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!


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