Campus store prepares for December sales

By By , News Editor

By Michael McFall, News Editor

The University Campus Store staff doesn’t expect huge sale numbers this December, though it is historically the single best month for retail.

Its biggest sales periods are the first weeks of fall and spring semesters. December only ranks third for the U campus store, unlike most retail stores, and probably isn’t going to be as profitable this holiday season as last year.

Last year, the Utah football team wrapped up its undefeated season and was on the road to the All-State Bowl Championship game. Fandom frenzy overtook consumers, and store employees said they had to restock the shelves with Ute merchandise on a daily basis.

“They would come in and buy $300 to $500 worth, leave and come back the next day and do it all over again,” said Mike Cherry, coordinator for marketing and communication for the U campus store.

This year, the team broke the winning streak with two defeats8212;one of them early in the season, the other to rival BYU. As a result, store employees said they don’t expect to sell close to the same number of red, white and black T-shirts, jackets or bumper stickers.
“I don’t think we’re going to sell as much this year because they didn’t do as well,” said store accountant Anita Patel.

Chris Brunelli, sales manager for the merchandise department, said the month is still ahead of them and the U campus store could still sell close to what it did last year8212;but not the same.

It’s not a particularly door-busting month for the store’s educational supplies department either. The department swaps out a lot of school supplies for board games and toys during the holiday season. It doesn’t do as well as the other departments, Patel said.

Paul McGrath, the department’s sales manager, said the department doesn’t see the sales that the Ute merchandise department does this time of year.

The campus store’s big night to turn profit on the retail holiday season is Wednesday. Between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m., the store is discounting its merchandise for its annual Faculty and Staff Night. It’s a way to say thank you to faculty and staff during the holidays, McGrath said.

Cherry and every sales manager confirmed that the real Santa Claus is expected to pay a visit.

“We sent him a letter last July,” Cherry said. “We’re very fortunate to have him here for a couple hours.”

The general books department usually sees a lot of sales in fiction and children’s books during December and particularly during the sale, when plenty of them are sold at bargain-level prices, said Drew Goodman, sales manager for the department.

Goodman declined to compare December sales to other months, since customer demographics change with each month. At the beginning of a semester, a lot of students are buying academic books, such as dictionaries. They’re slowly replaced with faculty and staff who are buying gifts for their relatives, he said.

Steve Ryerson, sales manager for the computer department, was not available for comment.

As a rule, the store staff does not release any of its sales numbersso as not to compromise the business to any rivals, Cherry said.

“They have a close eye on us,” he said.

Claus was not available for comment.

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