While it may not be a widely touted measure of consumer sentiment on Wall Street, demand is indeed running high for fresh fruit baskets this holiday season, said Rob Price, president of Edible Arrangements. 'We are very pleased to see that people are trading up to more exciting arrangements, more exotic arrangements, but also some of our new dipped fruit varieties,' said Price, adding that on the inflation front the price of strawberries has spiked in recent months, but costs have in general remained stable. Edible Arrangements is the world's largest franchisor of shops offering fresh cut fruit arrangements with more than 1,200 independently owned and operated franchise locations worldwide. Price said he is looking to add up to 70 new locations in the U.S. next year. He is also looking to add a few dozen more stores in China which he called his top international growth market. Of course, the gifting or gift basket market is crowded, but Price does not feel constrained by his competition whether it be 1-800-Flowers.com (FLWS), Etsy (ETSY) or Jamba (JMBA) on the smoothie front. TheStreet's Gregg Greenberg has details from Wall Street.
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