Saturday, December 29, 2012

Saturday Gift Post--Restocking Plush, Puzzles, Toys.

Buying gift after Christmas is somewhat similar to restocking books. Since our sales go down quite a bit from high season, you've got to get the inventory down too. But what to keep and what to let go until next fall, that is the question. Certain categories take care of themselves--boxed Christmas cards, ornaments, calendars. And it's not like our sales go away. We still do about 40% of December's sales, on average.

One reason to delay restocking is inventory, which this year is scheduled for January 13. You don't want to have to count a whole bunch of stuff which is not likely to sell in then next two weeks. Another reason is that most gift vendors release new product in January. We've already gotten lots of new catalogs in the mail, but for folks you haven't yet seen, but for those we haven't, we want to make the best decision we can on inventory, based on fully knowing what's available.

To make the case for restocking, there's nothing worse than mostly empty racks. When I go to stores with rack issues, I wish I could go to the staff and say to some stores I've visited, take the rack down and remerchandise the inventory. So that's why we've got a fresh order of jigsaw puzzles coming. I don' have the heart to take down our designated puzzle display space, and it's my feeling that a nice jigsaw puzzle (most of which are under $20) is just the right thing for the winter blahs, particularly if you feel that you've been glued to a computer screen for two long. More details when our new shipment arrives.

We wound up getting some puzzles and plush on December 24 and while we did not sell much, at least several wound up becoming gifts for a sick child who needed an extra dose of holiday cheer. We wound up also bringing in the Olivia plush, after a long absence from Boswell (actually, we hadn't ever had her yet--she'd been stocked at the Downer Schwartz). She seems happy to be here.

And a toy ordered just after Christmas too, with a dating incentive. We were able to restock what now have turned out to be staples, magic wands and wooden snakes. I've been told that the new wands, which also have metallic beads in them, are particularly nice. And we've got a new assort of Zoomsters friction vehicles. The mini locomotives have what I call "dynamic choo choo" action.

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