Business development 1 December 2016
12 Christmas tips for retailers this festive season
In retailers? eyes, Christmas is well and truly with us. With the festive season often the make or break for retailers, partner on the retail team at law firm Boodle Hatfield, Olivia Tassell, offers readers her 12 top Christmas tips forretailers this festive season. (1) Sign on the dotted line At this time of year, prospective retail tenants will be under pressure to take early occupation of their unit to enable completion of their fit out before the Christmas rush. However, this is not advisable from either party’s perspective without a binding agreement for lease (or ideally a lease) in place. Without this, a landlord may have difficulty enforcing any obligations against the tenant, whilst a tenant is at risk of the landlord requiring them to vacate (and reinstate the unit) on immediate notice. (2) First impressions are key A seasonal window display is a failsafe way of enticing potential customers into your store. Be careful about placing anything outside the store, though, as this is likely to be prohibited by your lease or council regulations. (3) Can your supply keep up with demand? With many retailers generating the majority of their profits in the Christmas period, service yards are likely to be operating at full capacity, with a lot of competition for delivery slots. Planning ahead may be important, both for stock availability and neighbourly harmony. (4) Better safe than sorry Ensure all essential equipment is well maintained and serviced, as there is nothing worse than a boiler breaking down at the first sign of frost, or the air conditioning failing during a packed discount evening on an unseasonably warm day. (5) Tis the season to be jolly! Creating a festive ambience in store can really help to put customers in the mood to shop. Always be sure to leave plenty of room between displays to avoid accidental breakages and to make it easier to spot or deal with potential theft. (6) Open all hours For most retailers Christmas means extended opening hours, sometimes until as late as 9 or 10pm. However, check these timings with your landlord, as some leases prohibit late night opening without their consent. It is also important to consider any residents in the vicinity, particularly when planning a late night event, as any significant disturbance could lead to complaints. (7) Together we’re better Joint promotions or events with other retailers often increase publicity and attract greater numbers of potential customers. If using communal space, ask permission of the landlord and agree in advance how the cost of this space will be divided up. For outside events, health and safety regulations may need to be considered, as well as licensing requirements. (8) The end (of the year) is night Many accounting years run to 31 December, so be prepared for the call from your accountants shortly thereafter and make sure your paperwork is kept up to date. In addition, quarterly rents and service charges are usually demanded on 25 December and landlords are likely to expect settlement in advance of the holiday season, otherwise you may face an interest charge in January. (9) Unwanted gifts?