Mid-Year Report Card: Performance Review

My last post provided a breakdown and thumbnail analysis of our sales breakdowns by department and graphic novel category for the last quarter and year to date.

We're seen significant growth over the last three months in every area, but it was nice to see singles begin to catch up to graphic novel sales. We call ourselves The Graphic Novel Bookshop for a reason and anticipate that GN dollar sales will always outpace dollar sales of singles, but the nearly 3% increase in sales of singles over the past three months compared to the year to date brings sales more in line with our allocation of inventory dollars. Our inventory at the moment is almost exactly 2/3 graphic novels versus 1/3 singles. One issue, though, is that our purchasing over the last quarter breaks down at 37% singles vs. 63% graphic novels, which is not far off from sales and inventory breakdowns but definitely mirrors the trend towards greater sales growth among singles than graphic novels. That is, however, what we would prefer to see. The business model for MacGuffin requires fairly stable graphic novel sales as a basis on which to build other departments. While singles are certainly selling well right now, their growth is much more volatile and easily impacted by an event like Civil War which has sold far better than any other series thus far.

Overall, however, our department breakdown is roughly what we would expect and mirrors our inventory levels appropriately. We devote just over 1/4 of our display space to singles which is slightly less than we would like so we may make an adjustment to increase shelf space (which would alleviate some of ridiculous overlapping of covers we've been forced to employ). Even so, department-wise I'm pretty happy with where we are.

As for our category breakdown, there's a bit more at issue here, particularly when percentage of sales is compared to percentage of graphic novel inventory. Our category inventory breaks down as follows:

Adventure: 34.8%
Fiction: 25.6%
Sci-Fi/Fantasy: 12.5%
Manga: 9.8%
Mystery: 9.0%
Non-Fiction: 5.1%
All Ages: 3.2%

The most obvious thing that jumps out when compared with sales numbers is that the Fiction section is not really pulling its weight. That said, while we cut back a bit on orders for books that would be racked there, the books in that section tend to appeal to new readers in a way that many of the categories don't. Even so, the All Ages and Sci-Fi/Fantasy sections are outperforming their inventory levels which might necessitate a bump in what we're carrying there. Particularly interesting, though, is the Mystery section, we believed had more display space than it needed. We were considering cutting its shelf space almost in half. The way that the section is performing, however, seems to indicate that we should actually expand the number of titles to reach a higher sales potential.

The Sci/Fi-Fantasy section is driven by sales of Star Wars books and as we've expanded our offerings there sales have expanded as well. Even so, it seems that we could stand to carry more based on sales numbers and we should likely give it a bit more space since currently occupies less than every section but All Ages and Non-Fiction.

Picking apart our numbers can help show where we need to improve and where we're spending more than we should and it's a process that will continue over the next several weeks.


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