Australian Newsagency Blog

A blog on issues affecting Australia's newsagents, media and small business generally.

An early look at Christmas trading in newsagencies

Mark Fletcher
December 16th, 2019 · 4 Comments

I have looked at sales data for ten newsagencies for the last four weeks, comparing 2019 performance to 2018. The businesses are: 3 x capital city shopping mall, 3 x high street suburban, 2 x regional (pop. 25K+) and 2 x rural (pop. 2,000 – 4,000). None of them are mine.

The businesses are not all in one newsagency marketing group. I did seek out businesses that traded in all of the reported product categories.

While this is not a statistically sound sample size to project results for the channel, the numbers are interesting. Here is a summary of the overall stats.

  • Cards (overall): down 3%.
  • Cards (Christmas): down 2.5%.
  • Christmas specific gifts / homewares: up 6%.
  • Gifts: up 6%.
  • Toys/games: up 10%.
  • Jigsaws: up 5%.
  • Homewares: up 2%.
  • Newspapers: down 14%.
  • Magazines: down 11%.
  • Stationery: down 9%.

Looking at the businesses in the data pool of 10 that are performing better, they share several things in common:

  • The front of their shops, as much as permitted for those with lotteries, do not look traditional.
  • They are active on social media with 500+ followers, daily posts, engaging and entertaining posts.
  • They offer diverse product and overall non-traditional range.
  • They encourage shoppers to try what they sell.
  • The encourage staff to have fun.
  • They are community connected.
  • They don’t see themselves as newsagencies.

Now, what does all this mean? Well, that’s up to you and how you see your business. Digging into the data deeper, for the majority of the 10, Christmas is under way and is, overall, slightly better than last year. I think they are seeing Christmas under way because of how they are engaging with the season in-store and out in social media and elsewhere.

We really do make our own success, through our buying, visual merchandising and out of store messaging.

I appreciate that most news outlets are reporting on declining retail sales. National data represent that. Below the national data is the battle between rooftops, retailers winning retail revenue from competitors. While there is plenty to not like about being in a shopping mall, it is in a shopping mall situation that you can more easily engage in competition with a nearby rooftop.

There are retailers doing well and, yes, there are retailers not doing well. I think that we have more control over where we land than we think. The more we actively manage for success the more likely we are to achieve it.

8 likes

Category: Newsagency management · newsagency of the future

4 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Jason // Dec 16, 2019 at 4:27 PM

    How does encouraging employees to have fun show up in sales data?

    0 likes

  • 2 Mark Fletcher // Dec 16, 2019 at 5:13 PM

    Read the post Jason.

    1 likes

  • 3 MARK RICHARDSON // Dec 16, 2019 at 5:51 PM

    Our December sales have been beyond expectations.

    Cards up 11%
    Gifts up 75%
    Magazines up 5%
    Stationery up 12%

    We did a small revamp in October further reducing magazine space and increased our gift area. Although the increase in squ mtr’s for gifts was not huge , the new layout opened up the area making shopping easier.
    Our huge increase in gift sales comes off what we considered solid sales . But purchases from the Melbourne Gift fair this year have sold through extremely well

    3 likes

  • 4 Graeme Day // Dec 16, 2019 at 9:19 PM

    Jason,
    Retail and customer service plus honesty and product knowledge is what eveything is all about..Happy staff Happy customers.
    People like happiness, pleasantness and caring for theri needs. It’s called selling. If you need to figure this then get out of retail because you’ll never be satisfied with its results.

    1 likes

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