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Focus on Retail – You are not bonkers if you are thinking about Christmas in October… You are bonkers if you are not!

Every year Christmas stock seems to line the shelves earlier and earlier. Sure there are groans and complaints of exploitation of the holiday season, but it’s undeniable that everyone’s spirits perk up a little upon seeing the tinsel and advent calendars. So how early should retailers prepare for the festive season?

Shops experience their busiest shopping days of the year as a direct result of the Holidays, with sales in 2012 reaching £5 Billion on the final weekend before the big day. With such a high volume of transactions, can retailers’ stock, (especially smaller independent shops), keep up with the demand?

The competition for consumers becomes especially aggressive in this period; shops should plan ahead and compensate for this appetite for spending by making sure they are adequately prepared. The worst thing, for both parties involved is when at the eleventh hour, a desperate parent scavenges the aisles for a gift, only to experience that feeling of utter dread when it is sold out.

To avoid missing out on sales, retailers should forecast their finances months ahead, to ensure they have adequate supplies for the over £1 Billion spike in sales from November to December. Imports in September are expected to grow 5% from the previous year, indicating the increasing emphasis on stocking up early.

To reiterate, the best way to take advantage of the holiday season is to ensure you have a strategy to increase product exposure and visibility in place well in advance. In addition, for retailers to differentiate themselves from the crowd and procure a boost in sales, they should be ready to go the extra mile for consumers. Simple but effective promotions such as gift wrapping can significantly help.

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