b'By Frank DallahanSALES FORECASTIt is mid-October, as I write my column for the November/December issue of The Retail Jeweler, the thought occurs how will this year end? Will the naysayers or the optimists prevail? In talks with retail jewelers, the consensus is the year has been a decent one. Manufacturers also have reported good results.Now that the year is winding down, it is no timeAccording to the NRF sales by store type through September were:for complacency. There is still much to accomplish.on-line and other non-store sales are up 15.6% over September a year ago.It is and should be an exciting time of year for all Health & personal care is up 4.2%those who sell jewelry. This is the prelude to the Grocery & beverage sales have increased 2.6%Christmasholidayseason,stillthebiggestgift Building materials & garden supply are up 2.5%giving season of the retail year looms ahead. It is a Furniture & home furnishings are up 1.1%make or break time of year! Six weeks where it all Sporting goods are flatcomes together! So, it is vital that your sales team General merchandise stores are down 0.2%.convey the seasons enthusiasm to everyone who Clothing and accessories are down 0.7%visits or calls your store.Electronics and appliance stores are down 1.7%All of the thinking, planning, buying, decorating,Basically,itisaprettysolidpicturerollingintotheChristmasseason. sprucing up is done by the time you read this in mid- Though the jewelry category is not specifically mentioned, we can deduce November. Now is the time to apply a laser focusfrom the other store categories business has been good for jewelry too. on getting the customers through the front door ofIt is a traditional time of year for jewelry purchases so, I believe the year your store. How is your communication plan? Howwill end on a strong positive note. Looking at the NRF data a little more will you promote? Where will you promote? Whatclosely, I think it is the convenience factor that drives the on-line business media? So, whats your expectation? How do youresults. Today, people are so busy juggling work and leisure schedules think you will fare this Christmas? shopping on-line for the necessities of life is common sense. Our daughter is a classic example. She works four days a week, has two school age So far, this year has stacked up pretty well . Accordingchildren, a husband who just started a new job. They are crazy busy. And, to the National Retail Federation (NRF), total retailAmazon makes great sense to take care of basic family shopping. You sales have improved by 4.5% through Septemberorder it on-line and its on your door step the next morning!despite the increased fears over USChina tensions.Jewelry, on the other hand is in reality a much more considered purchase. The history of the industry is that if we have gottenBut that doesnt mean you can ignore the Internet. An on-line presence through three quarters of the year carrying a 4.5%is a necessity especially this time of year. You need to look at your on-increase,itishighlylikelythefullyearwillcarryline presence and be sure you have new and interesting merchandise through to an equally positive result too. selections for customers to see. Emphasis on newness and excitement will bring customers through the door.Despite the current tensions between the US and China on trade (which seem to change daily), the uncertaintyTraining of sales staff is also a necessary requirement at this time of year. It caused by the impeachment inquiry, and the lack ofis always an ongoing process. Frequent meetings before the store opens. any significant progress in the legislative arena, ourDiscussion and emphasis on new products, sales techniques, answering economy seems to be running quite well in virtuallyquestions and objections all play critical roles in how your store will fare everysegmentastheNRFdatasupportsbelow. this holiday season. These points are key especially with new, and part-time employees who have come on-board recently.All things considered this Christmas season should turn out very well. All Frank Dallahan of the major economic indicators are in the right places, employment, co-publisher of The Retail Jewelerunemployment, income gains all point to a great season to come.Email Frank@theRetailJeweler.comGood Selling and best wishes for a successful selling seasonand a Happy Healthy New Year.8 | The Jewelry Business Magazine'