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Date: December 15, 2003
Vol. VII, No. 24

Printer Version

TABLE OF CONTENTS

bulletCommentary: Why I'll Vote Yes
bulletNew Columns This Issue
bulletHoliday Sales: Hit and Miss
bulletHoliday Crafting Survey Revealed
bulletFAO Schwarz in Bankruptcy, Again
bulletEmail: The ACCI/HIA Merger
bulletEmail: Wal-Mart Wasn't Hollering
bulletThe Passing of a Pioneer
bulletNovember Sales: A Mixed Bag
bulletHIA New Exhibitor Preview: Pt. I
bulletRandom Notes, Random Thoughts
bulletMiscellaneous News
bulletBusiness Profile: Alpine Import
bulletThe Creative Network: Job Openings
bulletThe CLN Retail Index
bulletMemo from Santa
bulletReminders

COMMENTARY: WHY I'LL VOTE YES

If you haven't already done so, open those large envelopes from HIA and ACCI that are probably in a pile on your desk. Each organization is asking its members to vote on the proposed merger between the two groups and your vote (votes, if you're a member of both groups) needs to be in by Dec. 31.

Voting yes does not guarantee the merger will occur. Due diligence is ongoing, and hopefully will be done before we all die of old age. But if the majority votes yes, and due diligence doesn't find any skeletons in a closet, then the merger will happen.

Here's why it should happen: the industry will have two trade shows and one unified voice – for less money. If you're a member of both groups, you'll pay less dues, have the same shows, and probably see more effective education and pr programs. It's that simple.

So open those envelopes, vote, and return your ballots by Dec. 31.

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NEW COLUMNS THIS ISSUE

 

"Vinny Da Vendor". Thoughts on how to prepare for the HIA show.

Memory, Paper & Stamps. New Year's resolutions for independents.

Business-Wise. The top stories and trends of 2003. It's been a surprising year.

(Note: To read these columns, click on the title. If it appears to take you to an "old" column, click your "Refresh" or "Reload" button.)

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HOLIDAY SALES: HIT AND MISS

We are not hearing positive reports about holiday sales. Some retailers say sales are equal to last year (which wasn't that great); others say they're a little below 2002. The retail industry seems to be caught in the same rich-poor vortex as the nation itself. High-end department stores such as Nordstrom are having a great season; so are low-end discounters. Wal-Mart, for example, says its holiday sales are on plan. It's the middle-ground (i.e., J.C. Penney, Sears) that's suffering, and our industry seems to be in that category. (Makes you wonder what's happening to the middle class in this country.)

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HOLIDAY CRAFTING SURVEY REVEALED

A September online survey conducted at HIA's consumer site, www.i-craft.com, indicates that 79% of the participants are making gifts and holiday decorations this holiday season; 63% will be doing more crafting than last year. Some highlights: 29% craft for the winter holidays year round or start as early as September (28%) ... Most crafters will spend 50+ hours on holiday crafting ... 37% make more than half of their holiday gifts ... 47% make projects to decorate their homes ... Ornaments (30%), wreaths (22%), painting/drawing (21%), and memory (20%) are the most popular projects ... 66% make crafts to give as gifts and 15% donate crafts to charity.

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FAO SCHWARZ IN BANKRUPTCY, AGAIN

A few years ago, the educational toy store was one/ of the hottest concepts in retailing; now the concept is disappearing.

FAO Inc., parent of FAO Schwarz, Zany Brainy, and The Right Start, has filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection again, but this time it's more serious. The company plans to liquidate its Zany Brainy stores and hopes to sell its FAO Schwarz and Right Start divisions.

FAO hired liquidators to sell inventory of all three of its divisions pending the outcome of its efforts to find buyers for the FAO Schwarz and Right Start divisions by today. If no buyer is found, then FAO would sell its remaining assets, including brands and leases, according to Playthings magazine.

With Toys R Us closing its Imaginarium chain and with ZB stores closing, that's the end of the educational toy store concept – at least for now.

The toy industry is already in turmoil, starting with Wal-Mart's decision to sell best-selling toys at or below cost in October; that forced Toys R Us and Target to match the prices. And the clearance sales at the FAO stores should hurt the remaining specialty toy independents.

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EMAIL: THE ACCI/HIA MERGER

(Note: The following letter is from Mike McCooey, President/CEO of Plaid.)

I would like to comment on the pending merger of ACCI and HIA. First of all, as a member of the merger task force, I am certainly in favor of the consolidation. But more importantly, as former Chair of the ACCI Board of Directors and current member of the HIA Board, and most importantly, as a member of both organizations, I fully support the concept of one unified industry association.

