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July, 2009

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August, 2009
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In this issue:

Final Phase of Minimum Wage Increase Takes Effect in July

On July 24, 31 states whose minimum wage levels are below $7.25, including Florida, Pennsylvania, Nebraska and New York, will have to match the federal minimum. The increase has no bearing on 20 states (including Washington, D.C.), which already mandate an hourly wage of $7.25 or more. (source)

Minimum wage increases typically target low-wage, low-skilled workers as well as teens and young adults. The industries that rely most on minimum-wage workers include fast food restaurants, small-scale independent retail stores, day care establishments and hotels.

While the increase may be seen as a boon by employees, others question the effect of increasing expenses for employers at a time of the highest unemployment in 26 years. A mandated raise won't do job seekers any favors especially if they're looking for temporary or entry-level positions. Studies suggest that increasing the minimum wage has a slightly negative effect on the job market. A 10% increase in the minimum wage is associated with a 0.9% to 1.1% decline in retail employment and a 0.8% to 1.2% reduction in small-business employment, according to a study published in July 2008 in the Journal of Labor Research.

Seven states already have laws mandating $7.25 minimum pay, while 14 states and Washington, D.C., exceed the new minimum. Employers are required to pay whichever is the highest: Federal or state. (source)

Featured Vendors in GiftsWholesale.Com
indicates a CAMEO EZ© web site.

Aspen Bay Candles: The best candles on the market--a result of our continual and diligent application of superior candle science. Take a moment to visit our unique high quality line of candles. Once you have experienced the superb fragrances and long burn times, we are sure you will be back again and again.

Brownlow Gifts: Brownlow produces a full line of inspirational gifts for every occasion. You will find useful and attractive home decor gifts for the kitchen, bedrooms, study and all other rooms in the house. Brownlow is well known for gourmet products, journals, gifted paper items, photo albums, photo frames, decorative sentiment plaques, a variety of stationery, many different ceramic gifts as well as a large assortment of inspirational gift books. Most products are in coordinating themes that retailers can purchase in eye-catching countertop display collections.

Don Mark Lifelike puppies & kittens that actually breathe. These adorable pets offer a real pet ownership experience without the work or expense. Perfect petzzz -------the ultimate pet. We now offer 30 breeds of puppies and kittens to choose from. Visit our web site to see our entire line of petzzz plus over 180 other unique gifts and gadgets.

Gina B. Designs is an award-winning greeting card, stationery and gift company featuring exceptional art and design. With an array of styles, variety of products and outstanding customer service, Gina B. Designs has “something for everyone.” Online ordering is now available!

Mud Pie: Mud Pie products are now featured in three catalogs: Mud Pie Baby, Mud Pie Gift, and Mud Pie Pet. It has always been our goal to offer innovative giftware that's affordably priced and adorably packaged.

Natural Life: Fashionable and fun treasures to share or keep! Whether you’re shopping for friends, family, baby or yourself, Natural Life has the perfect gift for you.

Peking Handicraft, Inc. is a global manufacturer and wholesaler specializing in home textiles decorative accessories and gift items. The company expertise in sourcing, manufacturing and brand development are second to none. Peking’s variety of products consists of renowned designer collections as well as exciting designs from their in-house design studio. Both are trend right and of exceptional quality and value. With over three decades in the home textiles and gift arena, Peking is proven to be a company that you can trust today and in the future.

Regal Art & Gift: Offering unique & colorful Metal Garden Décor, Home Décor and Gifts. Garden items include: 3-D Garden Décor, Garden Stakes, Wind Chimes and Welcome Signs. Home items include: Wall Art, Wall Hooks, Candleholders, Ornaments, Boxes and Photo Frames. Popular themes include: Garden Bugs, Birds, Frogs, Tropical, Coastal, Fish, Suns & Celestial, Southwest, Western, Crosses, Americana, Country, Halloween, Harvest & Holiday

Sample House Take a look at our unique collection of original design gift bags, tissue paper and home to the 2-second wrap. We have a complete selection of Take-Out-Cartons solids and prints, tissue, bags, wraphia and more.

Spring Street is proud to offer the finest assortment of personal, home, and office accessories. Our extensive product lines are all theme oriented, from baby to bride and beyond. All of our gift items are hand epoxy enameled and adorned with faux jewel encrusted motifs. Many of our designs are inspired from the famed Soho district of New York City where the very real Spring Street is located.

