Here's the current mood for 2022, as if its going to last:
We stretched in every way possible to get stock for the 2021 holidays. At our height, we had $70,000 of extra stock, at cost, in hopes of not missing what was likely to be amazing sales and a dark Q1. This was possible through copious amounts of government money and confidence whatever we bought would sell eventually. Inventory is opportunity cost, but if you're sitting on a pile of money that doesn't have to be entirely paid back for 30 years, what's an extra six months of overstock?
We did indeed have a great holiday season. December was our best month ever. Q4 was our best quarter, beating out Q3 and Q2, which used to hold that record until each were shattered with astonishing sales performance. Even another store break in, two for 2021 (three since 2004), wasn't enough to crush the spirit. Sales into 2022 have continued to be strong as our store is now different than before, with every perceivable product demand met and, of course, that pesky overstock. The quantity right now is $25,000.
Overstock, in our case, is money we would like back. Overstock is normally extra stuff you don't need. That's not the case here. I run reports and there's nothing to get rid of. Turns are strong, GMROI says keep spending. There's actually very little stock we don't want. In a sense, the store has told us that $25K is not mine, but is rather in the stomach of the beast. It has no intention of barfing it back up. If I want it back, I'm cutting away muscle, not fat. The store dares me to come at it. It flexes.
This is a good thing! This is money well spent. Except I want my $25K. The result is a somewhat return to normal for the store. I'm no longer chasing product. I'm stocking leaner. I probably won't get that $25K back any time soon, it's there for the taking, over time, if I use my retail fundamentals.
I am dissatisfied with a lot of people right now. I am coming out of my COVID crisis haze, despite it still going on, and wanting to make changes to who I do business with. I'm tired of excuses. Some of you have sucked for too long and I'm not having it. The money has become mine once again, not the governments, which means I take things more personally. I'm getting hungry and that's good. There's far too much slack.
In December, I made a list of the eight things I wanted to buy with holiday profits. Some of them were store related and some were personal, like a fully funded IRA or a trailer down payment. In the end, my focus narrowed to one objective: pay back the EIDL loan. That money is now "sequestered" in a separate account, the full amount of the loan. The goal is to live lean on what's left, maybe even pay taxes without a dip into the EIDL pot. None of my personal objectives can happen with that loan over my head.
I won't pay off the loan quite yet, because honestly, we have COVID crisis points more now than ever. I've never been closer to closing my store down for a week or more than I was last month, with a staff COVID outbreak. Staffing is lean, and it only takes a couple minor infections to take out both shifts, and when I had a COVID scare at home, that would have left me out of commission, as the sole backup. I am a bit tired of it all, and yes, I know COVID isn't done with us yet. It's just hard sitting on a rainy day fund that costs me hundreds of dollars a month when the skies are so blue.