Thursday, December 30, 2010

Tidings of comfort...

...if not quite joy.

Up through Christmas Eve, we were ahead of last year. I can't tell you how surprising this is. Summer was terrible, so I factored in similar drop.'s been pretty good.

I wanted to wait until the very end of the week/ month/year, to report results, because I know from experience that after-Christmas sales levels can be very different, and because I didn't want to jinx it, and --well-- because I thought it would be more fun to report an unambiguous increase from last year.

The Bulletin has an article on local sales, so I thought this might be time to say something. The downbeat tone of the article was exactly what I felt I was hearing from other retailers. I suppose, because I expected so little, that the season felt all right to me.

After Christmas week is almost a different season from pre-Christmas. I never know what will happen. It always seems to surprise me.

Sure enough, with a couple of days to go, I've fallen slightly behind, though one more big day (hint, hint -- I'll cut you a deal...) and I'll be right back on track.

The final totals will be within 1% of last year, in any case, so I suppose it's not that meaningful. But here's the thing: I fully expected a 20 to 30% drop.

I think boardgames kind of saved the season, which was pure luck. I did aggressively stock the games, so I'll pat myself on the back for that.

It means I'll be able to pay off not only the business related credit card bills and debts, but also the personal credit card bills. I'll have a completely fresh slate for next year.

I don't want to stop being careful however.

You know that scene in the action film where the hero is tumbling down a hill, and at the last second grabs a branch before he goes over the cliff?

He sighs a big sigh of relief, then....


...the branch starts to splinter.....


I don't want to get too comfortable. I'm still going to be very, very careful next year. Just like the recent stock market increases, customer sentiment can go down just as quickly as it goes up.

But for now.....I'm sighing a big sigh of relief.



shopping monkey said...

Yep. Retail is sometimes just like Wile E. Coyote jumping off the cliff, having a lovely, still moment of peace and fresh air, then boom. I think most retail shops in Bend haven't quite scraped themselves up off the canyon floor yet. Uh, except for the ones selling certain medicinal-related products...

Duncan McGeary said...

I really believe we're entering that phase I remember from the '80's (circa 1984?) where the rest of country appears to be recovering, but Bend is still stagnant or worse.

Unless I'm mistaken, this will continue for a couple of years at least.

This can be disconcerting, especially when you have tourist business who expects you to be doing the same level of business that stores in their own town are doing, and especially when you pick up the paper everyday and the papers trumpet the "RECOVERY!"