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ATLANTA-Not only are the gift markets the place for buyers to shop for the latest products for their stores, they are also a hotbed of seminars and educational opportunities.

This week's Atlanta International Gift & Home Furnishings Market at AmericasMart marks the beginning of AmericasMart University, a new business-builder learning program that offers experience in a wide range of disciplines for all levels of professionals.

Among the many seminars and demonstrations being held as part of the program are:

- "Learn to Think Like a Retailer": Provides insights on the retailer's mind that are helpful for showroom owners, managers and sales representatives.

- "Gift Basket Demonstration": Offers tips and techniques that achieve new looks in gift basket design.

- "Maximize Your AmericasMart Investment": Provides tips to help attendees make the most of their AmericasMart experience.

- "What's Hot and What's Not in 2005": Industry trade press editors discuss trends.

- "Collections of Christmas with the Famous Retail `Blue' ": Discusses trends and design techniques in the holiday and floral industries.

- "Productive and Profitable ... A Smarter Way to Shop AmericasMart While Developing Good Vendor Relationships": Provides valuable tips and suggestions on how to successfully shop the AmericasMart campus.

- "The `Trends' Game ... How to Play It and Win": Focuses on fashion and color trends for spring 2005 and beyond; key demographics that are impacting the industry, from Generation X to the aging baby boomers to the Hispanic population; the latest home-decorating trends and how gift retailers get their piece of the pie; and specific lines that are exhibiting at the show and are proven at retail.

- "Market Connections: An Interactive Panel Discussion and Networking Event": Discusses what worked in 2004, how retailers can better serve their customers in 2005 and the future of retailing.

- "Making Pre-Mades Work for You": Discusses how to enhance and expand predesigned products that generate profits.

- "Effective Retail Store Design and Layout ... How These Factors Impact Your Sales": Discusses what it takes to have an effective store design by evaluating current retail space; how to create traffic flow so merchandise throughout the store is visible; the nine quadrants of a retail store; how long a customer needs to shop in order to make a purchase; what product (core versus trend) to put where and why and how this will increase sales; and provides participants with a comprehensive action plan for their own store.

- "Holiday & Home Decor Trends 2005": Provides information about the latest floral fashions in holiday and home decor.

- "The Art of Shopping ... Merchandising and Promoting Your Store while Building Positive Customer Relations": Offers techniques that can improve retailers' shops and business.

The Gift Fair in Atlanta, held at the Georgia World Congress Center, and owned and managed by George Little Management and Urban Expositions, returns with its Lunch & Learn seminar series, during which artists and designers will share their success stories. The seminars include:

- "At Home with Susan Winget": Artist Susan Winget will discuss her artwork and career, as well as how her designs make it from her home to the homes of others.

- "Live Artfully with Sandra Magsamen": Artist and author Sandra Magsamen shares her story behind her Messages from the Heart line of giftware.

- "Lunch & Learn with Linda Grayson": Artist, designer and author Linda Grayson teaches retailers how she generated $130 million in gift industry sales.
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Publication:HFN The Weekly Newspaper for the Home Furnishing Network
Geographic Code:1U5GA
Date:Jan 10, 2005

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