Wednesday, December 24, 2008

So, How's It Going?

I'm a big fan of bullet points when I'm only partially coherent from exhaustion. Some observations from the holiday retail trenches.

  • How bad are sales? Despite endless reports of how people are giving belly button lint for the holidays, our sales are up. They're up about 15%, which includes our best sales day ever (yesterday), our second best day (the day before) and our fourth best day (Saturday).
  • Yeah, but you're uniquely positioned. I'm hearing through the grapevine that other Bay Area game stores are seeing similarly good results with record sales. Last Saturday was the best sales day ever for at least three of us.
  • People are using a lot of cash. I wish! Credit cards are being used in the usual depressing ratio, and in the same proportions. For a while I thought Amex and Discover were being used more, but it's proportionally the same.
  • Layaway sales are the new trend. We had one person talk about this, and we learned how to do it with the POS system, but it hasn't happened yet. The whole concept is alien to me. Buy a piggy bank (we sell those too).
  • The percentage of credit card declines are way up. Nope. While I've been at the register this month, I've had it happen once.
  • Parents are cutting back on toys. This is true for us. Despite a perpetual sale on toys, people are not buying them. They're instead buying more educational items like puzzles and learning tools. Puzzle sales are double last years; toys are half.
  • People play more family games during a recession. The clear, undisputed heavyweight champ of the holiday season is board games. The Chronicle article certainly helped a lot with this. Our board game sales are twice what they were last year. There are some irreversibly bad economic changes that have occurred this year, but wouldn't it be great if hobby games came out as a long term winner? My sincere hope is that the hundreds of board games we sold this season connect with those who receive them.


  1. Based purely on personal anecdotal evidence, during poor economic times parents tend to think a bit less about spoiling the kids today and a bit more about making sure the kids have a better tomorrow. That means fewer 'regular' toys, and more gifts that promise to encourage creativity and critical thinking.

    That means fewer dolls and action figures and more puzzles and games. I'd be curious to know how places like the Discover Channel stores are doing this Christmas season, as I suspect they are seeing numbers similar to what you're seeing.

  2. Are there any Discover Channel stores left? I thought the whole chain went under years ago.

    As to board games, they are, by far, the best entertainment dollar investment. Hopefully, with BDG's large runup in new customers, at least a few are converted over to purchase more from BDG.

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  4. I don't know about the Discovery Channel stores in particular, but I know there are still places that serve a similar niche.

  5. Rock on Black Diamond Games. May you continue to do well in the New Year (and stock more traditional wargames too).

  6. What kind of war games do you want us to carry? We didn't sell a single one this season, other than A&A.

  7. We did sell that one "Awakening the Bear" or whatever (that I will have you special order for me at some point) right after Thanksgiving, during the wargames minicon...

  8. We did sell that one "Awakening the Bear" or whatever (that I will have you special order for me at some point) right after Thanksgiving, during the wargames minicon...