Whelp, neither Pat or I were trampled to death by shoppers yesterday.
Actually, it was a pretty good day. Beat last year. So I'm thankful for that.
But....the month as a whole really sucked, a repeat of our horrible September.
Still, there is hope that the tourists will spend some money while they're in town. I noticed that over the summer, and it's a ray of hope for Christmas.
And I didn't have any real 'Sales' so managed to keep my margins; and I didn't 'Stimulate' sales by buying a bunch of new stuff.
Still hoping to keep my savings intact, pay all the bills, clear out the credit cards and go into next year even.
That's about the best I can hope for right now, but considering how things have been....that's pretty good. Probably some of the best money management I've ever done.
Funny thing, about half the day in I had a radio reporter visit who asked "How's it going?"
I declined to say, (too early), but I asked how others were responding.
"Oh, so far they're doing pretty good."
"No offense, but what else did you expect them to say?"
"I see what you're saying, but they were being pretty upfront about it before the holidays."
I dropped the conversation there, but thought about it later.
No....people aren't going to tell you if sales are down, even if they predicted it in advance.
See...saying in advance is a guess, and they could be wrong, and hell, it might even Stimulate people to go spend money. If the consumer thinks we're desperate enough to Slash Prices, they'll take advantage. (Personally, I think it's all bait and switch and hooey, but...whatever gets people out of the house....)
(There was an almost perfect example of a bait and switch yesterday; I noticed, because it really stood out. And 800.00 50" plasma T.V. Now that's a deal.
Except, reading the USA Today, later in the day, it turned out that there were only 10 of these per store.
So they get you in the door, and you don't get the 800.00 T.V. and there's one just like it for 1050.00 and easy financing and what the hell, wrap it up and deliver it...)
So any store manager who actually reports that sales are lower, by name, is just saying, "Here. I failed."
Anyway, predicting is safer than actually reporting lower sales.
So I'll make a prediction right now.
The company line for the retail industry will be, "Gee, Christmas wasn't so bad after all."
All they have to do is lower expectations enough, and they can claim success if they don't have total meltdown.
But I just don't see how you can have good profits if your high sales come from price cutting, unless it really isn't price cutting. So...the consumers need to ask themselves what's really going on.
I suspect what's really going on is that the retail market is selling off a portion of their stores, which will mean less inventory and less choice and less price decreases in the future.
I had a customer who was looking at a boardgame I had one copy of, which last year sold out a week before Christmas, and which I was the only store in town that still had copies that late.
This year, I'm even leaner, and if I sell out a week and a half or two weeks in advance, so be it. I won't be doing any late reordering.
She didn't buy my argument. Why should she? That sort of inventory management hasn't been in place for years, now. And besides, there's always the internet.
But it's going to be a big surprise to some consumers later in the season.
Big deal, I suppose. The world will still be awash in product. It just may not be awash in the right product.
2 days ago