Happy Thanksgiving and Merry Christmas to you….

No, I am not mixed up … though we are still in the heat of summer as the NFL season begins and US Open tennis winds down.

So why are we writing this?

It’s time to get year-end inventory finalized and marketing plans all lined up, for the most critical time of the year.

Take these steps now, for a merrier December 31.

Plan Ahead! 110 days to Christmas, 80 Days to Black Friday

For most retail businesses, even if the first 9 months of the year were positive, the real level of success is determined by the last 40 days of the year.

To end the year strong, ask your self these “plan ahead” questions:

1) Do you have your key items at the proper levels of INVENTORY? 


If not, what steps can you take to course correct? Some items should NEVER be out of stock, but if they are low, NOW is the time to address it.

Check stock levels. Should you fly in some inventory to catch some extra sales?

2) What’s your strategy for selling ONLINE?  


The trends in our industry tell us that this channel is ever more important than ever. Now is the time to really think about online planning.

You don’t want to disappoint online consumers — recall last year’s issues with UPS and Fedex? Can you handle the uptick of online demand that you are planning for in the 4th quarter?


Is it worth creating a promotion to help “spread out”  the demand of the last 40 days? In other words, offer a discount for orders that can be shipped before BLACK FRIDAY?  Ship before the peak period…. maybe getting an early read of trends and getting sales early.


3) What’s NEW and exciting?


Consumers want to see the newest things. Can you get some NEW SPRING 2015 product in early and on the website or in stores to keep the look FRESH? 

It’s not too late, to fly in new items in development — get an early read, and better plan your buy for next fall. Remember that today 70% of the buying decision is made with online research before the buyer ever contacts you. It’s a fact of the Inbound Movement.

 4) BOTTOM LINE … Manage markdowns


If you have excess inventory, this is the time of year to MOVE a lot of “mistakes”.  January is too late.


Remember, the cheapest markdown is the first markdown … Think about the cost of carrying the inventory, and the markdown you will need to take AFTER Christmas.

Hopefully we’ve given you some things to think about.  Now, I’ll put my white pants and shoes into storage until next summer…

BONUS Glove Company Tip:

The next 3 months will FLY by …

Here’s a blog post on strategic sourcing, and click below for an ebook on speeding up delivery, and getting goods FAST.  We don’t use a sleigh, but suggest many other ways your glove supplier can help you to manage lead times, and save you time.  HO! HO! HO!