The holiday shopping season is looking brighter for retailers in 2010. Even the National Retail Federation (NRF) is predicting a 3.3% sales gain compared to last year, with stronger gains for clothing and accessories. At Blacks, we’re expecting menswear to surge 17% over last year, with women’s gaining around 8%, and luxury retailers landing on top.
Still, merchants will have to work hard to hit their holiday goals. They need to land the right goods early to get sales rolling, and be prepared to take the necessary markdowns as the season processes.
Staying promotional will be key to achieve the traffic and transactions that you need to stay ahead. We expect department stores to go into markdown mode at any time, and you have to be prepared to follow suit, if necessary.
You should also think about inviting vendors into your store to meet customers, and make an event out of it. The more engagement you have with your customer base, the better. Reach out to your best customers and let them know what you have planned in terms of promotions and new merchandise.
Lastly, shop your competitors – big and small. This is the only way you can learn what’s going on in the market and how you can get an edge. This is the one strategy that most merchants don’t want to do, but it does pay off.
So, in summary, here are our top holiday strategies:
1) Land goods early
2) Stay promotional
3) Invite your vendors
4) Reach out to core customers
5) Shop your competitors
If you follow these tips and put in a lot of elbow grease you can make it a merry season for you and your customers.
– Blacks’ Senior Consultant Steve Pruitt
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