The fact of the matter is that we are one industry with one common goal – the growth of the craft market – as stated in both organizations’ mission statements. We all work to make our industry better as members and volunteers.

We have done extensive polling of members and they are overwhelmingly in favor of the merger. The only concern we’ve heard is that we continue to have a summer show. There will be a summer show and we are currently negotiating a long term agreement with Offinger Management Company to manage it for the new organization.

Finally, while there will be financial benefit to members, it’s not about the money. It’s about those critical issues of education and growth. It is up to the new combined Board of Directors to drive the specific programs and policies which we know will achieve the goal of a stronger and more vibrant industry through the synergies of a merger.

By now you have received the appropriate ballots in the mail. I urge every member to vote for unification. We will be a better industry for it. – Michael J. McCooey

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EMAIL: WAL-MART WASN'T HOLLERING

(Note: The following is from a top exec at one of the industry's largest companies.)

I read your comment about a vendor claiming Wal-Mart was "hollering" at suppliers" at a recent meeting. Obviously your supplier was not there ("I think a couple of categories were down") because the Craft Summit was put on by Wal-Mart to introduce their new buyer and management team to all the craft vendors and inform them of short- and long-term strategies and tactics to grow the business. It was a very positive event in which Wal-Mart senior managers reaffirmed the value and importance of the craft department. No browbeating, no strong-arm tactics for better allowances. Wal-Mart just laid out where they are, where they are going, what their plans and expectations are for growth, and then shared what new tools/technologies were available to help suppliers grow with them. I WAS there and reality is 180 degrees different than your vendor's report. – Name withheld by request

(Comment: Maybe there were two Wal-Mart meetings.)

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THE PASSING OF A PIONEER

Isidor Blumenthal, longtime president of the Lion Brand Yarn and Orchard Yarn and Thread, has passed away at 93. A third-generation merchant of yarns and notions, Blumenthal took the reins of the family business in 1958 and guided the company's transition from department stores to mass merchandisers and craft/fabric chains, and introduced synthetic yarns to the mass market.

It truly was (and still is) a family business. Isidor was joined in the business by two brothers, two sons, and three nephews. Blumenthal gave up day-to-day operations in 1991 when he appointed his son, David, as COO/Sr. VP.

Isidor is survived by his wife Ann (Chanchy), two sons, a daughter, seven grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren. The family requests memorials in Isidor's name be made to your favorite charity and notice sent to David Blumenthal, Lion Brand Yarn, 34 W. 15th St., New York, NY 10011.

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NOVEMBER SALES: A MIXED BAG

The Christmas selling season got off to a feast-or-famine start in late November. Higher-end and discount stores had strong sales, while everyone in the middle, including many of the stores in our industry, did not fare so well. Apparently, consumers for whom the economy is growing shopped at higher-end stores, while most others flocked to the stores with deep discounts.

Michaels' same-store sales increased 2%. Customer traffic was down 1%, but that was offset by an increase in the average ticket of 3%.

CEO Michael Rouleau said, "After a strong first half of November, traffic slowed through the Thanksgiving holiday as customers appeared to favor promotionally priced electronics, toys, and apparel over traditional seasonal merchandise. Gains in Christmas trees, garland, and lights were offset by softness in our Christmas home decor and accessory categories. Overall, our best performing departments were custom and ready- made frames, memory, yarn, and books and our best performing zones were the Southeast, Pacific, and Central." Rouleau expects December sale-store sales to be better: up 3 - 5%.

Jo-Ann's same-store sales slipped 0.2%. Officials said it was due to "a planned strategy to be less promotional than the prior year"; this resulted in "significantly improved" margins.

Hancock's same-stores sales decreased 2.9% and overall sales slipped 2.5%. Duckwall-ALCO's same-store sales rose 3.2%, but the company did not cite crafts as a strong category.

Wal-Mart's same-stores sales were up 3.9% but execs said sales were stronger the first half of the month. Target's same-store sales rose 4.6%.

Retailers announced their November sales as the government was releasing figures showing first-time claims for state unemployment insurance benefits, a rough guide to the pace of layoffs, rose to 365,000 during the Thanksgiving week. That's up 11,000 from the previous week and reverses the recent trend of declining unemployment claims.

High-end department stores – Nordstrom (+7.4%) and Saks (+6.7%) – performed well, but the mid-level stores – Sears (-3.6%), Kohl's (-4.4%), and J.C. Penney (-0.8%) did not.

