Archive for December, 2011

Exclusive 2012 Store Manager’s Organizer Explained

You know what they say…. Plan your work and work your plan!
As a specialist, that’s not always easy because no ordinary organizer will do for you. You’re in retail!!
You need something special. So, we developed one for you…
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). Below you will find information explaining what each section is used for, and how to use it.
The instant electronic download version of the exclusive Store Manager’s Planner/Organizer is on sale, for a limited time, for 25% off. When you place your order use the coupon code BOXINGWEEK25 (exactly as shown – all letters in CAPS). You can get it here:

And, it truly is an investment because you only buy it once and use it for years.

If you’d like more information about this truly unique product, please read on. All of the sections included in the Store Manager’s Organizer are explained below.

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 understood only by you.

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%. There is also a space to note Weather Conditions each day – something you’ll want to refer to in the future…not as an excuse, but possibly as a reason! 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 of the employee(s) 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 (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.

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.

If you’re ready to purchase, here’s the link:

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. If you have limited hours to use on your schedule, your top producing people should benefit from being given more working hours.

Heading: To Do List – (Sun – Wed)

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 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”.
Tip: Although many Store Manager’s do it, it is not advisable to leave a calendar out for staff to write which days/shifts they do, and do not, want to work. It may appear to be the most convenient way to do things but it’s a mistake and it makes the Store Manager’s job much more difficult than it needs to be. This method will create more scheduling issues than necessary. Any staff member who wishes to make special arrangements (outside of their normal availability that you have on file)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 – Thu-Sat

As above.

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.
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 2012, then LY is 2011, PY2 is 2010 and PY3 is 2009.

Heading: Contacts

Self explanatory. All of the contact information you need right at your fingertips.

Heading: Staff Contact Information

Self explanatory.

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

We want you to get organized in a big way in 2012 and take advantage of the savings, using coupon code BOXINGWEEK25 (exactly as shown – all letters in CAPS). Inquire at for volume discounts.

Order now. Here’s that link again:

All the Success!
DMSRetail Inc.

PS: Just a reminder that our Boxing Week Sale…25% off all electronic Success Guides, Tools & DVD’s and YourTime Study Courses…runs through until December 31, 2011 at midnight EST (excludes print versions and workshops). Here’s your coupon code again: BOXINGWEEK25 (exactly as shown – all letters in CAPS). Go to and find all of the great products you need while they’re on sale.

PPS: For a limited time – until December 31 at midnight EST – the electronic version of the Store Manager’s Organizer is on sale for 25% off. And, remember, you never have to buy another Organizer. Buy it once and use it for years to come. Start getting organized for 2012 right here:


The Policy Manual

If you must have a policy manual, don’t let employees hide behind it!

It should go without saying that retail management and associates should never quote company policies and procedures to customers. However, as evidenced everyday in retail stores and call centres everywhere, it does need saying…and repeating… over and over….as my little story illustrates.

Just recently, in a mild dispute over some additional charges being levied on one of my mobile phone accounts, I was told in no uncertain terms that “It’s our company policy and there is absolutely nothing that can be done about it.”  When I politely asked to speak with someone higher up in the organization I was told, again “It’s just our policy and, no matter who you talk to, you’re not going to get what you want.”

So, then, Company policy trumps everything? No matter who I talk to? Hmmm.

Although I highly doubt that the Customer Service Specialist (The title is quite funny, isn’t it?) was correct, I didn’t want to spend my time and energy debating the point…so I just cancelled the service and they will no longer have to concern themselves with this pesky customer! And they will no longer enjoy the revenue associated with my account.

Anyway, your company may have established policies and procedures to assist in the organized operation of the business; to help employees understand the way the organization operates; to help people do their jobs and to protect the company’s assets, reputation, etc.

They do not, and should not, exist to use as ammunition against customers.

If a customer specifically asks about the company policy on a particular topic, there’s no harm in answering provided it is something for public consumption and not a strictly internal or confidential matter.

