From The Co-Founders


Tips, Tactics & Strategic Insights and Commentary
from The ROI Co-Founders, Pat Johnson and Dick Outcalt
Outcalt & Johnson: Retail Strategists LLC; Retail Turnaround Experts

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Might Your Stores Need a Shorter "Work Week?"

It's that time of year. As you review your Profit & Loss statement for 2022, your thoughts most likely are turning to "How do we make 2023 a better year than that?" 

As we look around, we see a popular cost-saving and productivity-boosting tactic being instituted by many national retailers, shopping malls, and restaurants. They are open fewer hours. 

This offers an opportunity for you to revisit your store hours and employee scheduling practices.  Maybe it's time to consider some changes, if you haven't already.

Start with the mass of data resting comfortably in your POS system. Look for all the reports by the day of the week. (Be prepared; this may require you to gather information from several reports.)

What you are looking for is data such as this by the day of the week:

  • Total sales by day of week 
  • Total # of transactions (e.g., customers) by day of week
  • Total gross margin dollars by day of week
  • Hours per day of week the store was open
  • Total employee hours and payroll per day of week

For each of those, look at some averages: 

  • average transaction per customer per day of week; 
  • average GM dollars per transaction per day of week;
  • average sale and average transaction per hour per day of week.

Now, as you review this, do any patterns emerge? 

  • Which day(s) of the week have the highest number of transactions/customers?
  • Which day(s) of the week have the highest sales volume?
  • Which day(s) have the highest average transactions? 
  • Which day(s) have the highest average gross margin $$ per transaction?
  • Which day(s) have the highest results per hour? (Might Sunday be a higher performing day if it were open the same hours as Friday?)

Here's our hunch: you will discover that, say, Tuesdays and Wednesdays are likely the "slowest" days of the week in terms of number of transactions and total sales. 

  • In fact, they might produce less than half the sales volume of your two busiest days. 
  • But – an astute observer might note that Tuesdays and Wednesdays may have the highest average sale AND the highest gross margin dollar average. 

Why might that be? And what might that suggest?

  • Since there are fewer customers on those "slower" days, each one receives more personal attention from your staff. 
  • Or, you may have fewer "veteran" staff people working on those busier weekend days (seniority has its benefits, you know). However, this could lead to "lost sales."
  • Plus, you likely have a different group of shoppers on the weekend than are available to shop during the week. 

Your customers have voted with their feet. The data shows that they prefer to shop you on, say, evenings and weekends. Now, armed with this additional data, how can you make this year a better, more profitable year than 2022? 

For instance, here are some ideas:

  • Maybe open your stores a couple hours later on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays? That would save 8 staff hours each week, which will add up nicely over time. 
  • Reschedule your staff, especially the seasoned pros, to those higher traffic days when their prowess is needed to increase the average sale.
  • Some office employers find that 4 ten-hour days are more productive than the traditional 5 eight-hour days (and employees like it as well.)
  • Be flexible. Not every person has to work the same kind of schedule.
  • Some retailers in urban locations, still recovering from the pandemic, have closed their stores on those really slow days. They can re-expand the hours once folks have returned to their offices.
  • BTW, for those of you with multiple stores, each store may have its own "slowest days." Not all stores have to be on the same schedule. Each one must reflect its own particular market.

And of course, monitor the results! 

  • Monitor the same reports, calculate the same averages.
  • Do the same with the operating expenses. 

See what difference these slight changes to your schedule can make in the overall productivity of your stores. 

You may be in for some surprises, some pleasant surprises at that. For 2023, productivity is the name of the game.

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