Monday, July 26, 2010

Top Selling Periods for Franchised Businesses

A business with consistent sales throughout the year is, more often than not, a more stable operation than one that relies on a couple of key months for the bulk of their profits. Consistent sales make it easier to plan, staff and budget. Costs are frequently lower and profit margins may be higher, partially due to reduced discounting. Nevertheless, certain times of the year remain important selling periods. These annual events represent periods when the consumer is more likely to purchase certain products or services. A prudent business operation needs to cater to these patterns. FranchiseFacts’ National Franchisee Survey has taken the first step at measuring the impact of key selling periods by asking survey respondents to identify those major holidays and events that have a positive impact on their business.

Major media reports sales revenues for large retail chains and, from this, we have come to understand the importance of the Thanksgiving to Christmas period to these larger retailers. For other businesses, however, this same period often represents a dramatic slowdown in sales.

Survey respondents are presented with a list of holidays and major events, and asked to select those items in the list which have a noticeable positive impact on their business. This list includes major sports and holidays, plus key spending periods such as weddings, moving and back to school.

Respondents report Christmas (18%) as being THE most important sales period, followed by Valentines Day (13%) and Mothers Day (13%). While these top sales periods may not come as a surprise to many, what we find surprising is that so few of the respondents identified these periods as having a positive impact on their business.

A second tier of important sales periods includes Easter (9%), Back to School (9%), Weddings (8%), Moving/Relocation (5%) and Halloween (5%).

The bottom tier of important sales periods includes major sports, Thanksgiving and Fathers Day which all received fewer than 5% of responses.

These percentages are likely to vary by industry, region of the country and also specific local events. A region hosting the NFL’s Super Bowl, for example, is likely to see a significant influx of visitors and spending in many sectors of the local economy. Likewise, homeowners in New England are more likely to decorate their homes and host parties for Halloween, making this holiday more important to sectors of their local economy. Businesses providing products to support Halloween events (parties, food, costumes, decorations, etc.) are likely to transact a much greater portion of their business during this period.

While Christmas does represent an important selling period for many in franchising, this group represents less than 20% of responses to this question. Perhaps the franchising industry, which is primarily comprised of small businesses, have a more balanced business model where revenues are more evenly spread out throughout the year. Alternatively, it may simply be that major holidays and events are less important to businesses than in prior years.

Perry Shoom, FranchiseFacts
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