Sunset Vista Designs: From the same creative team that brought you Care and Wonder Company; We're back with a fresh new line of the latest in home and garden decor.

Wellspring: Stationery products that help keep you organized by giving you fashion with function--wherever you are in your home, office, or on the go. Includes: Pencil Pads®, Auto Notes, Flip Notes, Wiggle Pens, note cards, note pads, and recipe books.

NRF Calls Employer Health Care Mandate 'Tax on Jobs'

The National Retail Federation (NRF) has come out strongly against employer mandates in Health Care Reform legislation being considered in the House of Representatives, calling such a provision a "tax on jobs" that the nation cannot afford during the current recession. (source)

The NRF was reacting in part to a letter sent to President Obama in late June by Wal-Mart executives supporting mandated employer supplied health care as part of Health Care Reform.

"The retail industry was astonished," wrote NRF President and CEO Tracy Mullin in an open letter. "Seeing [Wal-Mart] in lock-step with the unions on this issue was troubling to say the least. Although the move may provide a short-term public relations boost to Wal-Mart, it could have long-lasting, devastating consequences to retailers throughout the country."

NRF Senior Vice President for Government Relations Steve Pfister said further, "NRF cannot support an employer mandate of any type, whether pay-or-play, set penalty, or ‘free-rider’ in nature. We are a labor-heavy industry that operates on a thin profit margin. We cannot afford any new labor cost, particularly the 8 percent-of-payroll penalty or the 72.5 percent contribution floor for individual coverage or the 65 percent contribution floor for family coverage proposed in the Tri-Committee bill." (source)

In a Wall Street Journal report on the NRF opposition to employer mandates, Terry J. Lundgren, chairman and CEO of Macy's Inc. said, "I admit nobody is happy with the nation's health-care plan. But I can't imagine that a government-mandated health-care plan is going to fix it. I can only imagine that it will just add costs."

The National Retail Federation is the world's largest retail trade association, with membership that comprises all retail formats and channels of distribution including department, specialty, discount, catalog, Internet, independent stores, chain restaurants, drug stores and grocery stores as well as the industry's key trading partners of retail goods and services. Mullin notes that, although the NRF represents large as well as small retailers, Wal-Mart is not a member of the organization.

Quick Industry News

Peking Handicraft Debuts New Licensed Designs by Dena Fishbein

New whimsical and holiday prints from Peking Handicraft to debut at summer markets

(San Francisco, Calif.) -- Peking Handicraft, Inc., an international manufacturer and wholesaler of high quality home decor, tabletop and giftware items, introduces new everyday and holiday textile designs by Dena Fishbein: Happi Owl and Snow Flower. From whimsical everyday patterns to elegant holiday florals, Dena's award-winning work blends form, color and design on new kitchen towels and aprons offered exclusively by Peking Handicraft.

Dena Fishbein has been gracing homes and families with delightful designs for nearly 20 years. One of the most sought-after and influential designers in America, her unique artwork combines a finely tuned sense of market trends with a creative flair. (more)

Deco Breeze® offers an Eco-Friendly and Fashionable Solution to Keeping Cool During the Hot Days of Summer

Featured Products: (left to right) Aurelias: detailed decorative floor fan; Faith: 55-inches-tall with gothic cross emblem; Kailua: rattan-designed decorative floor fan; Byzantine: modern chic decorative floor fan featuring 16" fan head; Cantalonia: the look of Italy; Ming: a vintage-look decorative floor fan.

San Diego, Ca. -- Deco Breeze®, a leading manufacturer of decorative floor and table top fans, offers an eco-friendly, cost saving and fashionable solution for keeping the indoors cool on hot days.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, two-thirds of all homes in the United States have air conditioners. Using anywhere from 500 to 3500 watts per hour, air conditioners consume a substantial amount of energy and result in high utility bills for homeowners and businesses.

"My Deco Breeze® Fan (Cantalonia Floor Fan) looks great my living room," boasted Linda Jaffe, a consumer from Orlando Florida. "Many times I use my fan just to get the air circulating. What a difference it makes!"

Deco Breeze® portable fans are rated at 45 watts per hour at maximum speed (less energy than a light bulb!) and create enough air movement in a room to make it feel up to 10 degrees cooler. With its use, comfort can be maintained at up to a 3% reduction in energy consumption for every one-degree decrease in air conditioning setting. (more)