Friday, November 29, 2013

Buy a book for Christmas.

I'm pretty sure the whole -- "this is the day the stores make a profit" -- thing is bogus.  In fact, I seem to remember that the "black" part of the description was there because it was such a stressful, hectic day.

It was bigger for us early in our career.  I believe the chainstores have very efficiently siphoned off most of the frenzy.  It is also completely unpredictable.  The year before last, for instance, was 40% higher than last year -- for no apparent reason.

I doubt the deals are any better now than they will be in a couple of weeks.  And I doubt there will be any shortage of buyable merchandise closer to Christmas.

I don't have "Sales" at my store.  I don't stray from that during this season.  I strive to have as much merchandise as possible, and the more I can maintain regular prices the more stuff I can carry.  In fact, I really have even less reason to have "Sales" at this time of year when I'm going to have increased volume anyway.

I try to have good stuff at everyday prices.

I have to be careful to calibrate my inventory correctly.  I want more merchandise in the store before this weekend -- but I also have to be aware that there will be a dramatic dropoff in sales after this weekend for about two weeks.  Then the final two weeks before Christmas -- Boom.

The last two weeks have become so important, it is kind of scary.  I always worry that something catastrophic will happen -- events, weather, something.  That the Sheriff of Nottingham will "Cancel Christmas." 

Hasn't happened...yet.

There is a week less time this year between Thanksgiving and Christmas, but that week is missing from November, and since I'm already ahead of last year in November -- with two big days left -- apparently it had little effect.  In fact, logically, it should make December all that much stronger.

I believe the mild weather has been working in our favor.  That and the fact that I really stocked up this year, especially board games and books.

Anyway, we're good.  We see an increase, to be sure, but not as much as I read other stores do -- in fact, I think I actually see a slight decrease in traffic from my regulars.  What it does do is position me to pay off a heft chunk of my bills and hopefully have some cash in the bank for the long dry spell of the first half of the year.

If I can beat last year at Christmas, I may beat last year altogether, which considering how careful I've been in my buying, will be a real achievement.

Meanwhile, everyone have fun.  Buy a book for Christmas.

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