For the thrift industry as a whole, the first quarter of 2018 followed the trend from the start of 2017, including a big jump in sales in March.
Going from Low to High
Within the thrift industry, sales follow donations. And weather impacts both the receiving of donations as well as the number of visiting customers. So, it isn’t surprising that sales take a plunge to start the year, as colder temperatures diminish the number of visits by donors and customers. But as winter gives way to spring, donations and sales boomerang back. It isn’t surprising to see monthly sales at their lowest in January and at their highest in March. Pent up supply (donations) and pent up demand (customers) meet to set new records.
When comparing 2018 to 2017 one month at a time, there aren’t any major differences in retail sales until the month of March. Although the average customer transaction amount is about $1 higher, total sales remain fairly consistent. But in March, sales increased by more than 10% over 2017’s mark. The new average sales amount of more than $60K will likely be chased through the remainder of the year.
The new high in sales was made possible by the dramatic increase in production for March, seen in both 2017 and 2018. And for 2018, not only were more pieces produced for sale over the previous months, but the average price of each piece jumped too.
The Formula To Drive Sales Higher
The thrift industry is a unique mix of manufacturing and retail. Only after donations are received, sorted, and priced can the merchandise be displayed for sale on a retail floor. And once an item is sold, more of the same item cannot be reordered.
To drive sales higher, donations must be processed efficiently and priced appropriately to maximize the value of your retail floor. In March, the increase in number of pieces produced at a higher average price per piece combined to set a new sales record.
Tracking Your Metrics
While trends are worth recognizing, knowing your own metrics is even more critical. Only when you know where you are can you chart the course to where you want to be. ThriftTrac makes capturing data easy so you can make informed decisions.
Metrics from thrift operators located across the country are compiled and analyzed monthly to identify trends in the thrift industry. Data includes all ThriftTrac users with locations having at least 1,000 customer transactions (retail) and 1,000 units processed (production).
ThriftTrac is business software for the thrift industry that turns data into actionable intelligence, driving greater profitability for thrift operations.