Don’t let a Christmas hangover get you down – January is a great time for planning!

January is the traditional “doldrums” in the retail sector. Consumers have the financial hangover of Christmas to deal with. The whole of the high street have collapsed into a sale-frenzy, desperately trying to secure some custom whilst clearing out the Autumn/winter and seasonal stock. So, what can you do to make January a more positive and productive month?

Spring Clean your store! Clear the clutter, refresh the visual merchandising

January is a great time to really refresh the store. Try and look at your store from the perspective of your ideal customer. Tidy up, give it a good clean, do some general decoration if required – if sales are slow and you can find the time to do this it will really give the store environment a great boost to start the new year.

Next you need to clear out all the old stock – declutter – sell it in the store or via Amazon marketplace / eBay. If stock is not selling, just gathering dust, you’re as well to get as much cash back from it as you can to invest in better, more productive merchandise for the forthcoming season.

Finally, with everything looking pristine, it’s time to merchandise you new ranges, Spring Summer items, and prepare for the rest of the year.

New ranges, trade shows, and choosing the ideal products for your ideal customer.

January is also a great time to analyse past business performance and to plan ahead for the trade shows that typically run during February. When you visit trade shows you must always go prepared. Reflect on who you are buying for, their needs and wants, don’t get carried away buying items that YOU love unless you are typical of your ideal customer!

Using past business performance data plan how many items and of what type you need to source. Determine what price points you’ll ideally be retailing at and make sure you go to the shows with a checklist e.g. 10 items in the bedding category (not 15, not 5). If you want to retail the items for between £30 and £50 then make sure you’ve got your calculator so you can do a quick check that the supplier price would enable you do achieve your target margin / markup AND your target retail price.

Getting your range right BEFORE you buy stock means you’ll be far more likely to have less of an end-of-season clearance issue on your hands when the time comes, and as a result you’ll be much more profitable!

10-Steps to Retail Success

If you want to delve deeper into some of the ideas in this blog I’ve touched on several aspects of the 10-steps to retail success methodology – specifically:

  • Step 3: Ideal Customer
  • Step 4: Range Planning
  • Step 5: Pricing and promotions

To find out more about these you might want to sign up for the “Be a retail champion by next year” programme – which is 52 FREE weekly retail tips delivered directly to your inbox. You can do this via

About Clare Bailey

Clare Bailey, The Retail Champion (formerly Clare Rayner), is one of the most well-known and respected retail experts in the UK. With unrivalled knowledge in retail, high streets and consumer matters, she offers unbiased, independent content – whether engaged as a professional speaker, for broadcast media, or for a written feature. Clare is a business woman, entrepreneur and founder of several small businesses. Having been born into a family of successful business owners, it was inevitable that she’d eventually jump off the corporate treadmill and step out on her own! Today her brand portfolio includes The Retail Champion, The Retail Conference, the Future High Street Summit and the Support for Independent Retail campaign. In addition, she is co-founder of Mobaro Retail UK and a non-exec director of Beed Virtual Assistant Services. Having started her career as a fast-track store management trainee for McDonalds, she went on to work with leading retailers such as M&S, Dixons and Argos. She moved swiftly into management roles before being headhunted into senior consulting roles with global software giant SAP, and international management consulting brand, Accenture. Her corporate background in senior retail, consulting and technology roles, coupled with her experience of creating and running her own business, has enabled her to be equally capable whether consulting to global brands or micro businesses. This unique blend has not only positioned her as a leading expert in all things retail, but has enabled her to add meaningful commentary and insight to the debate around the future of the high street, and, how technology is driving fundamental change in the way consumers, and businesses, interact. Clare has become an influential voice in her field, which has resulted in her becoming a regular media contributor and sought-after conference speaker. Often seen on Good Morning Britain, BBC Breakfast, Sky News, and Chanel 5 (to name a few), Clare speaks on a myriad of retail, high street and consumer issues – but is particular adept when it comes to explaining the context behind retail trading results, newly released data, and government stats, in a palatable and informative manner. In addition to broadcast and conference speaking, Clare is the proud author of two best-selling business books published by Kogan Page - The Retail Champion: 10 Steps to Retail Success, published July 2012 and How to Sell to Retail: The Secrets of Getting Your Product to Market, published February 2013. She has provided contributions to various academic texts, including Retail Marketing Management (published by Pearson). With an engaging, conversational yet informative style, Clare writes for press and content agencies, providing features, articles, blogs and opinion pieces as well as contributions to white papers and reports. However, when the situation demands a more serious style, Clare can deliver - In 2016 she wrote an extensive report for a major insurance and risk law firm, as a retail expert witness, to support a public liability suit. She found that project particularly enjoyable as it played well to her strengths – assimilating large amounts of data and information, identifying the key points and articulating that in an understandable manner. When not on TV or speaking at conferences, Clare’s “day job” sees her supporting consumer-facing businesses through her consultancy services. When asked to describe what she most loves about retail consulting it is typically the opportunity to “dig deep”, getting “under the bonnet”, in order to leverage the business data to uncover the insights that lead to “lightbulb moments”. She also loves working on business change programmes that centre on improving the processes and systems to increase profitability by supporting more rapid, better informed decision making, improving the customer experience, or simply by become more efficient and streamlined. In this respect she considers herself a “business engineer” with a brain that works like a relational database! Due to her years of experience, her logical, objective approach, her quick, rational thinking, she is known for being able to cut through complexity, seeing right through to the crux of issues, finding creative solutions that others may have overlooked. As if all that wasn’t enough, Clare is a working mum, juggling a home life in rural Lincolnshire with her partner, their 5 kids, 4 cats, and geriatric Labrador! For all enquiries, contact Clare directly on 01727 238890 or email
This entry was posted in 10 steps to retail success, Increasing Sales, Pricing and Promotions, Range Strategy, robust repeatable processes, saleable business, scalable, Seasonal Retail and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Don’t let a Christmas hangover get you down – January is a great time for planning!

  1. Jase Bell says:

    Hi Clare,

    With regards to your comments on margins, I created an iPhone app to help retailers calculate gross profit margin and show retail price and profit. It may be of use to your readers.

    Kind regards

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