Archive for December, 2010

Avoid the Chaos – Exclusive Store Manager’s Organizer Explained

The Store Manager’s Organizer/Planner is in great demand! Just in case you missed this earlier in the week, we are sending you the information again. Below you will find information explaining exactly what each section is used for, and how it is used.

You know what they say…. Plan your work and work your plan!

As a specialist, that’s not always easy because no ordinary organizer or planner will do for you. But there is help.

The DMSRetailer is an Organizer/Planner designed specifically for Store Managers. It is a remarkable tool to assist you in operating your retail store(s).

The instant electronic download version of the exclusive Store Manager’s Organizer/Planner is on sale, for just a few more days, for only US$24.95. And, if you order now, you’ll receive a free Bonus Success Guide – Super Tactics of Time Management Experts.

Here is just one of the many benefits of using the DMSRetailer Store Manager’s Organizer/Planner…you only buy the electronic download once and you can use it every year…forever!

Here is the detailed information about this truly outstanding product… please read on.

Heading:  Store Data

This section is used to identify your store by location or number. The square footage is relevant as you will need this information for calculating certain KPI’s. Gross square footage is the total store. Net square footage is just selling space – or space that is used for selling to customers. If you do not know the gross and net square footage you should be able to get the exact numbers from your Head Office. Those numbers would be included in the lease agreement and/or construction documents.

Heading: Last Year Actual

This is where you will record important details from the prior year:  Sales $ – the actual sales dollars from last year. % of Prior Year Ach. – the % of last year’s sales budget/target achieved. W/C% – this is the wage cost % for last year.  $/sq. ft – this is last year’s sales dollars divided by your store’s square footage. Gross Margin $ – this is the total gross margin dollars for last year. % – this is the gross margin percent achieved last year.

Heading: Current Year Budgets/Targets

Enter the month, the date your company has determined as the fiscal month end date and the budget/target sales dollars.

Heading: Employee Roster – F/T

Enter the name, position, hire date, rate code* and review date of each full time employee. *a rate code is something you develop so that actual pay rates cannot be seen. For example: If employee X is earning 10.00 per hour, you may use code A.0 – A is for the number 1 and 0 is for 0. Another example – employee Y is earning 9.80 per hour, you may use code I.H – I is for the number 9 (9th letter in the alphabet is I) and H is for 8 (H is the 8th letter in the alphabet). The point is to develop a code that is understandable only to you so you don’t have to worry about recording sensitive information in your organizer.

Heading: Employee Roster – P/T

Same as above, but for Part Time employees.

Heading: Sales & Appointments

This page is used to record the week ending date, the week #, daily weather conditions, the daily sales budget or target, last year’s actual sales for the same day, the actual sales achieved for the day this year, the % of the daily budget or target achieved, the % of business done on each day relative to the whole week. This number is calculated at the end of the week when the total sales for the week is known. The total weeks’ sales number is 100%. All calculations require simple retail math. If you require help with retail math, check DMSRetail’s Success Guide titled Retail Math – Made Simple. You can find it here:

The balance of the page is used for recording appointments and personal notes.

Heading: Key Performance Indicators

Record all KPI’s for the week – target, last year actual, this year actual, variance to target and variance to last year actual. Again, if you are unsure of KPI calculations and require help with retail math, all of this information can be found in DMSRetail’s Success Guide called Retail Math – Made Simple. Here is the link again:

Heading: Performance Concerns to be Addressed

Record the name(s) of the employee who is not performing up to expectations, the date the information was taken from, the KPI’s that are not up to expectations and any other concerns you need to discuss with the same employee(s) (example: tardiness, behavior, dress code, etc.)

Heading: Merchandise Issues/Concerns

Make notes regarding merchandise issues so that you can quickly recall them when speaking with the appropriate person at your Head Office or when called upon to provide feedback on merchandise. This is an excellent section to record the details you will need when doing merchandise reviews/reports because it’s so easy to forget due to the number of styles/sku’s you deal with. 

