Most retailers were breathing a sigh of relief as the first two weeks of February 2016 outperformed sales over the same time last year. The Fashion sector was up 8.8 per cent on last year, with the General sector, including electronics, supplements and toys, to name a few, was the next best, up by 3.6 per cent on last year. Sporting, however, had a big drop off of 6.85 per cent, with the largest drop seen in NSW.
Victoria showed the greatest growth across all sectors compared with other states, with Sporting showing the only drop on last year in the state. It wasn’t all bad news for Sporting though, as the ACT showed a significant increase in the Sporting sector alone, with other sectors falling by the way side.
The Valentine’s Day weekend in particular left many retailers wanting more as there was a sharp sales drop across the board, suggesting shoppers may have gotten in early for Valentine’s Day this year and were out enjoying the weekend with their loved ones.
Talking with Rob Bataev, CEO and founder of the skate store chain, Boardstore (store pictured above), said his retail business was bucking the trend and experienced an enviable 35 per cent boom in the first two weeks of February. He did, however, concur with the lackluster sales over the Valentine’s weekend, surmising that it could be due to Valentine’s Day falling on a Sunday this year as opposed to Saturday last year.
ONE ON ONE WITH BOARDSTORE CEO & FOUNDER, ROB BATAEV
- Tell us about your retail sales over the past two weeks…
Sales have gone up by 35 per cent compared with February 2015, but were down on January 2016. Valentine’s Day sales were down from last year.
- What’s your biggest operational challenge at the moment?
Our biggest challenge at the moment is cash flow and cost control. Like all retailers, we’ve got insurance, rent, wages, and managing all these outflows from a cash flow perspective is challenging.
- What are you most concerned about in retail in the short-term future?
Competition in the skate and surf sector is becoming more prevalent and there are a lot of specialty surf and board stores popping up. Staying ahead of them, plus online e-commerce, can be a challenge. We’re no longer competing with local physical stores; we’re now also competing with everyone online on a national basis.
- What are you looking forward to this year for your business or your sector?
As a sector, school holidays are our best performing periods and as a business, we’re reopening an indoor skate park, which is a great avenue to get kids involved in skateboarding. We used to have it open for three years, but had to close it down as it was too expensive. We’re very excited to now be working with Queensland Education to hopefully get something off the ground this year.
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