Our shop is closed Boxing Day, which is on December 26, unless it falls on a Saturday. We just feel that we deserve two days off in a row after the busy Christmas season. But in many parts of the world, Boxing Day has evolved from being a day to give boxes of gifts to the poor to being the first day of the post-holiday sale. (We just wait a day, and start ours on December 27.)

It may be hard think about an after Christmas sale with so many gifts and decorations yet to be sold, but before you know it Boxing Day will be here.  If you can find a moment of quiet, grab a cup of tea and a Christmas cookie and start planning.

With staffing so difficult to come by this season, start by making sure you’ll have enough employees on hand to deal with both sale shoppers and those making returns. Think about ways to streamline your return procedure in order to make it easy to cope with a line of people with gifts they want to bring back.

You probably want to put seasonal merchandise, and some other slow movers, on sale in order to make room for new goods next year. Happily many customers will receive gift cards or cash for the holidays, so they’ll have money to spend – especially on bargains.

If possible, mark down any holiday goods left from last year the week before Christmas. You won’t need to take as deep a discount, and hopefully some of your merchandise will find a home for the holiday.  When Christmas has come, put away anything you don’t want to have on sale – collectibles, for example. If you have lines that are wintry rather than Christmas, move those to an area where you can clearly indicate that they are not included in the post-holiday sale.

Get your signs ready to put up the morning your sale begins.  We start our sale at 40% off, and sell much of our seasonal items at that discount. This allows us to recoup what we paid, including freight, and to free up those dollars for fresh goods. Merchandise that hasn’t sold by New Year’s Eve may be given one more chance at 60% or even 70% off – but after that it is usually donated or discarded.  

By the way, there are several different theories as to why December 26 is called Boxing Day – all of which make some sense. But I’d love to know who thought it was a good idea to declare the day after Christmas National Candy Cane Day!

Happy retailing, 

Carol “Orange” Schroeder