Gift Card rush Will Boost Holiday Sales Figures

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While online and retail holiday shopping sales have met or exceeded expectations for most retailers in 2005, there is another “rush” for all retailers to prepare for: gift card redemption.

According to Hitwise, an online intelligence service, the market share of U.S. Internet searches containing the words “gift card” was up 32% for the week ending December 10, 2005 as compared to the previous week. In fact, the National Retail Federation expects gift card sales to increase 6.6% this holiday season to 18.48 billion dollars, with consumers spending an average of $88 dollars on gift cards or 15.6% of their holiday shopping budget.

Gift certificates have always been a popular gift choice for the hard to please recipient or even for the lazy shopper. For the gift giver, it allows a quick purchase at whatever store or online merchant they select, with a dollar amount that fits their budget. For the recipient, they can select what they want from a particular merchant and for the most part use the card at their convenience.

But for some, giving a gift card is a cop-out, reasoning it is too impersonal and opting to hand pick a gift and selecting something special and unique for a loved one or friend. However, for some, the gift card is the ideal gift choice, with family or friends even suggesting the store or online merchant they prefer.

For the merchants, it has extended the holiday shopping season because they cannot record the sale until the recipient uses the gift card to make a purchase. This holds down sales figures in November and December, but provides a boost in January when most cards are redeemed. An additional boost is provided by the fact that most of the shoppers who redeem their gift cards typically spend 15% to 50% more than the face value of the card when they select their holiday gift.

There are some downsides to gift cards. Some retailers clear unused gift cards off the books by subtracting off of the face value of the card, an inactivity fee (usually $2.50 per month) after a certain amount of time. Some gift cards have an expiration date and others come with special conditions or restrictions. However, consumer outrage has prompted many states across the country to introduce legislation limiting or banning the fees. Additionally, there is no federal law on gift cards but, two Republican congressmen, Joe Barton of Texas and Charlie Bass of New Hampshire, have requested that the Federal Trade Commission investigate the way retailers conduct their gift card programs.

Is giving a gift card too impersonal? Is it the best gift choice? That question is up for debate and is a personal preference. But with annual gift card sales projected to reach 90 billion dollars by 2007 (Ernst & Young 2005), the gift card is here to stay.

Hawaii Vacations Pros And Cons

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Is it time to plan next year’s vacation? Do you want to go somewhere wonderful but find yourself paralyzed by the idea of planning a trip overseas? Perhaps Hawaii is the place for you. In Hawaii you can have all the wonder of an exotic cultural escape without the stress of leaving your own country. Travel to Hawaii is simple to arrange because it is part of the United States, but the beauty of the islands will have you feeling like you’re in a whole other world.

Many different Hawaii vacations are open to you. There are numerous Hawaii vacation packages available for you to help you explore the islands. The calm and quiet of Maui or the hustle and excitement of Honolulu? Kicking back in the sun and sand of an isolated white sand beach or hiking through the rain forest? Surfing some of the finest waves on Earth or sipping a cocktail while watching the sun set? All of these options and many more are available to you on your next vacation in Hawaii.

There are many activities for the more adventurous. Hawaii is know around the word for variety of water-sports. Probably, Hawaii’s most famous water sport is surfing. But there is more to do in the water then just surf. The crystal clear waters offer the snorkeler or scuba diver the opportunity to view the spectacular aquatic wildlife.

The Hawaiian rain forest offers a wealth of trekking or camping opportunities. A chance to explore the lush green interior of the Hawaiian Islands, stopping to admire the picturesque waterfalls, and maybe even spending a few peaceful nights camping under the clear night sky.

Maui vacation packages or an Oahu vacation package can offer you all these opportunities in a hassle free manner. With one of our all-inclusive packages to Oahu or Maui your dream Hawaii vacations trip can be hassle free. Everything can be arranged, from flights, transfers and accommodation to fine dining and exciting activities.

A Hawaii vacation opportunity offers many attractions for all members of your family, regardless of age. Activities for everyone range from visiting unique shopping sites and enjoying the spectacular views from your Hawaiian rental accommodation to games and sports on the white sand beaches.

Holiday Looks Inspired By Angelina Jolie’s Red Prom Dress

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Angelina Jolie, one of my fashion icon recently rocked down the red carpet for premiere of Bard Pitt’s “Moneyball” in Tokyo. She was totally glamorous in a form-fitting red cocktail dress. From her stunning look, I seemed to get inspiration of what to wear for the approaching holiday parties. If you have not figured out your ensemble idea, read on and perhaps you will be inspired.

