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Sunday, November 3, 2013

Retailing: On Halloween, Cute Dogs, Profit and Depression

So, now you've gained at least a pound from swiping the chocolate from your kids' trick or treat bags and we've heard all the retail stories about how Halloween sales are going to be down and see that Time magazine says "Consumers are spending (way) more on pet costumes, it's time to get real.

It's always been important to watch trends. And animals have been trending up (to use Twitter's phrase) more than about anything else--at lease since the 1990s when I carried something in our chain of gift stores we called "cold-cast porcelain) dog figurines. They retailed for about $39. and came sculpted in about every breed imaginable. People bought them for themselves and people bought them for friends and relatives who were crazy about their dogs. And everyone is. (They had cats and some other animals in the line, too, but dogs sold three for every one other species we sold.)

So I'm not surprised that doggie costumes were big for Halloween. If you're frugal, you could buy a pumpkin costume and dress your pup up to amuse Thanksgiving guests, too!

So what other lesson to glean from the Halloween/pet retail coup? Well, you may not remember the Great Depression. Neither do I. But I remember stories of how it influenced even the movie industry to make more jolly, bright, and wonderful musicals.  When the nation is under sequestration and our we are under constant threat that we won't pay our debts, people are down. As long as our money holds our we will spend our money where 1. it doesn't cost us too much  2. makes us feel good.  At least as long as our own money holds out. out products that are fun and reasonable to add to your mix. Even fun and frugal can be "quality merchandise." Especially if it put bacon on a retailer's table.

Carolyn Howard-Johnson's FRUGAL book for retailers is A Retailer’s Guide to Frugal In-Store Promotions: How To Increase Profits and Spit in the Eyes of Economic Downturns with Thrifty Events and Sales Techniques launched at the National Stationery Show at Javits Center. Because she is the author of the multi award-winning how-to books for writers,The Frugal Book Promoter: How To Do What Your Publisher Won't and The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success, retailers will also find essentials of writing for blogs, Web sites, and newsletters on this blog. She is the author of an award-winning novel, This Is the Place; and other fiction and poetry. She blogs on better writing at The Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor blog. Find her tweeting for retailers at @frugalretailing . If your followers at Twitter would benefit from this blog post, please use this little green widget to let them know about it:

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