WILL THE UPWARD TREND OF SALES GAINS CONTINUE?
Q: I understand many stores had significant gains in February. Will this upward trend continue?
Steve Pruitt: Unfortunately, we are not predicting real growth for the season. Stores did see gains last month, but mostly because sales last February were pretty poor, due to severe winter weather. So, we may see more gains in March because of the year-over-year comparison, but we expect sales to slow after that.
I know this doesn’t come as great news. Just remember that we are at the end of a long growth cycle and the slowdown is normal and predictable. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t stay positive for the seasons ahead. Stay on top of your planning and marketing, and keep a close eye on your sell-through rates. Make sure that the momentum doesn’t fall off, leaving you with extra inventory at the end of the season. If you do see your sell-through rates going down, make sure to implement small, incremental markdowns that can bring shoppers back to your store.
This is the part of the retail cycle where being extremely careful with your planning can make a big difference. If you navigate the slowdown gracefully, you should be in a strong position to take advantage of the sales rebound that is sure to come.
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