Holiday Cheering From The Sales Floor

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There are now only a handful of days before the Christmas holiday itself takes place, and one can sense the tension in the air. However, this year it feels a bit different than the last.

During this time last year, the mood was not so gleeful. Many companies were coming off the COVID rebound highs of 2021 and realizing they had inventory issues and other things to fix in their supply chains. Suppliers had orders cancelled, and the bullwhip effect of the COVID shutdown was still rippling through the retail industry.

This year, the mood has been different. While we have had a series of ups and downs leading into the holiday period, like a surprising October, the consumer came charging back during the critical post-Thanksgiving day promotions.

Due to the holiday placement and retail accounting calendar, the industry also benefits from additional selling days between Thanksgiving and Christmas, marking one of the longest periods between holidays since prior to COVID. The old retail adage used to be, 'a day in December is equal to the month of January' – a pretty big benefit to have a few more of those days.

Yesterday, at a London department store I happened to be in, a retail salesperson said to their manager, 'This is crazy; we are selling out of nearly everything.'

The final tally has yet to be counted, but the mood on the selling floors seems quite gleeful. This, along with most data, has been suggesting a positive year. We will soon find out as we learn what returns and exchanges look like in January and as final inventory counts are taken.

One must admit, given the very gloomy initial outlook most had about 2023, many may look back and think, 'Not a bad year after all.' Here’s to a wonderful and exciting 2024.


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