Now that I've cast doubt on the reports of a bang up Christmas, I probably ought to tell you our results at Pegasus Books.
First all all, the overall year was good. In fact, it was our second best year ever, with only 2006 beating it. I'll go into more detail about the overall year later.
We beat 2011 in ten out of the twelve months.
One of the two months where we didn't beat last year was December.
Christmas 2011 was our second best Christmas ever, and I really didn't expect to match that this year. The reason is that I didn't make any money that season, despite the high sales. I stocked up to massive levels in November and December, which resulted in high sales but little or no profits.
I wanted to avoid that this year. I wanted to trade slightly lower sales for a better chance at actually making some money. So I took a wait and see attitude. I stocked so that if we had a 10% decline, I would make a good profit.
The first 10 days of December were down around 13%. At the time, I attributed most of that drop to the weather. Then the Newtown shootings on the 14th, and sales dropped 50% for four days. By the 17th of December, we were down 24%.
The problem with that is, the timing of shipping was such that I had about one more chance to reorder product for Christmas. Based on what I was seeing through the 17th, I ordered minimal replacements. This ordering conundrum hogtied me for the rest of the month. Ordering on Wednesdays meant I didn't get any product until the following week. It forced me to guess early in each week -- Monday, basically -- and because of that I was extra careful.
The sales for the rest of the month were pretty good. The week before Christmas even beat last year, slightly, despite the kids being in school. The week after Christmas was down 13%.
So overall we were down 13%.
This was actually a good result. I ordered even less product that I had planned, so the profits were even higher than I expected.
The downsides I've already mentioned. Add in the fact that I couldn't get some of the hottest games during the peak of the season (Pandemic, Ticket to Ride, etc.) and that I ran out of Settlers of Catan in the last week, these were pretty good results.
COMICS: -25%. I think we're really starting to see the falloff from the previous year's surge of the New 52. The bright spot is that the new Marvel titles are selling better than I expected.
CARDS: +30%. Usually too small a category to make much difference -- except on the exceptional month. This was an exceptional month.
CARD GAMES: -50%. Very disappointing. Also the category I can do the least about.
GAMES: -16%. As I said, the inventory was down this year both because of my being careful and because of some games being out of stock. There was a big presence of these games in other stores this year, so all in all, not a bad result. Also the biggest category for the season.
BOOKS: +6%. Steady as she goes.
TOYS: -23%. Not surprising, actually, because I was most careful about stocking this category.
GRAPHIC NOVELS: +6%. As with books above, steady as she goes.
What really counts is that I've been able to pay all the bills and make a hefty bite out of my credit cards bills.
So I consider it a successful season. Once again, the diversity of product really came through. For instance, the surge in card sales made up for the drop in card game sales. The increase in books and graphic novels compensated for the decrease in games, and so on.
Steady as she goes...
Coming Next Week: 5/22/13
4 days ago