Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Where does it all come from? Part 1

A while ago, I did a post where I went over all of the store expenses for a month, giving a general look at where all of the copious dollars I manage to make a month  (bwhahah) go. (You can find that post here.)  This month, I thought i'd take a different tack and go over the other end.  Where does all of it come from?  Some people might be surprised to see the breakdowns of various departments and categories in the store, especially as I've found that most people will tend to over estimate the facet of the hobby that they are actively engaged in.

This is going to be a multi part post, broken up over several days.   For the first day here, I'm just going to show the overall categories and their relation to each other vis-a-vis sales here in November.

Before I go into that I'd just like to reflect on a two different numbers.  73% and 53%.    The first number, the 73% was the increase in sales from this Black Friday to last year's Black Friday.   Now, Black Friday is generally not that huge a day for us.  For many retailers selling more conventional wares, Black Friday is the make or break day of the year.  It's called Black Friday because this is the first day of the year that many business start to show a profit, or as we say 'run in the black'.   Yes, this means that many businesses run at a loss for most of the year until the holiday sales season start.   I honestly don't know how people who are involved in these business cope with that, as it would drive me stark raving bonkers to run for a loss for SO long and then to make up for 10 months of losses with 2 months of breakneck sales.  That is FAR to topsy turvey for my tastes.

For us, Black Friday isn't too different than most other Fridays. We do see SOME Christmas sales, but the majority of people are shopping at the big box stores getting 94% off of laptops, or MP3 players for free after rebate.   Short of deciding that I wanted to go out of business in a spectacular fashion, there's nothing I could do that could even remotely compete with those sales and promotions.  So I don't bother.  It's been my general experience that people do their shopping for sister Sally and brother Billy in those first few days after Thanksgiving, mostly because what Sally and Billy are asking for are fairly common things.  Barbie, X box and "whatever the hot toy that will cause fistfights and at least 2 trampling deaths at the big box stores", are what people  are looking for.  But what about crazy little cousin Elmo who plays those funny games with the little figures and funny dice?  People tend to come in a bit later in the holiday shopping season to buy those kinds of gifts.  More often than not, they have NO idea what they're looking for, and either hand me a list with a frustrated look on their face, or they just ask for a gift certificate.

The second number I mentioned, 53% is what this November's sales are up over last November.   73% and 53%.  Those are some pretty significant increases.  In looking at things with as an objective an eye as I can muster, I have to come to 2 conclusions as to why sales are better.

1)  People feel better about spending money, regardless of how good the economy is going/isn't doing.  A LOT of my customers are out of work right now, but this time last year, most everyone was feeling shellshocked into not wanting to spend money.  There are some signs that the economy is improving, but I think people are feeling a bit better about spending.  It should be noticed that I have really noticed that people are buying things more on debit and cash than on credit.
2) The store is in better shape than it's been in for a good while.  We have better inventory, and a better 'attitude' than we've had for a long time.  I've had many customers come up to me in the past couple of months and tell me that they haven't been as excited to be here and to buy things as they have here recently.  I'm in the store a lot more, im paying attention to what's happening a lot more, and I think that's really showing.

Ok..that's over and done with, and now let me show you that little breakdown I promised WAY back at the beginning of this post.

For anyone who's really been in my store, seeing that miniatures are 50% of sales really shouldn't be too much of surprise.  CCG's while low, are still building here and we are, week by week, getting more and more people coming into play Magic.  If there is a bit of a surprise in here's it's that the number two department in the whole store is Accessories.  That includes things like, dice, paint, tools, mapping aids, game aids.   It goes back to something I said earlier, we don't need more games, we need more things to make games BETTER.

Here's a breakdown of the top 15 items overall for the month of November

1) Zendikar Boosters (WotC)
2) Skaven Army Book (GW)
3) Space Wolf Battleforce (GW)
4) Imperial Guard Chimera (GW)
5) Fortress of Redemption (GW)
6) Warhammer Fantasy Roleplaying 3rd rd (Fantasy Flight Games)
7) Ork Battlewagon (GW)
8) Assault on Blackreach (40k starter set)(GW)
9) Hammer of Thor Boosters (heroclix)
10) 2010 MTG Booster Box (WotC)
11) Zendikar MTG Booster Box (WotC)
12) Pathfinder Bestiary (Paizo)
13) Cadian Battleforce (GW)
14) Tau Battleforce (GW)
15) Ravenwing Battleforce  (GW)

Tomorrow, I'll continue this with a break down of some of the categories, giving you all a bit more of a look at what moves here at IOG.


  1. Those are phenomenal comp numbers Darren, congratulations :)

  2. Awesome comp numbers Darren, congrats on the good sales. We saw a 17% increase on black friday at my shop, but ended 4.4% down on the month.

    As a curiosity, are those top sales by quantity, or gross revenue, or some other method?

  3. Darren,

    These are really interesting posts, I enjoy reading them. It's good to see IOG successful and you working to better it for yourself (and as a fringe benefit, all your customers!). Stuff like this and your unwavering charm keep me coming back.

  4. Nice numbers.
    So which month was Dominion the top selling game?