Holiday Planning

Q: How should I plan sales this holiday season? I’m reading the news but getting mixed predictions. A: Here at Blacks, we expect holiday sales to be up in the single digits over last year. You’ll probably see a steady build up to the season, with strength in sweaters, soft coats and outerwear for men. […]

Will the Growth Last?

Q: We’ve had a strong August and September but I’m wondering, is the current growth sustainable, or do we still face a bumpy end to the economic recovery? A: The current growth is sustainable, if you can keep your level of productivity and profits up, bumps or not. The way to do this is by […]

Promotions for Fall

Q: What kind of promotions should I be planning for fall to keep my sales up? A: Concentrate on brand-building promotions, such as customer loyalty programs, online contests, and other interactive promotions. Remember, customers need to be engaged with promotions, not discounts. Promotions marry marketing with incentives, instead of just giving products away; they reward […]

Stock Market Slide

Q: The stock market has been sliding in recent weeks and everyone is talking about an economic double-dip. Are you seeing the same slowdown in retail stores? A: We are seeing a slight slowing, but it has nothing to do with the economy. What we are seeing is actually the normal summer pattern of less […]

Growth in the Online Sector

Q: Are you seeing a difference in how online retailers are performing vs. traditional retailers? Who’s performing better and why? Does it depend on the market segment? A: It does depend on market segments, but the trend of online retailers outpacing brick-and-mortar retailers is continuing. Online retailers tend to perform better because they are operating […]

Will June’s Momentum Continue?

Q: June sales came in higher than predicted. Do you expect the sales momentum to last through August due to pent-up demand? A: We will probably run even through July and August. However, there is the potential for an upturn at the end of August, as new merchandise lands. So far this season, sell-through on […]

Changing the Mix

Q: Would this be a good time to add or change categories to attract new customers? A: Sure. We know that there are certain trends in the marketplace, and in this recovery newness is the name of the game. We expect the recovery to last about three years, so if you can grab onto these […]

Planning the Second Half of the Year

Q: Considering this is retail comeback year, how should I plan my sales for Q3 and Q4—higher than usual or flat? A: You’ll want to plan your sales based on when you started recovering from the fall-off in 2008. A year after the initial slowdown, we know that business began to pickup. In the first […]

Timing Your First Markdowns

Q: As we head further into the spring season, when should I be taking my first markdowns? Last year, when the economy was worse, I took markdowns much earlier than usual. Should I be moving up my promotional schedule this year as well? A: We’re expecting major retailers to lead with markdowns in mid-May. Independent […]

Taking Advantage of Sales Momentum

Q: Business has picked up for me over the last couple of weeks. How can I take advantage of the sales momentum? A: To take advantage of the momentum, focus on flowing new goods and promoting those goods to your key customer base to keep them coming back. Also, keep your store looking fresh and […]