In an effort to identify opportunities for manufacturers, I read and analyzed the latest ASTRA Retailer Benchmarking Survey report and data from a specialty manufacturer’s perspective. What did the data and numbers present?

Let’s look at sales growth first. In 2016, for the 138 stores that participated in the report, overall sales were up 2.6%, while stores with less than $500,000 in sales saw a 5.6% growth rate and those with over $1 million in sales saw their sales drop by 0.4%. Looking forward, both groups projected dramatic growth for 2017: the group with smaller sales forecasted a 10% rate of growth while those with higher sales projected 5% for 2017. What that means for manufacturers who sell to those retailers? These retailers are ready to do business!

When you study what type of location the most and least profitable stores have, you learn that more than half (54.3%) of the most profitable stores are in freestanding locations, while nearly half (49.4% of the least profitable stores are located in strip centers. The most profitable stores are much smaller than the least profitable ones, with 1680 feet of selling square footage vs. 2,190. Among the most profitable stores, those located in freestanding stores sell $296 per selling square foot vs $223 at the least profitable stores, and at the most profitable strip center stores sell $345 a foot vs. $261. The most profitable stores are selling more product and turning it more quickly in less space than their less profitable counterparts. It means that what’s on the shelves matters, and how stores are selling them. Manufacturers, ask your stores what type of location they have and what challenges and opportunities they have and see if your product is well-suited to help.

If your stores are knowledgeable about their market and what they sell well and how and why, if you manufacture many products at different price points and in different categories, try fashioning their order around your products they should turn quickly and profitably. If you match your assortment to their sales needs well, they’ll be back with reorders! But if you sell them what you want to sell them without regard for what their store needs, your toy or game may sit in the shelf for months and they won’t be keen to order from you again.

Making data-driven decisions is more important than ever. Purchase the report for additional insights that you can use to inform your business decisions and support your specialty accounts.

Lisa Orman

Lisa Orman’s agency KidStuff Public Relations and its division TechStuff PR specialize in promoting specialty toys & games and juvenile products and services for families. Nearly all the agency’s clients are ASTRA members and most are manufacturers. The agency is a longtime ASTRA member and is the only PR agency designated as a Preferred Savings Partner by ASTRA.