Champagne glasses, ornaments sell well as 2000 mementos not T-shirts

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PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Slapping a millennium logo onto a baseball cap or stitching the number 2000 across a T-shirt doesn't necessarily guarantee a sale.

Millennium merchandisers who hope to capitalize on the novelty of the calendar's turn are finding that consumers are choosy about their mementos.

The collectibles attracting the most attention this holiday season are those with a bit more value that people wouldn't mind displaying in their homes for years to come, retailers say.

''In some cases, we're seeing some products doing well. Others aren't. Just relating to 2000 doesn't make something successful,'' said Doug Rose, director of marketing at the West Chester-based TV marketer QVC.

QVC's better-selling items have to do with ''finding a unique way to mark the moment,'' Rose added.

Commemorative champagne flutes, slow sellers most years, and Christmas ornaments are selling very well, he said.

''I find it easy to understand the appeal of buying Christmas ornaments,'' Rose said. ''Ornaments represent memories for a lot of people.''

At Hecht's department stores, hats, desk accessories and gadgets with a logo reading ''01-01-00'' haven't grabbed customers' interest, spokeswoman Diane Daly said.

''They were kind of silly,'' she said. ''People want something a little more serious.''

Hecht's, a division of The May Department Stores Co., has also found a market for champagne flutes and Christmas ornaments, as well as pendants and commemorative scrapbooks.

Waterford crystal is selling well at department stores. The Irish crystal maker this year has issued the fourth in a five-year series of champagne flutes for $115 a pair. The company also has a $495 champagne bucket, a $110 champagne bottle coaster and several pieces based on themes in the Times Square Ball. One replica of the ball goes for a pricey $7,900.

''Waterford is selling really well,'' said Bonnie Brownlee of Bloomingdale's. ''As it comes in, it goes.''

Most stores have elected to display millennium products amid regular merchandise rather than setting up millennium-only areas.

Sears began with a separate area for Year 2000 merchandise but decided that integrating the commemorative products into everyday displays would be more effective, spokeswoman Kathleen Connelly said.

Other retailers also said they're not seeing individual shoppers scooping up only year 2000 items.

''I don't see any evidence that there's a millennium collector,'' QVC's Rose said. ''They look at millennium-related collectables as part of their interest. If you like teddy bears, you might want a millennium teddy bear.''

Some consumers who are buying a variety of millennium products see the items as good gift ideas.

Debbie Colomy, an Avon saleswoman from Philadelphia, has been trading millennium merchandise on Internet auction sites and already has several millennium coin sets and some jewelry. But she intends to give them to her children and a goddaughter.

''My children are young right now and probably will not remember too much of the impact of being alive for this,'' Colomy said. ''I intend for them to have something to appreciate when they get older.''

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