How to survive the post-holiday sales slump

While the Christmas sales period is often chaotic and busy, the post-holiday season lull can create an issue for unprepared retailers, according to data from credit firm Atradius.

“The Christmas period can be difficult for retailers and other consumer-facing businesses as they experience a peak in sales during the Christmas season before a subsequent lull,” Atradius Oceania managing director Mark Hoppe said.

“The sudden decrease in demand for products and services in January can have a significant impact on many business’ cash flow, including, for some, an inability to continue operating.”

The research goes on to point out that retailers can attempt to counter the lull period by taking a few key steps, such as by ensuring that staff are properly trained and are serving each customer that enters the store efficiently.

While many franchise businesses, particularly in the food retailing space have benefitted from a massive Christmas period that saw Aussies spend an estimated $21bn, the downturn in consumer demand is expected to play a significant role.

The January trading period is traditionally regarded as a lull-time for businesses in the service and retail sectors, but for those in the health and fitness industry, now is the perfect time to initiate resolution-based campaigns.

Genesis Fitness launched its New Year’s Resolution campaign last week, along with Fitness First, which unveiled its Fitness Week campaign, slated for January 7 to 13, capitalising on the expected increase in interest for gym models.

Service-based businesses that offer timely and approachable offers for the new year have an opportunity to develop new clientele and attract additional customers before the bulk of Australians return to work.

How retailers however, the post-Christmas period is a good time to cut back on advertising spend, as a steady stream of customers will be entering the store regardless to return unwanted gifts as well as spending gift cards received.

“By putting smart strategies in place early to minimise the sales slump after Christmas, retailers can potentially protect their cash flow and ensure their longevity,” Hoppe said.

“It’s important for retailers to read the market and know their customers so they can put the right strategies in place for their business.”

Additional reporting: Dean Blake