Heading: Cumulative Sales

This is where you keep your cumulative sales and budget achievement up to date so you can see them at a glance. Each new week you update these numbers by adding the prior week’s sales actual and sales budget and sales for the same week last year. MTD $, QTD$, YTD$ – these are actual sales numbers for month to date, quarter to date and year to date. MTD % Budget, QTD % Budget, YTD % Budget – these are the % achieved compared to budget numbers for month to date, quarter to date and year to date. MTD % LY, QTD % LY, YTD % LY – these are the % achieved compared to last year’s actual sales numbers.

Note: Some companies break monthly budgets/targets into weeks. This organizer has allotted space for monthly budget numbers (page 1). If you do have weekly budgets, you should list them and keep them with your organizer so you can use them when updating and calculating Cumulative Sales. If you do not have weekly budgets, then you can estimate your weekly budget by taking your monthly budget and determining if there are any special events, or new merchandise receipts, etc. coming in certain weeks of the month. Then you take your monthly budget and break it down by %. For example, if a special event will occur in week 2 of the month then allocate 40% of the monthly budget to week 2. Then your weekly budget breakdown will be as follows: For example only – Week 1 = 20%    Week 2 = 40%   Week 3 = 20%   Week 4 = 20%

There is a 3 Year Sales History, by week, toward the back of your organizer. We recommend that you fill in these numbers as soon as possible.

Heading: Payroll

This is where you record your wage dollars paid, hours used and wage cost % for the week. There are sections for the Budgeted numbers for the week, the Actual numbers for the week and the Variance between Budget and Actual for the week.

Heading: Top Producers Last Week

This is where you record the name and SPH (Sales per Hour) Achievement of your top 5 producers. This section will be used to assist you in scheduling productively. Your top producing people should benefit from being given more working hours.

Heading: To Do List W1

This section is self explanatory. Plenty of room is provided, for each day of the week, for you to make notes.

Heading: Time Off Requests & Scheduling Notes

This section should be used, by the Manager or other person in charge of scheduling, to record special requests from staff regarding working hours/days. You can also record things that will be important for you to recall when making a schedule. For example: “Inventory count – schedule 8 extra hours on Tuesday” or “new person starting on Friday – add training hours”.

Note: It is not advisable to leave a calendar out for staff to write which days/shifts they do and do not want to work. This is an invitation for scheduling issues to occur. Any staff member who wishes to make special arrangements regarding their schedule should be required to speak directly to the Manager or other person in charge of scheduling. Once you agree to a special request, make the note in this section of your organizer so you will not forget what you have agreed to.

Heading: To Do List W2

As above in To Do List W1.

Heading: Supplies Required

This is where you should note any supplies that will be required or reminders to check supply levels.

Heading: Maintenance Required

This is where you should note any maintenance required now or reminders to check that everything is functioning properly. You can also note any contact you have made with maintenance people regarding equipment, etc.

 Heading: Shipments This Week

You can use this section for various different purposes. 1) to record the dates your shipments are expected 2) to record shortages or overages by shipment 3) to record damaged merchandise received  4) to record packing slip numbers 5) reminder to call the shipping company 6) to assign personnel to the task of shipping/receiving. Basically, anything you need to note regarding your shipments.

Heading: Sales Performance Q1

Here you will record the week number, the actual sales $, the budgeted sales $ and the % achieved for the Week, Month to date, Quarter to date and Year to date. This page gives you only achievement compared to budget but presents a bigger picture to review than the small Cumulative Sales record found in each weekly section.  The small Cumulative Sales record also gives you comparisons to LY.

You will also find Sales Performance for Q2, Q3 and Q 4 placed in the appropriate places throughout your organizer.

Heading: Recruiting Q1

This is where you record details of any recruiting and interviewing activity that takes place. Note a Potential Candidate’s name, the Source (or where you found them) Contact Info. of the Potential Candidate, the Interview Date – either planned or actual, the Outcome (will you hire them or not?) and the names & phone numbers of References provided by the Potential Candidate.

You will also find Recruiting for Q2, Q3 and Q4 placed in the appropriate places throughout your organizer.

