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February  2 0 1 4

c o m m e n t a r y

Welcoming 2014

With shoppers taking advantage of heavy promotions and last-minute deals, The National Retail Federation’s (NRF) projected forecast of a 3.9 percent increase and $602.1 billion in total 2013 holiday November and December retail sales was in line with the actual increase of 3.8 percent and $601.8 billion, according to the group’s website. In addition, non-store holiday sales, which is an indicator of online and e-commerce sales, grew 9.3 percent to $95.7 billion.

NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay framed the good news this way: “Despite facing a truncated holiday season, severe weather and shaky consumer confidence, retailers rose to the challenge and executed their strategies with proven success.”

Shay also said that since retail sales is an important barometer when measuring the overall health of the national economy, the numbers provide “a level of true optimism that the recovery is picking up steam.”

Retailers of all stripes will hopefully benefit should the spending patterns of late last year spill over into 2014. This issue is packed with tips and advice on how to serve the specialized destination retail industry.

To commemorate the toy show, we offer expanded plush and toy coverage. You can read about strategies to improve the sales of playthings at discount and variety stores, amusement parks, zoos and aquariums, independent toy stores, children’s museums, gift stores and hospital shops. Additionally, we offer a special section of new products and feature stories in conjunction with the Las Vegas show in March.

We also cover jewelry, sundries and wildlife-themed merchandise at zoos and aquariums, jewelry at gift, beach and hospital stores, apparel at resorts and baby stores, fashion accessories at inspirational shops, country store décor sales, edible and gourmet gifts and collectibles at gift shops, the best souvenirs for caves and caverns, minor league baseball mascot merchandise, Halloween merchandise at party stores and more.

Share Your Passion

SGN is always looking for opportunities to better serve its readership in the retail industry. We value your input on and feelings about our content. If there is a topic that you would like us to tackle, please let us know today by emailing

Scott C. Borowsky
President and Executive Editor

“Diligence is the mother of good luck.”
–Benjamin Franklin

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