November 24, 2018

Loveland stores like the holidays (Reporter-Herald) »

Every holiday shopping season, the retail world delivers some new trends, such as Black Friday creeping into Thanksgiving, and a perennial favorite, “shop till you drop.”

New this year is a national small-business software company’s study revealing the best revenue days of the year for small, independent retailers in each state.

Hint: No. 1 isn’t Black Friday. Or Small Business Saturday.

According to Womply, which looked at revenue, transaction numbers and purchase prices at 54,000 small retailers across the country for each day of 2017, the Friday before Christmas was the best sales day of the year in Colorado, with revenue pouring in at 124 percent over the average day.

Womply’s report was chock-full of Colorado statistics from 2017, including:

• Black Friday was the seventh-best revenue day of the year, with sales 65 percent higher than average.

• Small Business Saturday came in at No. 24, with revenue 34 percent higher than average.

• All top five days and top three weeks fall during the holiday season, from Thanksgiving to Christmas.

Insight from Loveland

The owner and a manager of a couple of locally owned stores in Loveland offered their own take on Womply’s findings, agreeing with some and not so much with others.

Don Pierson, who is heading into his eighth Christmas season at Dickens Alley, a shop selling antiques, art and rare books at 238 E. Fourth St., said he doesn’t keep track of how his store performs on specific days.

But he agreed that sales right before Christmas typically are good.

And as for the big weekend coming up, “I would think that Small Business Saturday is better for me. I tend to think that Black Friday is the day they go to bigger retailers and the mall, where they have bigger sales.”

Pierson said his revenue has been up and down over the past few years, but slowly improving, and he holds out hope that downtown Loveland’s revitalization, specifically The Foundry project, will be a boon.

“I’m looking forward to things getting a lot better here, especially with the new development behind me, The Foundry,” he said.

At Orchards Ace Hardware, 2 miles north of downtown, the holiday season always is a good time, according to store manager Craig Muscarella. But he added that Ace bucks the trend identified by Womply in that summertime brings in the store’s best sales, rather than the Christmas season.

The weekend after Thanksgiving last year was all-around great, though.

“Black Friday was great, the weekend was great, Small Business Saturday was great. Everything was positive,” he said, adding that Ace has been seeing steady increases year-round in the five years he has worked at the locally owned store.

Weekend specials

Although Ace doesn’t change its hours during the holiday season, it does always send out big Black Friday circulars and special coupons for Friday and Saturday, as well as for the day before Thanksgiving.

Muscarella explained Wednesday, as he took a few minutes away from a very busy sales day, that the store has been emphasizing helping customers prepare their turkeys, with special rubs and equipment for grilling and smoking the bird from its 1-year-old specialty grill shop.

Here are some other tidbits from Womply’s research:

• The best week for sales in Colorado was Dec. 17-23.

• Cyber Monday was a bust in Colorado. It was the 224th best revenue day of the year, with revenue 4 percent below average.

• On the average day in 2017, Colorado’s small local retailers had revenue of $1,376 and 11.3 transactions, putting the state right in the middle of the pack nationwide at No. 25.

• For whatever reason, Thanksgiving Day was the very worst day of the year for the state’s independent retailers, which brought in an average of $247.98 on a day when everyone might have preferred staying home with the turkey and the family. Even Christmas Day ranked better, at No. 363 and $453.97 in average sales.

Small Business Saturday

The Saturday after Thanksgiving has taken on more meaning for small retailers nationwide in the eight years since American Express created a day to emphasize shopping locally, “to help small businesses get more exposure during one of the biggest shopping weekends of the year.”

With the belief that big-box stores and the shopping centers got all the love on Black Friday, the supporters of Small Business Saturday encouraged shop owners to emphasize their own unique offerings and to band together with neighboring stores to offer special promotions on Saturday.

The Womply study reveals that, at least in Colorado last year, Small Business Saturday wasn’t the biggest sales day of the year, but it was an above-average revenue producer.

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