Heading: Marketing/Promotions Record 1st Half

This is where you will record details of any promotions, special events, etc. There is room for 26 promotions but, you won’t necessarily have that many promotions in 6 months so you can use more than one line per promotion.

As an example only: Month – February, Promotion Name – Valentine’s Day, Run Dates – February 5-14th, Details of Offer – 20% off and free gift wrapping, Signage Used – New Red/White Valentine’s Day Promo signage, Actual Results $ – $20,250, Post Promo Comments – 30% over budget, ran out of free gift wrap.

You will also find Marketing/Promotions Record 2nd Half placed appropriately in your organizer.

Heading: 3 Year Sales History

This is where you record actual sales dollars for each week of the year, for three consecutive years prior to the year you are in. Actual (LY) is for last year, Actual (PY2) is for the year before last year or 2 years ago and Actual (PY3) is for 3 years ago. So if you are currently working in year 2010, then LY is 2009, PY2 is 2008 and PY3 is 2007.

Heading: Contacts

Self explanatory.

Heading: Staff Contact Information

Self explanatory.

Calendars for Current Year, Prior Year and Next Year are included for easy reference.

There are 4 full pages dedicated to each week – and we’ve given you plenty of room for all of your notes and anything else you like to record in your organizer!

We hope you decide to get organized for 2011 and take advantage of the savings and the bonus. Inquire at for volume discounts.

All the Success!

DMSRetail Inc.


Two new locations – District Management Workshop 2011

Did you know that, according to input from operations people and supported by data from various retail organizations, a District/Area/Region Manager will influence performance by up to +/- 20%?
In actual numbers, that means, if you have a district of 10 stores with $1.5Million average sales each, the District Manager’s influence is about 6 Million dollars between -20% and +20%.
No responsible retail organization will leave this kind of influence to chance. Apart from hiring (or better yet, promoting from within) great managers, the leaders of the organization have to make sure that their management teams are well equipped with the right tools and training.
This is where DMSRetail comes in. With our proven real life experience, and record, we are able to get your talent to the point of peak performance, so that your District/Area/Region Managers can consistently deliver at the +20% range.
This workshop is being held at the Sheraton Phoenix Downtown in Phoenix, Arizona on January 26 & 27, 2011. And at the Sheraton Vancouver Airport in Vancouver, BC on February 7 & 8, 2011. Start the new year off right! Go here for Program Outline, Fees, Who Should Attend, etc.:
Why choose DMSRetail Inc. for your training needs? Because we know the business you’re in – we’ve been there and done it successfully. You may register right on our website or, for inquiries on registration or more information, send an email to . Faculty bios available on request.
Reserve your seat(s) now.

Store Support During the Holidays

At this time of year, many of your Head Office personnel will probably be taking a few extra days off to celebrate the holidays.  And, almost certainly, many retail Head Offices will close at noon on December 24th and December 31st.

Before communicating office hours, helpdesk/ line availability, who will be out of the office when, etc. be sure you read it over from the store employees’ point of view.  Working long hours over the holidays is a part of the job, but most store management and staff would like to spend more time with their family and friends, just as others do. So choose the words carefully.

Instead of this…

Attention all Store Manager’s and Staff:  Due to the Holidays, Head Office will be closed at noon on December 24 and will re-open on December 28. If you require assistance during that time, contact your District Manager. The Help Desk will be closed also. In case of an emergency with your POS system, contact the supplier’s help line directly – you have their phone number in your POS manual. For everything else, contact your District Manager.

Perhaps something like this…

Happy Holidays, Everyone:  To make sure that you are properly supported over the holiday period, we have compiled a list of contact numbers for you to use in the event of an emergency or if you are dealing with a time sensitive issue and cannot reach your District Manager. Normal store support will resume on December 28, 2011.

Whatever you decide to do, or say, your retail stores need support. If they are open for business, they need to have reliable people available to assist them if, and when, it becomes necessary.

All the Success!!

Thinking Ahead to January 2011

No longer is January a dead month for retailers. More and more, customers are visiting stores in January for the great clearance sales. They don’t necessarily want to brave the crowds on the day after Christmas, or even the week after Christmas. Many of them are waiting well into January to use their gift cards and exchange gifts. Will you be ready?

