Historically, autumn has been a tough trading period for us, so in one of our regular management team meetings I decided to lay down the gauntlet for Halloween and Bonfire Night.
All year I’ve been reading, and hearing, about how Halloween is now the second biggest confectionery sales event outside of Christmas. Now, I can’t corroborate this statistic, but it does seem to be widely accepted as true.
As a result, we reviewed our pre-orders on Halloween stock and let’s just say that in Hassocks, Halloween 2012 was certainly not shaping up to be the second biggest confectionery event. Actually, it was far from it when compared with Easter.
So with my array of ‘statistics’ I preached to the management team about how woeful Halloween was going to be in our store if we didn’t do something about it, and decided to increase orders significantly. We also decided to bring our Halloween store set-up forward to early September and increase our non-food ranges further than we had ever dared before.
Fast forward to now and I’m thrilled to say that we have been pleasantly surprised – and relieved – by our seasonal trading. We have seen a big uplift in confectionery sales, with September itself being 12% up on last year. In part, this is driven by £5 tins, but the sheer volume of Halloween confectionery we have sold has surprised everyone, to the point that I have made a couple of expeditions to local cash and carries to try to source more. What has been interesting, but also worrying, is that many were carrying just two or three main lines at best. Where is their commitment to the second biggest confectionery event of the year? Certainly, in the past two weeks the multiples have suddenly come alive to Halloween.
I have sold a lot of stock and could have sold lots more of certain lines, but availability has become sparse. It still feels like Halloween is a tertiary event on the sales calendar in our sector, which I truly believe we could all be well positioned to take advantage of – if those statistics stack up, of course.