Sunday, December 23, 2007

For a retailer, this time of year can necessarily become a bit of a horse race. Merry Christmas and all that, but how are you doin'? Even the customers sometimes seem to get caught up in it.

"Coming around the turn, Pegasus07 is ahead by a nose! Here comes a surge by Pegasus06, he's pulled ahead by a length. Pegasus05 is being left in the dust!"

I looked at the 22nd of December from last year, and thought, no way.

But we came within a few hundred, so it's at least conceivable that we could beat last year. Not likely, but possible. Even coming close is a bit of a moral victory, because I spent so much less on new inventory this year.

Not that I don't have inventory. I'm always amazed when the cash register says I sold thousands of dollars worth of stuff, and I look around the store and it still seems full.

I used to stock up for summer and Christmas, let the inventory slide in the slow months. Besides creating a self-fulfilling dynamic, I finally decided that for a long tail store, it made no sense. The minimal tax savings I might make by having less inventory in January, for instance, was probably more than wiped out by not making sales.

So I strive for a fully stocked store, all year. With exceptions, of course. I brought in way more board games, for instance, than I normally carry. And I'm a bit more willing to take a chance on product, if the bill comes due in December.

The last couple of years have been an awkward schedule for Christmas with the kids getting out only a few days before, instead of a whole week. I get a bonus 3 or 4 days of tourists in January, but obviously, it would've been better to get them for an extra 3 or 4 days running up to Christmas.

I've already looked at next year, and Christmas falls on a Thursday, so the awkwardness is starting to fade.

We're open Today and Christmas Eve, regular 11:00 to 6:00 hours, so if you need a last minute gift....

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