Tips for a successful January:

Make the store as inviting as you did leading up to Christmas. Visual standards should always remain high, even though your merchandise selection may be less than what it usually is. Do the very best you can with what you’ve got to work with.

When producing your schedules for January, it is critical that you look at the whole picture – net sales alone do not tell the story. For example, if your sales for a day are $10,000 – it could be that your customers purchased $20,000 worth of merchandise but, because of returns, your net sales ended at $10,000. If you schedule to make $10,000, you will be badly understaffed and you will not do the business you could have done if you had more people on the floor. Look at last year’s sales and return figures, then do the math and prepare for a great January. Don’t understaff your store in January.

If you are starting ‘spring’ cleaning or preparing for a physical inventory count, schedule very carefully to ensure that you are still going all out for sales rather than just focusing on accomplishing these large tasks.

Ensure that any returned merchandise is quickly checked, re-ticketed if necessary and placed back out on the sales floor. Don’t leave returns piled in the backroom, even for a short period of time, if they are saleable.

Let any temporary employees know what the future holds for them. If you were impressed with a temporary worker and you want to keep them on staff, tell them what your intentions are. This will motivate them; giving them good reason to continue doing a great job for you.

Don’t put any merchandise on display, in windows or throughout the store, if you don’t have back up product. There is no point in enticing a customer with something you cannot supply. Most retailers place clearance banners in their windows, and throughout their stores, in January. Usually, their selection is not sufficient to promote anything in particular.

Rally the staff! You know that your people are tired, having just come through the incredibly hectic season, but this is no time to let down your standards for performance. Let staff know how important the month of January is to the store’s overall success.

All the Success!

Things Your Customers Don’t Need to Hear


Retail employees, like any others, should always behave in a professional manner. Because retail employees work together in the stores and not hidden away in offices, this can sometimes be difficult if your employees are talkative. It’s a real problem if they are talkative and unhappy. A recent visit to a grocery store prompted me to send out this reminder. 

I needed something that was not out on the floor. I knew, from previous experience, that the item was often stocked in the freezers behind the counter. I approached a woman who appeared to be working in the area and I learned the following:

The store was short staffed because someone called in sick. The employee I was talking to was tired and overworked; having to fill in for people who didn’t show up for work. She did not usually work in the meat department and it was stopping her from getting her own ‘work’ done in the bakery department. And, finally, she told me that the item I was asking for was probably not available; she didn’t have time to check; I should just come in tomorrow and talk to someone who really works in this department. There was nothing she could do, she just couldn’t spend the time!

Yes, she actually said all these things. Unfortunately, these are not isolated incidents. We really need to train on professional behavior, as well as other skills, if we expect to maintain our reputation.

Retail Math

Here’s a quick retail math quiz for you. Test your knowledge of commonly used formulas in retail math.

Fill in the blanks…….

  1. Gross Margin % = Gross Margin ___________ divided by net ____________
  2. Stock to Sales Ratio = __________ of month $ stock divided by _________ for period
  3. Wage Cost = _____________ divided by net sales
  4. Net _______________________= net sales divided by total FTE employees
  5. Return (or refund) Rate = Total Refund $ divided by _________________

Presenting Options to the Customer

Sometimes things get lost in translation, don’t they? Many sales associates, even those who have been properly trained to determine needs and then present appropriate options to the customer, will mention options rather than presenting them.

There is a big difference.

If the sales associate actually presents the merchandise to the customer, either by bringing the merchandise to the customer or taking the customer to the merchandise, then the merchandise can be touched and discussed, questions can be asked and answered, objections can be raised and overcome. When the merchandise is simply mentioned, there is a huge lost opportunity for the customer to connect their need with the item(s) mentioned and for the sales associate to use their product knowledge and skills. Just mentioning an option is seldom effective.

It’s important that sales associates present the merchandise to the customer and then seize that opportunity to sell it.

All the Success!

DMSRetail Team

PS: The District Management Workshop is scheduled for Phoenix, AZ on January 26 & 27, 2011. For more information, go here:

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