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HIA NEW EXHIBITOR PREVIEW, PT. I

The HIA show in Dallas in February is so big (virtually sold out) that buyers will not have time to visit every booth. In an effort to help buyers make their "must-see" list, we'll give you the names, booth numbers, a link, and a very brief description of the new exhibitors who have websites. The complete exhibitor list is available at www.hia.show.org. Future installments will be published in our next three issues.

Aashlok. (#1525). Craft, Dollmaking, Floral, Seasonal, Home Dec, Party, and Scrapbook supplies, and wedding accessories. www.plumesnfeathers.com.

Access Companies (#1405). Craft Kits, Seasonal Supplies, Acrylic Paints. www.handyproduct.com.

American Glitters (#0914). Glitter, Art Materials, Candle Supplies, Craft Kits, Decorative Painting, Prints & Posters. www.americanglitter.com.

Anatex (#1425). Art Materials, Craft Kits, Paint Brushes. www.anatex.com.

Angela's Accents (#0206). Scrapbooks Supplies, Stickers. www.angelasaccents.com.

Ariden Creations (#1001). Scrapbook Supplies, Wood Shapes & Surfaces. www.aridencreations.com.

Art-From-the-Heart (#0811). Scrapbook Supplies. www.art-from-the-heart.com.

Artist Mercantile (#1107). Art Materials, Ceramic Supplies, Paint Surfaces. www.artmerc.com.

Artwrap (#0611). Party Supplies, Stickers. www.artwrap.com.au.

Balkan Services (#1319). Needlework Kits & Supplies, Fabrics & Linings. www.balkangallery.com.

Banner American Products (#1011). Craft Kits, Photo Supplies. www.banam.com.

Bee Organized (#0221). Bags/Packaging/Labeling, Paper/Quilling, Stamp, Scrapbook, and Stationery Supplies, and Containers & Storage. www.beeorganized.biz.

Bella Press (#1517). Scrapbook Supplies. www.denamipress.com.

Big Board Ent. (#1505). Containers/Storage, Quilting Supplies/Tools, Sewing Accessories/Supplies, Wood Furniture. www.bigboardenterprises.com.

Bisous (#1009). Scrapbook & Stationery Supplies, Stickers. www.bisous.biz.

Block Box (#1423). Storage/Carrying Containers. www.blockboxcompany.com.

Blossom Bucket (#0915). Baskets/Basket Making, Seasonal, and Scrapbook Supplies, and Collectibles/Hobbies. www.blossombucket.com.

Blue Mountain Arts (#0808). Holiday/Seasonal & Stationery Supplies, and Prints & Posters. www.sps.com.

Stamperia by Box (#0515). Decoupage, Stencils Supplies. www.stamperia.com.

Caritas Artesanales (#0706). Craft, Dollmaking, and Needlecraft Kits/Supplies. www.caritasartesanales.com.mx.

Cavallini & Co. (#1007). Bags/Packaging/Labeling, Decoupage, Party, Photo, Scrapbook, and Stationery Supplies, Stickers, and Pens/Markers. www.cavallini.com.

Chikamasa (#1205). Hand and power tools/scissors. www.chikamasa.co.jp.

Cixi Minghui Feather Products (#1106). Craft Supplies, Feathers. www.mhfeather.com.

Color An Angel (#1005). Stickers. www.coloranangel.com.

Conda (Ningbo) Art Material (#1217). Art Materials, Ceramic Tools & Brushes, Fabrics & Linings, Custom/Readymade Frames, Paint Brushes, Paint Surfaces: Art Paper/Canvas/Other, Stationery Supplies. www.china-conda.com.

The Craft Shop (#0718). Kids, Craft Kits. www.thecraftshoponline.com.

Creative Expressions (#0907). Art Materials, Bags/Packaging/Labeling, Craft, Seasonal, and Party Supplies, plus Stickers and Wedding Accessories. www.ceg4party.com.

Creative Spirit Crafts (#0323). Beads & Bead Kits, Instruction videos, Ribbon, Wedding Accessories, plus Framing, Home Dec, Knitting/Crochet, Scrapbook, Stained Glass, Needlecraft and Weaving Supplies. www.ezcraft.com.

Creek Bank Creations (#0310). Scrapbook Supplies/Videos, Stickers, Laces/Trims. www.creekbankcreations.com.

Cutters Productions (#0708). Books, Stained Glass Supplies. www.cuttersproductions.com.

