The Store Room: How did Halloween 2010 compare with sales from 2009?
Our monthly column is devoted to what works and what doesn't - for our readers, from our readers
"How did your Halloween sales for 2010 compare with your sales from 2009?
Party Time/Turner Rental
Better than last year, a very good increase. We used different forms of advertising -radio, TV, coupons, dress-up costumes in front of the store and custom decor inside the store.
I always freak out one week before Halloween, Will it be a bust or will we make our 10 percent increase projection? Our dreams came true, but it was a total nightmare! The customers were rude, demanded discounts because, "I'm only wearing it one night" and shredded our store.
We did have the wonderful ones that really brought the best of what Halloween can be and would say, "This is my favorite holiday." As far as our return help goes, they said the same thing and wondered if they would come back next year. Are we the only ones that seem to have experienced this new wave of demanding, rude and snide commenting customer?
In my 23 years of business, we did more balloons at PartyWorks this year than ever before. I'm not sure why, but even after a price increase that I labored heavily over, we kept on selling balloons. Our make-up and wig sales were down considerably, which was a surprise, and we don't carry costumes.
Also, our telephone did not ring near as much during October this year, which was perplexing. We usually get at least a dozen calls a day asking if we carry costumes. But overall, October was great due to the balloon sales, and all those balloon sales kept us hopping. It sure is confusing how that pendulum swings!
Darin and Nancy Tiep
Party Land WLA
Santa Monica, Calif.
While this is our fourth Halloween and third in the recession period, sales have always climbed from year to year despite the economy-except this year. They fell like a bungee jumper off a cliff.
Usually there is a slow ramp up from the middle of September to the last week in October. With Halloween on a Sunday, we honestly had no idea what to expect. The fact that Sunday is usually the slowest day of the week during the rest of the year concerned us, but we still felt that it was the weekend and we should be prepared for at least typical Halloween day sales. It was not to be. We sent the employees home at 1p.m. While it was certainly better than a normal Sunday, it was no more than 20 percent of last years Halloween Day. Overall our sales were off a good 40 percent.
Roy's Costumes & Formal Wear
We had a third competitor this year, but our sales remained the same as 2009.
Heavenly Choice Events
We worked hard and cleaned out obsolete merchandise at low prices and were lean and focused, only running about 10 percent behind due mostly to weather.
Many customers were recycling old costumes or trying to put ideas together, so my staff was trained and ready to sell accessories. The small add-ons really added up and played an important role in our successful Halloween. My buying plan for 2011 is completed and is "back to basics." We bought no sexy costumes because that is now standard year round inventory.