But, when a customer challenges the way you do something, or the way you don’t do something, there’s no reason to hide behind a book. In fact, quoting company policy is just plain cowardly. It means you don’t have the training, depth of understanding or intelligence to deal with the issue…or the customer.

Anyway, just don’t do it. And don’t allow it to be done by anyone in your organization.

For those charged with producing the policy and procedure manual, it can be tricky. If you are too specific, you run the risk of slowing down the operation with bureaucratic nonsense and red tape. Not good. But if you are not specific enough, employees will come up with any number of different interpretations causing a distinct lack of consistency within the organization. Also, not good.

Here is what we suggest. Don’t bother with a manual or have a one-pager!

Ok, ok,  we understand that you probably will want to create something to be used as a guideline so, be specific as far as instructions go (meaning how to do something) but not so specific that you end up with hundreds of pages of boring reading…or you state things that border on ridiculous.

The truth is, to be really specific, you will be writing a never-ending book because you simply cannot cover off each and every possible scenario at store level.  Highly focused, customer service oriented organizations have it figured out.

If you absolutely must have a book…the key is to write it in such a way that it ensures the reader will understand the one common thread running throughout those parts which affect customers and that is….reasonableness. Make sure that there is no situation which would call for an unfriendly approach or negative result for the customer.
Now, you may say that what is reasonable to one person may not be reasonable to another. And that is true, of course.

But if your hiring and training practices are excellent AND your organizational culture includes a healthy respect for the customer, this should not be an issue. Like I mentioned above, highly focused, customer service oriented organizations have figured it out…and you can too.

All the Success!


Striving for 5

Should you gently nudge your customers to give you a high score on their Customer Service Survey?

Recently, I was shopping in one of my favorite stores – they have clothing and accessories for men, women, kids, infants; they have house ware and pictures and exercise stuff, etc. It’s a great place to shop for gifts, as well as for yourself.

Anyway, when I got to the cash desk to pay for my purchases, the cashier was unusually…and, I must say, unaturally… sweet and I knew immediately that something was up – you know the kind of talk that is clearly for show?

I was right…something was up. At the end of the transaction she handed me my receipt and circled a website name printed on it. She said I should complete the survey online and I would have a chance to win $1,000. She added “remember, we strive for 5”.

Also, she had stapled a small blue piece of paper, with a note on it, to my receipt. It was a reminder, to me, that they are striving to score “5” on the survey.  

So, is it a good thing or a bad thing to nudge your customers to give you a “5”? What do you think? Was this great work by an enterprising Store Manager? Or a ploy to ‘game the data’ on the Customer Service Survey? Would you do it? If you’d like to tell us what you think, please go to and leave your comments.

All the Success!
DMSRetail Inc.

Guess the decade!

People who work in retail stand for long periods of time and run around a lot during the holiday season. That brings up the subject of comfortable shoes again! Can you guess the decade in which this shoe was worn? If you can, there’s a complimentary copy of our Success Guide ‘Retail Customer Service Fundamentals’ for you! Make your guess now! Go to


Holiday Tip #5 and Your Retail Management Training Library


Lots of retail people know all about GMROII, but not so many know about GMROF. That’s Gross Margin Return on Footage.

During busy times (like now, for instance) it’s super important that we display our merchandise in the best possible way to take advantage of all that extra traffic and encourage better sell thru, right?

Well, you can go a step further than making your merchandise look great…you can put it in the best place.

So, Holiday Tip #5 is…Use GMROF to find out which of your fixtures or walls, or wall sections is returning a better profit to you. That’s right! GMROF is not just used to find out Gross Margin Return on Floor Space…you can use it to find out the Gross Margin Return on any merchandised space.

Here’s the calculation:

GMROF = GM% x (Sales* / Sq.Ft.)
*Sales for corresponding area & time frame

Here’s an example:

Which fixture is more profitable?