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RANDOM NOTES, RANDOM THOUGHTS

1. A quick look at the HIA exhibitor list available at www.hiashow.org brings a few thoughts to mind: Regardless of their specialties and the fact that the show is sectionalized, buyers will probably have to walk the entire, huge floor. Here's why: Leisure Arts and Rose Art are in the scrapbook section, not needlework and art materials, as you might assume. Janlynn is in the craft section. Paper/scrapbook buyers really need to walk the entire show because I know a number of companies not in the scrapbook section will have new scrapbook lines.

Ironic. HIA and ACCI sectionalized the shows because buyers complained about having to walk the entire show. Now we're back where we started.

A quick count showed 358 companies in the scrapbook section, and only 65 in the art materials section. At recent shows, companies/retailers who are not in scrapbooking have complained that our shows are becoming scrapbook shows. Certainly the number of new products and the size of the scrapbook section (and the resulting crowds) make it easy to think that way, but trust me, lots of non-scrapbook companies will be introducing lots of new lines.

2. Looking for last-minute holiday gifts for creative or business friends? I highly recommend Shameless Exploitation in Pursuit of the Common Good (Doubleday), the hilarious memoir by Paul Newman and A.E. Hotchner of their wildly successful, unexpected attempt at starting a business (Newman's Own salad dressing. The other is Art & Fear: Observations on the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking (The Image Continuum), a practical, wise book on creativity.

3. The FAO debacle is a classic case of what happens when one company buys another company it can't afford. Zany Brainy was a successful chain that bought its competitor, Noodle Kidoodle. That acquisition ultimately resulted in Zany Brainy filing for bankruptcy and closing the Noodle Kidoodle stores. ZB was sold to Right Start, a chain of kids' clothing stores, which then bought the famous FAO Schwarz chain. Those acquisitions forced Right Start, now called FAO Inc., to file for bankruptcy earlier this year – and now once again.

I wonder if any toy companies are making money this season. Wal-Mart probably pressured vendors to lower prices so it could pass the savings on to consumers. Then Target and Toys R Us matched the prices, and now FAO is running inventory clearance sales .... Prediction: we'll see some toy vendors and independent toy stores filing for bankruptcy next year.

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MISCELLANEOUS NEWS

PEOPLE. Well known painter/writer/teacher Jill "Jillybean" Fitzhenry has joined the F.M. Brush and Dynasty craft artisan design team ... Don Harris, Exec VP for General Merchandise for U.S. Wal-Mart stores, is retiring ... Sandra Kucyk was promoted to Director of Advertising Sales for Clapper Communications. She retains her position as editor of its Painting magazine. Clapper publishes Crafts ‘n Things, Pack-O-Fun, Painting, The Cross Stitcher, and 101 Bridal Ideas.

ACCI. The deadline for proposals for Mega seminars at the 2004 show is Dec. 31. The ACCI Education Committee is accepting proposals in knitting, crochet, beading, florals, framing, painting, scrapbooking, stamps, and quilting/fabrics. For a Mega proposal submission form, visit www.accicrafts.org/megaform.pdf; call 740-452-4541 or 888-360-2224; or email accishow@offinger.com.

COMPANY LOOKING. Midwest industry company is looking for a Key Account Sales Manager. Must relocate; frequent travel required. Minimum 5 years sales experience with a company selling to large retail chains. Salary commensurate with experience, plus significant bonus potential. For more info, call Mike Hartnett in confidence at 309-925-5593 or email mike@clnonline.com.

MOVE OVER MARTHA! The Palm Beach Post named TV host/author/designer Kathy Peterson as Style/Home Decor/Craft columnist – replacing Martha Stewart's syndicated column. The Post has a circulation of 500,000. Contact Kathy at kp@KathyPeterson.com.

BOOKS. Jeanette Crews Designs' December releases are posted at www.jeanettecrews.com/results.cfm?Subcategory=96 and are available for immediate shipment.

GLASS. The Art Glass Show moves to Portland July 9-11 and will include two days (Sat./Sun.) for the public to attend and four days of classes. Booth assignments begin Jan. 5. For info, visit www.artglassshow.com or call 740-452-4541.

PAINTING. Delta announced the winners of its Design Challenge competition, and awarded thousands of dollars to the winners. To see the winning entries (many of which are quite remarkable), visit www.deltacrafts.com.

COMPANY SOLD. Art Wire Works, a 60- year-old fabricator and designer of wire products and point-of-purchase merchandising displays, was sold to David Collignon. Previous owner Steve Perl will remain an active consultant.

