This is the final segment of the 8-part series of holiday tips, written by Alyson MacMullan of Peak Retail Group, to help retail businesses meet their sales goals. Alyson’s’ expertise lies in inventory planning and management, sales forecasting and cash flow management which are the building blocks of a successful retail business.
Holiday Tip #8
The final two holiday tips are the most important because they focus on inventory which is the single largest investment in any retail business.
Your ability to effectively manage merchandise will determine success or failure. Controlling expenses is important, but the biggest impact starts from the top, and that’s how much you buy and when.
It’s extremely important to have a plan in place now so you don’t start the new year in a hole if you didn’t work through all your holiday/winter merchandise.
January is a tricky month because it’s typically the time to clean out stale merchandise. But, many retailers leave sales on the table because they fail to have enough new, FULL PRICE merchandise to help offset the dramatic hit to margin as a result of heavy clearance activity.
To follow are a few things to consider:
1. The bulk of inventory during the holiday season should be tried and true items
– Mix with unusual or novelty items not found in big box retailers
2. Under no circumstances should you run out of top sellers!!
3. If there is ever a time to be slightly heavy, it’s now, better to receive early than late
– Holiday merchandise should be in store by Nov 1st
5. The best way to ensure end of season markdowns is to accept late deliveries
– If a vendor cannot expedite your order to meet your needs during the holiday season, evaluate whether you should be working with them