Friday, September 23, 2011

No way around it.

So I made a huge Game order this week -- maybe the biggest game order I've ever done, in one shot.

And I forgot to order Settlers of Catan.

I then had 3 people come in, looking to buy.

Got back on the phone and ordered again, but they won't arrive until Monday, at the earliest.

Meanwhile, Magic also continues to sell really well. The new release comes out next Friday, and I've ordered more in wholesale than I was selling in retail dollars just a year ago. (I try to admit when I'm wrong -- and I was pretty certain a couple of years ago that Magic was sliding. But it seems to have come back very strongly.)

And comics are selling like gangbusters. The New 52 DC have been a great success, I've had happy readers come back in the second and third weeks, I've gotten an increase of 25% in subscription shelves, which brings me back up to levels I consider healthy.

I'm a little concerned that I'm maybe ordering too many of the second prints of first issues that won't arrive until a full month has passed, more or less on the same day as the second issues of the titles come in. I can't return the second prints. I can return any over-ordering I end up doing on about 2/3rds the second issues, but it's still going to be a cash-flow gamble.

A nice problem to have.

Frankly, I'll accept the possibility of over-ordering, in exchange for new customers.

I made a large book reorder this week, as well. I've settled into keeping the classics in stock, keeping the favorites, reordering any "evergreen" that sells, and then adding just a few of the newer books that are coming out, like Night Circus, and Swamplandia, and so on. A comfortable range of sellers. I've maybe begun to hit a plateau here, mostly because my bookshelves are full. I'm trying to figure out a way to squeeze some more bookshelves in -- maybe consolidate the manga and anime even further, as well as the toys.

This month is a classic case of my internal dynamics being more important than anything happening out in the world at large.

I can do a kind of temperature gauge.

Graphic novels: Up.
Books: Up.
Games: Up
Card Games: Up.
Comics: Way up.
Sports cards, toys, manga and anime: Static.

It so happens my margins are best on the first 5 product lines, and worst in that last category.

Look, that's all I ask for. The opportunity to sell stuff. There have been times when every category was going full tilt. There was one scary moment, circa 1997, when every single category was collapsing.

This will be the third month in a row above last year, which usually I count as a trend. July and August, however, I felt were more just bumping off a bottom.

This month will be way over last year -- and again, I don't quite trust it, because it has to do with "hot" product, and nothing stays hot for long.

I've had to kind of throw out my original, conservative budget -- because it's too important to keep the sales interest alive than to earn extra profits right now.

Of course, that's the usual trap. But it's also retail. You have to service the market, or let the market go elsewhere, and if you do that, you may never get the customers back. So margins will suffer while I chase the increase in sales.

I don't think there is anyway around it.

No comments: