Forget New Year’s resolutions, the Rose Bowl, or black-eyed peas as New Year’s traditions.  In our shop, New Year’s means one thing: inventory.  It’s all hands on deck to physically count everything that is still on hand after the holidays.  To avoid a mutiny, we now do inventory on the Sunday after New Year’s Day, which is also a good day for us to be closed.  We adjust the inventory to account for the sales that took place during the few days since the first of the year.

Counting everything is a big job whether you use an outside agency and bar-code scanners, or the old-fashioned method of counting and recording. I suggest that you track your merchandise and sales by category, so that the type of merchandise that sells best is also allotted the most inventory dollars.  You will also need to set up your bookkeeping system so that new purchases and sales are recorded by category.

This is of course fairly easy to do with a POS system, but it can also be done using a traditional cash register. Simply set up the necessary buttons on your register for the categories you’ve chosen, and make sure that your sales associates know how to ring in purchases correctly.  

Inventory can be rather grueling, especially since we take down most of the Christmas merchandise and replace it with new product as we go. But it’s a great way to start the year, with the shelves freshly dusted and a really clear idea of what we have on hand before we head off to the winter gift shows.  And now that it’s completed for another year (except for the arduous job of compiling all the totals, which falls to our bookkeeper), we can look ahead at 2009. I hope that this new year will be good for us all!

Happy Retailing,

Carol “Orange” Schroeder

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