Reading Sales in a Flash

Interpreting the Story Behind Sales Reports

David Loranger

Business Case
Source: Bloomsbury Fashion Business Cases
DOI: 10.5040/9781474208765.0009
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Retail managers, including store management and buyers, depend on timely and accurate sales reporting that can be accessed through retailers’ merchandising, customer relationship management (CRM), and point-of-sales (POS) systems as needed—at any time. These reports are usually called “flash sales reports,” since they are a snapshot of the business at a particular moment in time. Although flash sales reports are very detailed, providing information that is drilled down to sales of specific SKUs, it is up to managers to interpret the figures that are displayed on reports.

Numbers tell a story about a retailer’s business in terms of sales trends, customers’ reaction to merchandise, and salesperson performance—just to name a few. Critical store-level decisions are made from reports, such as remerchandising, visual display, and scheduling and assignment of salespeople. Higher-level and wide-reaching decisions, such as store openings and closings, hiring and layoffs, and adding or dropping vendors are also made from these numbers. In fact, merchants spend a large portion of their days (e.g., buyers on Mondays and store management on the hour) reviewing and summarizing these figures to present to upper management. Therefore, it is extremely important that those at all levels of the retail organization are comfortable and competent at reading flash sales reports. This case study will present you with background on a business and will ask you to interpret flash sales figures, in order to make decisions about the business.

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