You may be wondering why today’s blog illustration is of a clock with a statue of Napoleon.  Bear with me, because there is a reason.  This post is about the need for triage after the holidays, a term that is thought to have originated from the work of Dominique Jean Larrey doing the Napoleonic Wars.  Those who survived the battles were divided into three categories:

  •     Those likely to live, regardless of what care they receive
  •     Those unlikely to live, regardless of what care they receive
  •     Those for whom immediate care might make a positive difference in outcome

As soon as a holiday ends, we need to “triage” our remaining seasonal merchandise into similar categories.  I would suggest: 

  1. goods that are collectible, or in great demand, that can be displayed at full price for after-holiday shoppers, then stored away for next year
  2. merchandise that should be put on sale at 40% off, and packed up for next year if not sold within a few days
  3. items,especially those from previous years, that should be put on sale at 40% off and then 60%, but after that should be donated or discarded.  Odds and ends, and slightly damaged goods, fall into this third category.

It is a mistake to let seasonal merchandise linger on clearance too long, especially as customers’ interest wains within a few days of a holiday.  You might want to invest some advertising dollars to bring sale shoppers in when your display is at its fullest to see if you can recoup as many inventory dollars as possible right away. In most cases it’s a plus to be able to invest your money in fresh merchandise for the next season, and not to have to use up valuable back room space to store unsold goods.

Happy Retailing,

Carol “Orange” Schroeder 

Please note that there will not be a Specialty Shop Retailing blog next Monday (December 26) due to Boxing Day.