Does that seem like a strange question? Obviously, you are steering your store by planning the displays, doing the promotion, training the sales personnel, buying the merchandise and doing way too many things to list. But does all of that keep you on course to arrive at your desired destination? And what is that destination anyway?
All of the things you do to “run” your store are an attempt to steer your store, but they only keep your store shiny. Yes, it looks great. The displays are attractive, customers are coming in, being serviced and sales are good. So, what’s the problem?
Your store is a money machine, or it should be. Everything that happens is intended to make money. But at the end of the day, or month, or year, are you really getting ahead? Is your cash flow positive and growing? I’m not talking about just sales because you also have to pay bills – invoices and overhead. So, are your profits in the bank or depreciating in inventory?
Your bottom line is directly tied to your buying. It’s not enough to buy great items, you must also buy the right quantities. And that’s easier said than done. Your buying must be controlled by an open to buy plan that considers anticipated sales and desired turn rates to develop ideal inventories and a solid buying plan.
Once you commit to working with open to buy planning, you must have a way to review your sales, beginning inventory, and turnover for the month completed against your projections to see if you’re moving ahead or slipping behind. If either of these cases exist, you must make revisions to your plan so if your sales are growing, you will have additional inventory to support them and if your sales are declining, you will have reduced inventory so you will still meet your sales and achieve your desired turn rates. Turnover is the key to making money in retail.
Making revisions each month based on your analysis of actual and projected figures is exactly how you steer your store. If you regularly make these course corrections, you are assured of reaching your desired destination.