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Holiday greens companies and Christmas tree growers are cautiously optimistic about the sales season ahead, in an economy that still struggles but seems to be making progress. They make the point that even in tough times, people will continue their holiday traditions.

TREE-FARMThings are looking up for Christmas tree growers in the United States. A poll indicates 35 percent of all U.S. households plan to buy a real Christmas tree this year. More than 30 million trees will likely be purchased this year, officials at the National Christmas Tree Association said.In our Christmas issue, we bring you their perspectives, plus ideas from a savvy merchandiser who urges floral departments to stake out store real estate early for the holidays. Also, we offer photos and descriptions of new Christmas products that will debut this holiday season.

Also in this issue is coverage of trade shows both recent and just happened. There is further coverage of the recent International Floriculture Expo and a hot-off-the-press report from the Fresh Produce & Floral Council’s Southern California Expo, held July 17. Photo pages accompany the articles.

Lane DeVries of Sun Valley Group mounted his soapbox at IFE to urge retailers to promote Women’s Day March 8 as a floral holiday here. He pointed out that with everyday purchases slow, another strategically placed holiday would help, and offered point-of sale materials. Also at IFE, Alison McClelland of Sunshine Bouquets unveiled a survey suggesting music is a powerful way to reach across generations for floral sales.

Meanwhile, enjoy these lazy, hazy days of summer, in between trade shows. And if you miss them, we’ll be there to report on them for you. See you next month.

John Niblock is the floral editor and floral sales manager of The Produce News. He can be contacted at 843/737-5075 or jniblock@earthlink.net.