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How to prepare your shop for seasonal stock

It’s that time of year. Time to dig out jumpers as temperatures cool, the nights draw in and summer tans begin to fade. For children back at school, summer is soon a distant memory. People cling to the last flashes of summer sun and steadfastly ignore the fast-approaching Christmas season, proclaiming that it seems to come earlier every year. Well, for you it really does.

This is the time of year when wholesalers are packed with Halloween, Bonfire Night and Christmas products, and you know it’s time to clear the decks and make way for the seasonal stock. You now need to find space to store Halloween masks, buckets of sweets, glow-in-the-dark necklaces, fireworks and enough Christmas stocking fillers to sink a battleship. As a seasoned retailer, you know what you need to buy, how much will sell and how best to display it for your loyal customers. However, sometimes in the mad rush, certain things can be overlooked; this is why we are sharing our top tips for dealing with seasonal stock safely.

Clear the decks

Making way for your seasonal stock is an excellent opportunity to have a sort out and general tidy up of your stockroom. It’s worth taking the time now to update your inventory and make a record of all the stock you have. If you have been doing this for a long time, you will have a good idea of what sells and what doesn’t; if a box of Halloween costumes has been circling your stockroom for a couple of years, you know it’s probably not worth buying more of them. Keep an eye out for trends and pick your stock carefully so you know you will have enough space to store it.

Rotate slow-moving stock

You’ll know from years of experience the importance of rotating your stock. Remember to store slow-moving products nearer to the back of your stockroom than faster-moving stock, which you will need to access more frequently. If you are holding Christmas, Bonfire Night and Halloween stock in your stores at the same time, then store it in the seasons’ order. Just be sure that whatever stock you need to access can be reached without clambering over piles of cardboard boxes.

Always think safety first but fire foremost

Safety should always be a priority but try to think about fire risks too. Are fire exits all clear? Are fire doors shut properly or have they been left propped open by boxes for convenience?

Keep explosive stock such as fireworks away from heating devices or direct sunlight. With extra seasonal stock comes extra cardboard. Make sure you dispose of it safely to prevent slips and trips and that it goes into the correct bins. Your external bins should be at least three meters from your business premises, as bins for cardboard could be a temptation for arsonists. Keep your shop safe and think fire first.

Embrace the season and sell your stock

‘Tis the season after all; embrace it. Dedicate areas of your shop floor to seasonal stock and encourage your customers to take a look because once it’s gone, it’s gone.

Be careful not to leave high-value stock on display overnight or in blind sections of your shop which are poorly lit or have no CCTV coverage, as this can be tempting for criminals.

If you find that your stock is not moving as well as you anticipated, why not embrace some seasonal marketing? You could do something as simple as putting a board in front of your shop or, if you’re a little more tech-savvy, why not put out a social media post?

If you find the idea of marketing a little daunting, then download our free, Wonderfully Simple Marketing Guide for Small Businesses. Click here to download.

Don’t forget to tell us about your stock

It’s not just your customers you need to tell about your seasonal stock – remember to tell your cover provider too.
If your stock value has increased because you have bought additional seasonal products, you may not be covered for their full value in the event of fire, theft or damage.

At The Retail Mutual we automatically include a 50% increase to your stock cover limit during November and December to protect the extra stock many of our retailers hold. However, if the items were purchased and stored prior to this time, they will still need to be covered separately. At The Retail Mutual, we charge no admin fees, which means if you need to change your cover limits, we only charge you for the increase to the cover itself, not for updating your requirements.

Always remember safety first when it comes to storing additional stock and keeping your stockroom up to scratch.

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