Red Prom Dresses Always Can Rock Down Red Carpet
When we think party outfit, we probably think about little black dress, right? It is true that LBD can not be wrong to please every taste. But from different colors of prom dresses, red is the top one in red carpet these years. Look back to Emmy Awards 2011, it was certainly a battle of red dresses. Stars such as Kate Winslet, Nina Dobrev or Kerry Washington all picked out a red gown to show their glams. We also saw Angelina wearing a sheath one-shoulder prom dress in LACMA to get wow effect. Personally, I think these dresses are elegant. Their chic feel, combined with their hair style makes them an fabulous conversation piece and stunning outfit accent.

Mix-up Hue to Go with Red Prom Dress
Another find , Angelina got a pair of nude shoes to go with the dress. It was simple and easy addition to bring out her charm. Red is a great festival and lucky color if you feel bored of the typical black hue and are looking to mix it up. Maybe now it is time to get a piece of red prom dress out for a spin. Just like Angelina, try a pair of nude shoes out instead of a plain black pair to instantly upgrade your look.

Sarkle Red Cocktail Dress is Perfect for Holiday
We know sparkle is always the number one perfect statement for holiday. A pretty short cocktail dress with a chic red hue is absolutely gorgeous for a party look. In addition, it is relatively comfortable to don this dress for a reunion with friends or family for a night long. A piece of jacket can add your ensemble edgy, meanwhile, get you out of the cold weather. No sparle enough? Go on and add just a liitle bit of glitter by wearing a pair of chic pumps or choosing some simple jewelry.

We are sure the above celebrity prom dresses must cost a lot. But we are able to get the same style dress from shops online such DressilyMe.com. It can save us a lot as well as provide us a celebs style fashion.

Do you love Angelina’s red dress as much as I do? Do you get any inspiration from her look? What are your best finds? Do not forget to share your thoughts with a comment.

Sofitel Opens New Thalassotherapy Spa Hotel In Agadir, Morocco

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Sofitel Luxury Hotels has added a new property to its portfolio of luxury hotels with the opening of the new Sofitel Agadir Thalassa Sea & Spa in Morocco.

The new 174-room property is focused on providing well-being experiences and pampering Morocco holidays for tourists and features a thalassotherapy institute that can help guests enjoy a healthy detox experience.

The five-star hotel has its own private beach on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean and visitors can enjoy contemporary accommodation and high end facilities throughout their stay.

The spacious guest rooms and suites offer private furnished terraces and balconies with views overlooking the pool or ocean; modern amenities including TVs, Wi-Fi, in-room safe, mini-bar, air conditioning, and hairdryer; and bathrooms with colour-therapy showers and L’Occitane complimentary bath products.

Tourists booking holidays in Morocco at the hotel will be able to enjoy a wide range of nourishing marine and seawater treatments at The Institute and the spa, using a combination of ancient Moroccan traditions and high-tech advances.

The facility offers a fitness centre, Hammam, Jacuzzi, indoor and outdoor heated pools, sauna, thermal baths and thalassotherapy
The thalassotherapy services include 16 booths where guests can enjoy massages with Argan oil and other essential oils.

Robert Gaymer Jones, the CEO of Sofitel Worldwide, commented: I am delighted to welcome this new flagship hotel to our network of Sofitel Thalassa Sea & Spa establishments.

The Sofitel Agadir Thalassa Sea & Spa offers the best of todays thalassotherapy treatments, paired with Sofitels inimitable standards and is incontestably the new well-being reference in Morocco.

During their soothing and detoxifying holidays to Morocco, holidaymakers can dine in the hotels three gourmet restaurants: L’Atlantique with its choice of fresh seafood; Le Market which offers international dishes with seasonal produce and an outdoor terrace; or Le Palais Du Jardin, an elegant restaurant that offers a sophisticated setting for evening meals.

Owned by Accor Hotels, the Sofitel brand operates five luxury Morocco hotels and the latest addition to the collection has been created to offer a unique well-being experience for travellers with the help of an onsite dietician, naturopath and professional spa therapists.

Morocco is a country in North Africa located south of Spain with a coastline spreading across both the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea.

Located in south-west Morocco, the coastal city of Agadir is a popular destination for a winter Morocco holiday and is home to traditional bazaars, beautiful beaches, several museums, and the majestic 16th-century Kasbah.