I hate to mention the C… word – but it’s the 25th June and we’re halfway between last Christmas and the next one! I’m sure in only a matter of days someone will appear on television telling us we should be getting to work preparing our yule log and making paper chains and checking our on-line address books to see which of our 400 nearest and dearest have changed their address since last year so that they can receive the annual round-robin about little Johnny coming 5th in the under-9 sack race and that funny story about Kylie and her tooth.
But here at TTP towers we are concentrating on more important matters – buying stock to keep our customers happy for Christmas. With a number of our products coming from China – on ships which take six weeks – stock for Christmas has to be on the water by the middle of August – which means it has to be ordered by mid July – and our suppliers are starting to ask (politely) if we have planned our requirements yet.
Our problem is every year we are selling a lot more which of course is great for you and for us – but the real peak of sales is getting later and later. Only a few years ago the first Monday in November was manic Monday – all you guys realised Christmas was coming and orders flooded in and by the 3rd week of November all the big orders had gone and by mid-December all we saw were top-ups of 3 of this and 3 of that "just to make sure I’ve got enough for the last minute customers”. However, last year we were amazed when a customer ordered a pallet of mugs on December 18th and assured us he was going to print and despatch them for Christmas!
We reckon we’re fairly good at predicting our sales – and every year we get better – though there will always be one or two products which surprise us and become the "hot item” of the year. I still have minor nightmares about "the glass coaster shortage of 2012” and "the missing pallet of pencil cases of 2013”!
So the message I’m trying to gently put over is – if you have a product you expect to sell lots of this Christmas it would really help us if you talk to us as early as possible - you never know I might even be able to find a little bit of extra discount. It doesn’t need to be a firm order – and if you want to place a "reservation” on stock to be called off through November and December we are happy to work with you.