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It is hot out there! Summer is in full swing and the 4th of July just passed, so that would be the theoretical middle of summer. Kids are at camp; lazy days are here, and adult beverage sales are slower than we all like and want. While summer is longing for parties, get togethers and travel it is historically a slow period for wine and spirit sales. Heck, even two major distributors close in NY for a few weeks because the business is not there and of course union rules. So, what can we use summer for and what lessons can we learn from the summer slowdowns?

We look at sales in quarters. The same way a business measures its performance, we do the same and each quarter is defined by its sales cycles.

January – March: Nationally many retailers’ sans big box is on the no buy list. The small and independents have spent the money on 4th quarter buys and are paying for goods that the big boys crammed in to make their own numbers. Sales are slow and angled towards mid to late march.

April – June: Wallets are open. Florida is buying as tourist season comes to a close. NY is buying as summer is coming and CA is open for business. Retailers are off “the list” and open to new brands, tastings, supplier visits and work withs.

July – September: Slow period defined by market.

  • Florida too hot (weather) for success
  • CA, NY, IL, buying and depleting
  • TX, beer over indexing on sales

But this is a critical time for all suppliers. Brands define success by depletions and often times these slower months are the blocking and tackling months that will define the 4th quarter. Suppliers need to get comfortable with the investment in the market in the slower times to make success in the busy times.

  • Over invest in marketing
  • Over invest in market visits
  • Over invest in creating and preparing your 4th quarter plan.

October – December: Game Time. 43% of yearly revenue is generated during this period.

The time is now that all the bull you went through in the previous months turns into cases. My dad would say, deal with buyers for 9 months so the buyers deal with you for 3 months. We could not agree more! Winter sales, winter depletions, winter placements are all happening now. Not in the critical SOND period.

Summer is ½ way over. We recommend that your 4th quarter sales and marketing plan are developed by EOM August. Buyers are as difficult now as they have ever been and do not give many second chances. With the consolidation and closing of many retailers the ones left standing treat suppliers more aggressively than in years past. You, the suppliers, need to be ready and on your sales game. So, with that, wash that sunscreen off and get into market! Holiday 2019 is beginning!

Brian Rosen

Three Tier Talk

by Brian Rosen, www.BevStrat.com

Brian Rosen is Former CEO of America’s #1 Retailer, Sam’s Wines in Chicago, Former Partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers in Retail and sought after retailer consultant.
EMail: [email protected]
Phone: 800-953-1312
Web: www.BevStrat.com

More information and articles by Brian Rosen

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