Call it Rathodics, Rathodology, Rathod-gineering, or Rathodistry; chances are high that you will find lot of useless things on this blog. Nevertheless, I thank you for visiting my blogsite, and hope you spend sometime reading the blogs and commenting on them. Further, you can visit me at http://www.unm.edu/~srathod

Friday, October 15, 2004

Bellwethers of the retail season...

I came across an interesting article, Thinking Outside the Box to Forecast Holiday Sales, which mentions how sales forecasters use innovative ways to do their job during the holiday season, i.e. forecast sales. The traditional way involved chatting with store clerks, counting customers with shopping bags, and asking shoppers themselves. However, considering that the holiday spending accounts for one-fourth of annual retail sales, some people do think out of the box to forecast sales. Here are a few novel, and in some cases, time-tested with very impressive track record, methods of predicting the sales.

- Counting number of parents who line up in stores to get a picture taken of their child with Santa Claus. If the lines for the photos are long, mall foot traffic is high.

- Sales figures of imaging companies who take photographs of kids with Santa Claus.

- Tracking sales at Christmas tree lots or hardware chains like Lowe's Cos., etc. If the treese sell off quickly, analysts assume early consumer confidence.

- Tracking gift wrap sales; retailers order gift wrapping paper in proportion to the sales they expect as shoppers buy it later in the season to wrap their gifts

- Tracking sales of corrugated board to see if retailers are beefing up their inventories for expected sales

- Tracking the first frost that hits; in a period of inflated energy prices, consumers have less money to spare if they have to turn on their furnaces sooner


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