December sales were up by 19% over last year. It was the second best Christmas on record, eclipsed only by 2006. It beat 2007 by a little bit.
(2008 pretty much sucked, and 2009 and 2010 were static.)
Sounds very impressive, except that I more or less spent that 19% extra on product, so the profits were probably actually down a little bit.
This was a tradeoff, for me. An active business atmosphere, following up what strengths I have, pursuing the areas where I feel that the competition is weak. I mean, the profits are encased in the inventory, so you could actually say I made more profit -- but it just isn't the same as liquid assets. Still, I have a packed store which means I won't have to spend all spring just trying to catch up again.
These kinds of decisions are the very essence of running a small business; the kind of decisions where even in hindsight you can't be sure you made the right choice. I do know, it was the best of all results from the actual decision. I could easily have spent the money and not gotten the increased sales, for instance.
As I mentioned before, boardgames actually beat comic sales, for the first time. Totally seasonal.
Books actually beat graphic novels, equally seasonal.
I've finally got the three-legged store I've been trying to reach all these year. About 35% games and books; 40% comics and graphic novels; 25% everything else. (yearly.)
The results, compared to Christmas 2010.
+53% Card Games
+2% Graphic Novels.
Card Games have recovered from the impact of two new competitors. It's possible that they've rejuvenated the market enough that I'm seeing an increase because of that. These sales levels are where they were before the two other guys opened.
Toys are a tough sell these days. They seem to be impacted by the recession spending more than any other category. Nevertheless, I'm going to concentrate on trying to get a boost out of them this year.
Books and Games are still increasing, albeit not as fast as the first few years.
Comics and graphic novels seem in good shape.
Sports cards are pretty steady, pretty low, but not totally inconsequential.
I've dropped anime as a category and I'm going to ring them up under toys. I've replaced it with Used books, so I'll know how many used versus new books I'm selling.
All in all, I'm pretty happy with it.
5 days ago