Labor Day signals the end of summer. It also means the end of heavy promotion of clearance merchandise and the beginning of creative fall merchandise displays.

* Baseball may be the great American pastime, but football isn't that far behind. Construct displays that salute your local teams (perhaps a different team every few weeks) and feature related "must-have" merchandise for football season. * Everyone can identify with the "joy" of coming home from a trip. Reveal the aftermath by displaying cosmetics and fragrances spilling out of a travel case, towels and linens partially pulled from a laundry bag and opened suitcases revealing merchandise yet to be unpacked (all yours, of course!) A simple "Welcome Home!" theme card should make the viewer smile. * Add a touch of humor to your Labor Day display with the theme "This Labor Day, come see OUR new arrivals." Line up several bassinets, tilted toward the passerby, that show your new fall merchandise, complete with the "names" of the merchandise and "arrival dates." * For a change of pace in your windows, don't sell anything. Instead, feature a display that promotes a local non-profit organization or upcoming charitable event (There are many this time of year, and the sponsors would love the publicity.). Institutional displays go a long way in enhancing your store's image. * September is apple-picking time. Show baskets of apples, oversized apples painted on seamless paper hung in front of your back wall or a border of apples stenciled as a border around your window. Then show your best red merchandise, using the theme, "Yours for the picking..."

Editor's note: Every month, noted image researcher and consultant Sallie H. Boggs, Ph.D., suggests five ways to improve your store displays.