VISA. Is lowering retailer fees on certain debit-card transactions starting early next year.

REMINDER. The deadline to pre-register for the TNNA show Jan. 31-Feb. 2 in Long Beach is Dec. 23. It looks like it will be TNNA's biggest show thus far. Visit www.tnna.org, call 800-889-8662, or email tnna.info@offinger.com.

CONSUMER STUDY. The December issue of Craftrends contains the third Consumer Participation Study. The categories that increased this year more than the Study's error measurement rate of 3 included Beads, Scrapbook Die-Cuts, Home Dec Fabric, Quilting Fabric, (Sewing) Machines, Magazines, and Computer Craft Software. The only category declining more than 3% was Kid's Crafts. The complete Study is for sale for $50. Call 720-836-1116 or email zack.weingartner@primedia.com.

PAINTING. A limited number of booths are still available for the SDP Phoenix Expo, May 27-29. For info, call Marlene Marcotte at 316-269-9300, ext. 114 or email marlene@decorativepainters.org.

MARTHA. Martha Stewart’s insider-trading trial is scheduled to begin Jan. 12 ... Meanwhile, her magazine will cut its guaranteed circulation (the number of readers promised to advertisers) nearly 22% beginning next month, acknowledging that readership has declined. The price of a 4-color page ad drops to $107,640 from $129,766 ... Now her magazine will have new competition, Reuters reported. Oprah Winfrey and Time Inc. are planning new magazines.

LEGAL. The case of Wal-Mart knowingly hiring store-cleaning contractors who use illegal aliens has gone to a grand jury in Pennsylvania, the Associated Press reported.

QUOTATIONS. "Wal-Mart is the logical end point and the future of the economy in a society whose pre-eminent value is getting the best deal." – Robert B. Reich, former labor secretary and a professor at Brandeis U. ... "Wal-Mart is the greatest thing that ever happened to low-income Americans. They can stretch their dollars and afford things they otherwise couldn't." – Michael Cox, chief economist of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas (Both quoted in the New York Times)

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BUSINESS PROFILE: ALPINE IMPORT

Every successful company finds a niche in the marketplace and fills it. And companies that succeed long-term often find their original niche disappearing – and find a new niche.

Such is the case with Terry King of Rockford, IL. Terry opened his first craft store, Craft World, in 1974 and eventually grew the business to three outlets.

Then in the late 80's the big boxes moved in, and Terry could see the writing on the wall. "I lost 20% of the volume of one store that was nearest the big boxes the first year." But unlike many retailers who threw up their hands in dismay and closed their stores, Terry looked for a new niche to fill – and found one:

Most vendors watch retailers cherry-pick their lines. Retailer A wants these 20 SKU's, while Retailer B orders 10 of those SKU's – and 10 others. Now the vendor has part of his line in Retailer A and a somewhat different part in Retailer B. No store has the entire line.

Then the vendor advertises the line – and the phone calls start: "I can't find your product in my local stores. Can I order from you?"

It's a classic example that, while the industry's distribution system is far better than it was when Terry started in 1974, it is still a long way from every consumer having local access to every industry product.

That's where Terry's re-invented business, Alpine Import, comes in.

"Think of us as an extension of your company," said Alpine VP Brett King. "It's like we set up your company's mail-order division to satisfy the customer who simply can’t find a particular product locally. And that division will take a burden off of the vendor's customer service people who field the calls from consumers.

"For example," Brett explains, "a customer calls looking for a product and wants to order directly from the vendor. If the vendor doesn’t sell direct, he then searches his customer database and tells the consumer to try Retailers A, B, and C. More than likely the customer has already tried those stores. Then the vendor can give them Alpine's phone number and website. So in one simple, short phone call the vendor can satisfy the consumer."

Alpine is more of an e-commerce operation (www.alpineimport.com) than a traditional mail order company, and is built on mutual relationships with vendors. "We're not looking to take business away from retailers," Brett added. "We know most consumers won't bother going online or calling a mail order company, ordering product, and paying shipping when they can buy it locally."

But consumers who can't find a product in stores, and are referred by the manufacturer, will go online because Alpine's inventory is extensive – crafts, scrapbooking, needlework, art materials, and others.

The mutual relationship works this way: Alpine carries the line like a traditional distributor, including SKU's that have a hit-and-miss ordering history with retailers. When consumers call, the vendor encourages them to shop in their local store, but if the store does not have the particular product, then the vendor refers the caller to Alpine.