Fixture 1: Oval shape with merchandised area of 7.65 square feet. Sales generated from this fixture in one month are $3,465 and Gross Margin on those sales is 43.5%.

Fixture 2: Rectangular shape with merchandised area of 7.20 square feet. Sales generated from this fixture in one month are $2,987 and Gross Margin on those sales is 45.6%.

Answer: Fixture 1 is more profitable. (GMROF for fixture 1 is 197; GMROF for fixture 2 is 189)

Most of you know that we include Retail Math in all of our workshops and YourTime Study Courses. And the reason is very simple – retail math knowledge is something no retail manager or business owner can do without. It’s a basic…a ‘must have’.

Fail to understand retail math, fail to understand your business.

This year, because so many of you asked us to, we put our workshop material, including lots of retail math, metrics and kpi information, into home study courses so that people who can’t afford the investment, or the block of time, to attend our workshops can still get all of the information they need to run successful retail businesses.

Last week, we decided to package all of them together into the most comprehensive retail management training library available and offer it to you for a fraction of the regular price. We also offered to give each customer full credit for any part they already own.

We considered it our holiday gift to our loyal customers and subscribers, and without much fanfare, we made that retail management training library available at that incredible price, minus what they had already paid, for one week.

But all good things must come to an end and that week ends tomorrow – December 7th. If you want to check it out you can still go here:

If you decide to buy one, we’ll refund your previous purchase of a Super Retail Success Bundle and/or any YourTime Study Courses you’ve purchased to date. It’s only fair!

All the Success!
DMSRetail Inc.

PS: The 3rd Edition of Retail Math – Made Simple was released yesterday. We’ve added Vendor Scorecards, a fully explained Profit & Loss Statement and a Retail Math Quiz! Customers who already own Retail Math – Made Simple, get a free upgrade just by sending an email to , and many, many of you already have! (Your upgrades have been sent.) The price, for the new 3rd Edition, will remain the same for now:

Holiday Tip #4 & Introducing Retail Math – Made Simple 3rd Edition

Our best selling Success Guide…Retail Math – Made Simple is now in its 3rd Edition!

We’ve added Vendor Scorecards, a fully explained Profit & Loss Statement and a Retail Math Quiz.

And the best part is…for now, the price stays the same at only $17.95 for the electronic version and $29.95 for the print version.

You can purchase it right here:

We know that thousands of you already own Retail Math – Made Simple and we can just hear you saying “But, I already bought it!” Don’t worry, we won’t let you down. You get a free electronic upgrade.

If you are a Retail Math – Made Simple customer, just send an email to: and ask us to send you the free upgrade.

Now, for that Holiday Tip #4 – What are your plans for keeping everyone sane this holiday season?

This is the time of year when many retail people might start to get a little testy. They are doing everything – and then some – and sometimes they just want to throw up their hands and leave!

Of course, they don’t really want to leave but they may get frustrated. Face it, life is pretty interesting…sometimes crazy… in retail stores in December. Start now and plan to make sure everyone has some fun.

Here are some things you can do to help:

  •       Arrange a pot luck lunch for the busiest days. Have everyone bring something to contribute, supply paper plates and cutlery and let everyone have a relaxing lunch in the backroom so they don’t have to fight the food court wars.
  •       Put a motivational note or card in their backroom mailbox just to remind them that someone appreciates their efforts.
  •       Bring treats for staff to munch on during their breaks.
  •       Run a contest where the winner gets to go home a little early without cleaning and closing up the store. If you run a contest like this every day, the other staff will happily pick up the slack because they know they could be the lucky winner the next day.
  •       And don’t forget the pat on the back for a job well done. Thank your people often and sincerely.

All the Success!


PS: These two workshops will be held in Phoenix, Arizona in January 2012…after the madness, and just in time to get a jumpstart for the new year. You can use these links to get dates, fees, who should attend, what’s included, etc.

