Marks & Spencer, Next and even Waitrose reported turndowns in trade, with M&S reporting a 5% drop for the 13 weeks over the festive period.
Much has been laid at the door of the unseasonably warm autumn weather keeping consumers from refreshing their wardrobe.
However, analysts point to other high street chains, such as Zara, H&M, Primark and Jigsaw, increasing sales over the period.
This has been attributed to reading their consumers correctly and good stock levels with quick turnover, so there is always something new to be bought. And, of course, great service. Jigsaw, with their tagline ‘For life, not landfill’ mirrored the tagline used by many hospice retailers ‘donate don’t dump’.
So what can hospice retail learn from the high street?
The first is stock availability, if you have not got it you cannot sell it – as Next publicly admitted. So keeping the rails interesting is vital.
Secondly, keep an eye on trends; shop managers do not have to subscribe to Vogue but this time of year all the women’s magazines are starting to fill with spring fashion so start looking now for inspiration.
Jigsaw has turned it’s fortunes around by creating a womenswear range with great fabrics and interesting colourways. There is enough grey in the rainclouds without replicating it in your shop so create a bright and welcoming environment to tempt customers in.
John Lewis sales for the Christmas period rose 7%, with a 31% rise in purchases by phone or tablet. While few could aspire to an e-commerce business on the scale of John Lewis, by using Instagram, Twitter and Facebook you can drive business into your stores.
Where can you learn more about these topics?
The Hospice UK Retail Conference on 19 April provides the opportunity to learn about using digital media, the art of silent selling, pop up shops and attracting young volunteers, among other discussion points.
Booking is open now on Hospice UK’s website, so to avoid the mistakes of some of the high street giants and book today!