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Fall 2010 Blockbuster Holiday Strategies

The economy might be on shaky ground but this doesn’t mean that your holiday sales have to be. Here are some strategies to make the 2010 holiday season one of the most profitable for your business.

As a specialty retailer you know success in the business is more than about picking good product and hoping the customers will bite. Especially this year, your success depends on going the extra mile—in terms of promotions, pricing, upselling and customer service—to make sure your sales goals are met.

To figure out when to staff appropriately, when to expect peak sales and when to phase down inventory, it is important to take a look at past years’ statistics so you can plan wisely for this year.

Holiday Sales Stats

As is evident from the graphs published by the National Retail Federation, holiday sales numbers took a sharp dip in 2008. By most estimates the 2009 numbers showed some kind of recovery. It remains to be seen what the sales numbers will look like this year.

When to shift into high gear

According to the latest data published by the NRF, a significant percentage—38.6%—of consumers started their holiday shopping in November. Even more interesting are the numbers at the opposite ends of the spectrum: 13.4% of consumers started holiday shopping before September while only 4% waited until the last two weeks of December.

It is probably an indication of how the December season has systematically pushed up earlier every year and it’s something to keep in mind as you plan your holiday sales and promotions.

Black Friday

Despite the fluctuations shown in the chart, Black Friday continues to dominate the holiday shopping season. Planning for inventory and staffing to be prepared for this rush is a smart idea.

Poornima Apte

Poornima Apte is the managing editor for GIFT SHOP, GREENRetailer and Specialty Retail Report magazines. She oversees and executes all editorial processes and is responsible for delivering editorial content for both magazines. To implement the magazines' editorial missions, Apte works with an extensive team of writers and photographers from across the country. She is also responsible for certain online deliverables including editorial content that complements the print edition of both magazines.

Prior to joining Pinnacle Publishing Group in 2006, Apte was Editor-in-Chief for INDIA New England, a bimonthly publication catering to the South Asian community in New England. In her role for the company, she oversaw an extensive editorial lineup featuring a wide variety of news reports and features. Apte first joined the newspaper as a general assignment reporter. Her reporting, specifically on a series of stories about Indian immigrants returning to their home country in the wake of India's economic boom, earned her a national award from the South Asian Journalists' Association at their 2005 convention held at Columbia University's School of Journalism.

Formally trained as an engineer, Apte made a gradual switch to journalism after a stint in technical writing at Abaqus, Inc. Apte enjoys reading and reviews contemporary literary fiction for in her spare time.

Apte earned an M.S. in Energy and Environmental Studies from Boston University and an M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, IL.

Apte welcomes reader input. Please email her at

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