Vendors concerned they will anger retailers because Alpine is selling their line need not worry. "By the time a consumer calls us," Terry said, "they're at their wit's end. They've tried their local stores, they really want the product, and so price is no object."

So Terry King has found a new niche, one that serves both vendors and consumers.

KEY PERSONNEL: Terry King, President; Brett King, VP.

ROLODEX: Alpine Import, 7106 N. Alpine Rd., Loves Park, IL 61111. Call 800-654-6114 (international callers, call 815-654-3480); email info@alpineimport.com; fax 815-654-2746; visit www.alpineimport.com

Note: Want to see your company profiled like Alpine? Want to see your products highlighted in our upcoming New Products section in time for the upcoming trade shows? For more information, call Mike Hartnett at 309-925-5593 or email mike@clnonline.com.

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THE CREATIVE NETWORK: JOB OPENINGS

To see a sampling of the current job openings and to contact The Creative Network, click on the

"Jobs" button in the left hand column.

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THE CLN RETAIL INDEX

A. C. Moore (ACMR). Last*: 19.85 ... Change**: -2.08
Hancock Fabrics (HKF). Last*: 13.70 ... Change**: -0.50
Jo-Ann Stores (JAS). Last*: 19.80 ... Change**: -0.25
Michaels (MIK). Last*: 43.51 ... Change**: -3.74
Rag Shops (RAGS). Last*: 3.18 ... Change**: -0.21
Wal-Mart (WMT). Last*: 52.50 ... Change**: -3.14
CLN Retail Index. Last*: 162.46 ... Change**: -.6.0%
Dow Jones Index. Last*: 10,042.16 ... Change**: +2.7%

*Dec. 12 ** from Nov. Nov. 28 Prices are exclusive of dividends

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MEMO FROM SANTA

The recent announcement that Donner and Blitzen have taken the early retirement package has triggered concern about other restructuring decisions at the North Pole.

Streamlining was appropriate considering the North Pole no longer dominates the season's gift distribution business. Wal-Mart and home shopping channels have diminished Santa's market share, and he could not sit idly by and permit further erosion of the profit picture.

The reindeer downsizing was made possible through the purchase of an imported sled for the CEO's annual trip, plus anticipated productivity from Dasher and Dancer should take up the slack with no discernible loss of service. Reduction in reindeer will also lessen airborne environmental emissions for which the North Pole has received unfavorable press.

Rudolph's role will not be disturbed. Tradition still counts for something at the North Pole. Management denies, in the strongest possible language, the earlier leak that Rudolph's nose became that way not from the cold but from substance abuse. Calling Rudolph "a lush" was an unfortunate comment made by one of Santa's helpers and taken out of context at a time of year when he is known to be under executive stress.

Today's global challenges require the North Pole to continue to be more competitive. Effective immediately, the following economy measures will be implemented in the Twelve Days of Christmas subsidiary:

The partridge will be retained, but the pear tree never turned out to be the cash crop forecasted. It will be replaced by a plastic hanging plant, providing considerable savings in maintenance. The two turtle doves represent a redundancy that is simply not cost efficient.

Eleven pipers piping and twelve drummers drumming is a simple case of the band getting too large. Replacing them with an outsourced string quartet will produce savings which will drop to the bottom line.

Furthermore, retailers are insisting we drop-ship; after all, stretching deliveries over twelve days was inefficient.

Regarding the lawsuit filed by the attorney's association seeking expansion to include the legal profession ("thirteen lawyers a-suing"), action is pending.

Finally, deeper cuts may be necessary to stay competitive. Should that happen, management will scrutinize the Snow White division to see if seven dwarfs is the right number.

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REMINDERS

1. For more information on how your business can be the subject of a "Business Profile" or have products/photos included in the "CLN's Online Product Preview, call Mike Hartnett at 309-925-5593 or email mike@clnonline.com.

2. Paid subscribers are invited to have their website evaluated by Lynn Carlisle of Carlisle Communications. She'll check the site and provide a confidential assessment and suggestions for improvement. Just email mike@clnonline.com or ljc@carlislecommunications.com.

3. If you want a hard-copy of this issue, click on "Printer Friendly version".

4. If your company is a paid subscriber, everyone in the main office is welcome to register, free. Just click on "Current Subscribers Click Here To Register."

5. If you want to recommend CLN to a friend, use the "Tell Your Friends" box on the home page.

6. Creative Leisure News is published on the first and third Mondays of each month. Because December has five Mondays, Your next issue will be Monday, January 5. Our very best wishes for a happy holiday season and a healthy new year!

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