Saturday, December 17, 2005

The Tide Is Turning

These are not Record Den shoppers, nor is this Record DenIt was a pretty busy day today at the store: the kind of busy that creeps up on you when your attention is elsewhere.

Even though we haven't worked a Christmas season in a mall setting since doing that hellish daily commute to Great Northern Mall at the end of 1997, the kind of unending, staggering volume of people and sales you get in a mall environment is very hard to forget (especially when you've done ten years of these). In our strip mall location, however, we are never continuously beseiged by a store full of shoppers like we were back then, so for us it never feels at this time of year like we are doing the kind of figures we should be doing. That said, when I think back on today and remember all the times I was updating sales and orders or hunting down stock in the back room and constantly being interrupted by the phone, or breaking off to ring up a sale, or answer a question from a customer, I realize that we were, in fact, kicking some butt ... just in a far less overwhelming manner than I am still accustomed to after all these years away from the mall-shopping throngs.

In short, with nearly every customer leaving the store after buying something (often a handful of somethings), there is now a glimmer of hope that we might make the month of December after all. Until today, we were running far enough behind the pace of December 2004 that it was beginning to look like we might not be able to catch up. Twenty-four hours later, having solidly beaten the comparable Saturday last year, we're still not completely back on pace, but our lag has been cut down considerably.

Brightening spirits a little more is that due to the way the calendar falls this year, we are going to get a longer run-up to the holiday than last year, and I'd bet we are going to get absolutely slammed the last three full days of sales (starting on the 21st). Also, we lost a few of the biggest potential sales days last season to crippling snow storms (what ended up saving our month last year was the week after Christmas), and meeting the figures of those rotten days should be a walk in the park as long as the weather (currently cold and very dry) holds up.

On that note, according to the fine folks at Weather Underground, we're starting to look rather iffy for a white Christmas ...

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