Adjusting Your Inventory for the Holiday Season

Can you believe it . . . it’s October and the holiday season is already evident. Despite the Coronavirus pandemic and the upcoming elections, Christmas is fast approaching. The public has been cooped up, locked down and ready for some holiday joy and gift giving.

In the world of fishing tackle retailing, the holiday season has always been good for sporting goods and tackle retailers. Depending upon the merchandise mix for any given retailer, men, women and kids all want some form of fishing tackle, sporting goods or related apparel for the holidays.
And the wise people say “when the frying pan is hot, it’s time to fry the eggs!” That’s a cute way of saying, when demand is strongest, retailers must make every effort to stock appropriate merchandise in copious amounts and at the right time. That’s another way of saying “when the sun shines, make hay!”

Which items should you stock this fall?

It would be a significant lost opportunity if the tackle retailer went into the holiday season with the same product mix they stocked for most of the year. The winter holiday period is a special time for giving gifts, unlike any other time of the year. It’s got “opportunity” written all over it. All the retailer has to do is stock for it and promote/merchandise appropriately so as to enjoy strong sales.

A significant portion of the customers entering the store or going online are not looking for fishing tackle. They are looking for fishing, sporting goods and related gift ideas . . . the kind of items that provoke the “I have always wanted one of these” reactions.

An elemental portion of your product selection should be geared to capturing this gift market, for it caters to the season and the desires of your customers. Sure, keep servicing your fishing clientele, but make a distinct shift to attract the “outdoor gift market.”

As you stock the shelves for the holiday season, buy, feature and promote gift oriented merchandise such as:

  • Rod and reel outfits
  • Tackle boxes
  • Lure assortments
  • Rain gear, flotation apparel and cold weather garb
  • Hunting, fishing and outdoor assorted artwork 
  • Guided fishing trips
  • Fishing lessons
  • Trolling motors and fishing electronics
  • Seasonal and theme related outdoor apparel
  • Specifically, T-shirts, sweatshirts, hats, gloves and apparel accessories
  • Waterproof and cold weather footwear
  • Down vests

For the most part, these merchandise categories have substantial markups, strong consumer appeal and make outstanding holiday gifts. Incidentally, these kinds of products will sell aggressively during the post Christmas time frame and, in many cases markdown money may be available from your vendors.

During the two months prior to Christmas, these same products may be available from your vendors at substantially lower cost prices giving you the flexibility to promote the products at attractive prices. Given the time of the year, other non-related but popular merchandise can be acquired at significant discounts and will sell exceptionally well if mass displayed and are well signed. The consumers love it and so will your topline sales number.

The period from Thanksgiving to Christmas is wonderful for the consuming public and for those retailers who appropriately gear up for the event. Your store should transition from a place to buy tackle to a store filled with the kind of outdoor related gifts every man, woman or child would like to receive. Make it happen, folks and let the bells that you hear be the sound of your cash register ringing!