Resolution: Adjust to the Economy in the New Year


Cornelia Ortega - With the year almost complete, it's time to take stock of the economy and make a resolution to adjust what we're doing. The economy impacts all of us, whether you're a homeowner, an interior designer, or a home decor vendor. The Commerce Department revealed that October 2010 sales for the retail industry jumped 1.2 percent from the previous month, the largest gain since March. The increase was driven by a 5 percent spike in auto sales, which analysts said was particularly encouraging because it showed consumers were ready to tackle big-ticket purchases. In addition, September's sales gain was revised upward coming from a 0.6 percent increase to 0.7 percent.

Still, consumers remained choosy about where they spent their dollars. Home furnishings stores and electronics retailers each suffered a 0.7 percent drop in sales. Mall sales also declined 0.7 percent, while health-care stores dipped 0.1 percent.

Instead, people returned to restaurants and bars, sending sales up 0. 3 percent. On-line retailers, who have held up much better than their bricks-and-mortar counterparts, registered a 0.8 percent jump. Consumers also bought more clothing, a 0.7 percent boost. Excluding autos, retail sales rose a decent 0.4 percent, despite the mixed performance across sectors. Retailers are hoping that the momentum will fuel the all-important Christmas.

According to a survey from the National Retail Federation, a business trade group, nearly 11 percent of consumers have finished at least half of the holiday shopping, up from just a lot more than 9 percent last year. The group predicted shopper's average spending would inch as much as $688.87 this season, a 1 percent increase over this past year.

The NRF's annual holiday survey found that more shoppers are expected to acquire gifts for family and friends - and even themselves. The quantity of consumers who said they planned to indulge themselves rose eight percentage points to 57 percent this season!

The forecasts, coupled with the new October data, paint a picture of consumers treading carefully on their way to the mall. Economists say that expenses are unlikely to rebound without a corresponding improvement within the employment market.

Although unemployment rate remains stuck at nearly 10 percent, data released from the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed hope. Mass layoffs have declined in size and frequency. And private-sector employment rose 0. 3 % during the third quarter, compared with this past year, the 1st increase since 2008.

If you're a retailer or a vendor - or even a designer - how can you increase add-on sales during the Holidays? Here are a few approaches to improve your sales.

If you want this, you should purchase that - Creating feature areas inside your store which have a couple of major things you need to push for holiday surrounded by complimentary products helps sell not just that particular item. Use signage and have employees communicate with customers to assist them to know how the items work together. If you're offering a design service, think of special ways to extend some kind of package deals and savings for volume to your clients as a holiday gift they can use as they spend with you at the beginning of the New Year.

Stuff the Stockings - I still push stocking stuffers for the holidays as customers will always be seeking those unique, fun little items which round out their holiday gift giving without breaking the bank. Create an entire stocking stuffer display to make it interactive, being a stocking stuffer smorgasbord to acquire customers to get a number of additional items. Again, if you're offering a service, think of small gift items that will round out a client's accessory package in a room, like using left-over fabric to cover padded hangers for a master bedroom closet or the perfect box to round out a tablescape.


Find out more by joining Cornelia Ortega at her Retail Sales Training Blog.

Jay JohnsonComment