The Retail Operations Management G.O.L.D. Workshop:

The Retail District Management G.O.L.D. Workshop


Retail Management G.O.L.D. Workshops

Do you think you’d be a good candidate to attend the upcoming Retail Management G.O.L.D. Workshops in Phoenix? Well, you can find out if you wish.

The first step is to answer these three questions.

1.) Are you tired of doing the same things over and over and expecting better results?
2.) Are you trying to figure out what actions are necessary to ensure next year will be a banner year?
3.) Are you ready to get 2012 off to a great start?

If you answered “yes” to one or more of the above, then you may be ready to attend, but please keep reading to find out, for sure, if it would make sense for you to attend; if you qualify, so to speak.

The customer’s experience in your stores and the resulting sales performance…good or bad…is a direct result of what’s going on in the business; a direct result of management abilities, decisions and actions. Unfortunately, the fact that so many customers have bad shopping experiences means…well, it means that many retailers need to pick things up a notch because a bad shopping experience is just the tip of the iceberg!

Frankly, consultants and retail management experts are somewhat puzzled as to why it is taking so long for the retail sector, more specifically, the management personnel operating in it, to identify the critical issues and take action. What is going on in some of those boardrooms, anyway?

Some just keep going along the same path, ignoring all of the signs until they’re forced to turn the lights out. Some just continue to throw good money after bad at things that ‘might’ be causing problems…at things that ‘might’ be the cause of unsatisfactory financial results… rather than address the things that ‘are most definitely’ causing the problems.

In our many years of experience, we find that there are quite a few retail management individuals who think they already know everything there is to know about the retail business. If that were true, we wouldn’t be seeing the problems that we see today. And the problems are nothing as simple as poor customer service or messy stores, etc.

No, when sales and profits are not what they should be, there are problems that run much deeper than that.

So, perhaps, many of the retail manager’s know the mechanics…but that’s just not enough.You have to admit that warrants some consideration.

We really hate to say this but it’s no secret that there are plenty of customers who are not that happy about going shopping in stores anymore. That’s one of the reasons on-line retailers are gaining a competitive advantage.

The reason we bring this up is to point out that there is evidence that there are still many things that retail management individuals need to do better – like manage for performance, lead people to create a loyal following, operate with integrity and principles, build and maintain a performance culture.

If this was all being done properly, most of the issues would simply disappear.

Some might say the retail industry is in a bit of a mess! Well, maybe, but it’s certainly not all doom and gloom. There is so much to be done!

If, after reading this, you think that you would qualify, join DMSRetail’s retail management experts for the Retail Management G.O.L.D. Workshops in Phoenix in January 2012 and find out just what it’s going to take to prosper in the future of retail. Hint…it’s way more than technology!

The future is bright – despite what’s going on – because there is so much opportunity for those willing to embrace it by attending the Retail Management G.O.L.D. Workshops.

The Retail District Management Workshop is being held on January 12 & 13, 2012

The Retail Operations Management Workshop is being held on January 9-10-11, 2012

Send an email to: to request Program Outlines and find out about fees, group discounts, who should attend, what’s included, etc. Or, use these links:

The Retail District Management Workshop:

The Retail Operations Management Workshop:

These workshops are not geared to the average person. They are hard hitting – tell it like it is – sessions that emphasize the importance of a performance culture and holding people accountable every step of the way.

If you’re on board, we look forward to meeting you in Phoenix.

All the Success!
DMSRetail Inc.

PS: As you may have gathered, we don’t believe the Retail Management G.O.L.D. Workshops are for everyone. If you think they’re for you and/or others in your organization, let us know and we’ll reserve your seat(s). But, please act very soon because class size is strictly limited for quality purposes. Send an email to:

PPS: You should not consider attending the Retail Management G.O.L.D. Workshops unless you’re ready for something bold and new. If you are, here are those links again:

The Retail District Management Workshop:

The Retail Operations Management Workshop:

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