I did my Christmas stocking early this year. Part of this was fear that my suppliers would keep inventories low, which is turning out to be unfounded. I was also concerned customers would start shopping earlier, which seems to be happening this season. There is a fear that stores will run out of stock, which is likely in many places, but the game trade seems mostly healthy. I have faith that we'll do well this season and I wanted the shopping out of the way. So now I have that feeling of indigestion as my inventory budget is completely blown and holiday sales are still about a month away.
I mostly stocked up on board games. Other departments see sales increases of around 50% during the holidays, while we'll often sell three times as many board games as a normal month. Those departments are already stocked well and can take advantage of our just-in-time ordering. We're not one of those stores that does half their business during the holiday season, it's more like a nice jump of around 50%. Still, it's where most of the profit for the year is derived, and sins forgiven.
Next year I'll likely have a more hard nosed approach to purchasing. I listened to a great GAMA trade show podcast on purchasing the other night and realized I should hold myself to my own purchasing standards. I often ignore my budget in favor of making customers happy. This is a common owner pitfall, where the owner bypasses all those great policies and procedures he makes the employees follow. Just ask my guys. However, in the case of purchasing, I'm realizing this desire to please is at the expense of the bottom line, and I've identified it as the main enemy of profitability. I would probably fire myself if I were me.