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Get Your Inventory in Control Ahead of the Christmas Rush!

It has been forecast UK retailers are set to enjoy their best growth in Christmas sales since the financial crisis in 2008. Retail spending in the UK will reach £40bn for the first time in December, which is up 3.5 per cent on December last year. This is great news for retailers, but could also be disastrous if not managed properly internally. The potential increase in sales can cause havoc on stock levels, especially when trying to predict purchasing habits and managing budgets. If one gets it wrong, empty shelves of fast-selling items and rows full of unpopular items leave retailers extremely frustrated and more worryingly, it could actually make or break them. Inventory stock control retailInventory control is tricky to manage at any time of the year, but during the build up to Christmas, it is extremely important to be prepared and get it right. If you have too much stock left over in the New Year or too much of a particular product, then your bottom line will ultimately be affected. Having all the necessary stock and ensuring your suppliers, shipping procedures and marketing initiatives on the run up to Christmas are all set up and ready are just a few factors to consider. Let alone the additional stock management challenges you will face with the increased volume of stock to see you through to the New Year. In order to keep on top of it all and to help you through the busiest time of year, here are some of our inventory top tips. Look at sales in previous year’s - Consumers tend to splash out on the run up to Christmas, which makes inventory planning extremely hard as you have to decide which items you believe will be most popular. By studying past sales in the run up to Christmas in previous years, you can try and find similarities, which will help you to predict what might happen.  Whilst bearing in mind other people’s tastes and financial situations, managing your stock based on past years’ trends can certainly help. Produce a Christmas sales forecast – If your business profits most from Christmas, then producing a sales forecast is a necessity. It sets the standard for expenses, profits and growth. It does not have to be perfect, but just make it a reasonable educated guess. It has been shown that businesses with a written sales forecast are more likely to achieve it than those without; it’s the backbone to your business plan. Stay on top of your inventory – As you get into the run up to Christmas, pay close attention to those items that are proving most popular and profitable compared to those that are not. Your inventory needs to be adjusted accordingly and you need to stay on top of this to ensure all profits are maximised. Ensure all of your stock is labelled correctly and clearly to help you to do this. Invest in a barcode inventory control system – If you do not currently use an inventory control system, then invest in one. A barcode inventory control system will help you to accurately keep track of stock levels, eliminate any stock tracking errors, and produce future sales forecasts, as well as improve overall customer service. The run up to Christmas is one of the most important times of year for retailers to save time and resources anywhere they can. Inventory control management systems (such as Wasp’s InventoryControl) will certainly help you do this. If you have read all of the above and can check each one off as already being achieved, then you should be all set to face the Christmas rush. The more accurate your Christmas sales forecast is and the more organised you are, the more successful you will be. Good luck!