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Get Your Shop On

Have you been getting your “shop” on yet? Many Canadians are already hitting the malls to begin their holiday shopping. Of course, so many others haven’t even thought about it yet. Retailers will want to take note, however, that since we’re entering into the busiest shopping season of the year, it’s important to know what’s hot!

According to an article by Dana Flavelle in today’s The Toronto Star, “the good old-fashioned sweater” may be the most popular item on the list of consumers this holiday season. In fact, the tried-and-true sweater is expected to overtake the always-safe gift card as a top seller this year.

“It’s not a very splashy item,” said analyst John Morris, who tracks sales at specialty clothing retailers like the Gap, J Crew and American Eagle, “but consumers are saying gift cards are falling in favour a bit this year. They’re shifting back to more traditional gifts, especially accessories, jewellery and sweaters.”

Flavelle notes that many of the most popular toys and clothing styles may be out of stock by the middle of November, the way shopping trends are going. Many retailers are using discounts among other promotional tactics to attract customers into their stores. And why not? As we’ve mentioned in previous blogs, it is certainly the time of year for business owners to consider ways to outdo their competitors.

At this time of year, our funding specialists heavily recommend that our clients use their merchant cash advances to buy new inventory. There’s nothing worse than running out of items to sell when customers are clamoring to get into your store to buy them. Making the most out of the season often starts with being well-stocked.

BMO toy analyst, Gerrick Johnson strongly recommends that parents get out early for toy shopping this year. “Retailers are light on inventory. We’re seeing sell outs on certain items,” he said, “I’m fairly sure you won’t see the $50 Nerf Blaster, which is $35 off, by mid-December and you’ll have to pay the Ebay price or the manufacturer’s suggested retail price.”

Last year, apparently, toy makers lost out on sales because re-orders were taking too long to fill. Most toys are made in China, Johnson reminds us, so getting your inventory stocked before the rush will be a key component to cashing in this holiday shopping season. He expects toy sales to increase by 3 per cent this year.

Parents, here’s a hint. Among the most popular toys this year are “Squinkies, Zoobles, Monster High dolls, Disney’s Chuggington train, Bey Blades and Dance Star Mickey.” And to all consumers, here’s another tip. Be on the lookout “flash sales” or “secret sales” where retailers offer their best prices for a few hours or just to select customers. Happy holiday shopping!

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