great time to show your loved ones how much you care, but why limit these sentiments to once a year? Instead, you can send them love all year round by purchasing gift-of-the-month specials from retailers such as J. Crew and Jacques Torres. To join these clubs, there is no secret password or embarrassing initiation process, but be warned: You may have to splurge a little. Click ahead to see some unique gifts you can give all year long.

The holidays are a great time to show your loved ones how much you care, but why limit these sentiments to once a year? Instead, you can send them love all year round by purchasing gift-of-the-month specials from retailers such as J. Crew and Jacques Torres.

To join these clubs, there is no secret password or embarrassing initiation process, but be warned: You may have to splurge a little.

Click ahead to see some unique gifts you can give all year long.

By Kirsten Chang
Posted 17 November 2011

»Read more

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