It's time again to predict fourth quarter. Predicting sales is always tricky for our business, this year especially so. I can read all of the info out there, everything from the National Retail Federation which is predicting a 1 percent total sales decline for November and December, to Deloitte LLP predicting flat sales. I can crunch the numbers for our last five years at the mall, and factor in this years's sales trend, but what I really need is a crystal ball. A fortune teller, perhaps a tarot card reading?(image found on Wikipedia-isn't it great? John William Waterhouse-The Crystal Ball)
So many things play in to sales, how much advertising you do, what people are willing to spend, and what the weather is like on the day they decide to visit the Mall of America. Will they go with a practical gift, like a sweater? Will they settle on a Best Buy gift card, as they aren't really sure what the person might want? Or will they see our (soon-to-be) fabulous TV commerical and think "Now THAT is the perfect gift."
We are working on our TV commercial right now, Mike has been busy practicing with the new camera, as this year's ad will need to be filmed in HD. We pride ourselves on doing most things on our own, without hiring ad agencies or filmmakers or voice over talent. More economical, and definitely more fun. We are designing the post card we will be sending out to those people who have bought from us on the internet, or have signed up to be on our mailing list at the store. We are figuring out our ad budget, and where we want to advertise this year. We are figuring out the merchandise mix we will offer to our guests, and try to predict what they will want to buy to go along with those gift cards. We are reviewing our staffing needs, and giving the simulators a maintenance check to make sure they are ready for all of that post-holiday flying. Most importantly? Making sure all of our employees get a flu shot, so they can stay healthy for what will hopefully be the 'holiday rush'.
So many decisions, critical decisions, and not a crystal ball in sight. How about you, my dear readers? Throw your two cents into the mix, we welcome any and all predictions.