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Sales holidays take on new importance in year of flatter sales

Sales holidays take on new importance in year of flatter sales

Memorial Day was the start of the Big 3 summer sales holidays, and July 4th will be here before we know it. Bedding News Now checked in with a few retailers to see how their sales were on Memorial Day, what lessons they can use toward the next big sales holidays, and why these events are more important than ever this year.

Greg Jent, owner of Mattress Discount Outlet in Bowling Green, Kentucky, says he only had one store open Sunday and it was his biggest day. 

“I did the math and we are up 15.4% over last year for the four days,” he says. “I worked it alone and did a little over $10,000 in sales. Looks like we were slightly up for the weekend, but Memorial Day and holiday weekends aren’t normally huge for us.”

Matt Wolf, owner of Mattress Lux in Atlanta, says the store was sitting at a bit of a loss for the month on May 20, but now it is way up from last year. 

He says his projected earnings from Memorial Day is $70,000 across 10 days, despite the average ticket prices dropping this year.

“We had two to three people a day spending between $2,000 and $3,000,” he says. “We did see a drop in our personal comfort traffic, which we consider Sleep Number-type customers, and that was a $5,000-$10,000 ticket. So honestly, if we’d had our business in that category where it normally is we probably would have done about $150,000 this month.

Adding to what Jent said about holiday sales, Wolf says they are always important because the customer has been trained to shop them. And though that’s a fault in our industry, Wolf says he is fairly dependent on a lot of other retailers’ marketing budgets for this holiday.

“I don’t have the budget to keep up with the Mattress Firms or Nectars of the world,” he says. “I’m happy to get the people that are going to check out in multiple places because of general advertising, and I happen to be one of them.”

One example of that buying power is Sam Schuvart, a senior manager at Mattress Firm in Canton, Georgia, who shared that his store made over $220,000 from Friday to Monday.

But unlike other years, many retailers predict flatter sales overall in 2023, and that makes sales holidays even more important to their bottom line.

Although many were successful this year, this wasn’t the case across the board. Retailer Chris Wyatt says his projected goal was $92,000, and they did $28,000 over four days.

“Our market had hot pockets, three to four stores doing extremely well,” Wyatt says. “While others like mine saw the worst traffic I’ve personally seen in nine years.”

Mark Kroplin, owner and founder at Best Sleep Ever in White House, Tennessee, says traffic was dismal, but the quality of sales was strong. 

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“Dollarwise we had a great weekend, but it’s sad knowing the potential had there been more people coming through the door,” he says. “It seems like the promotional dates have gotten longer and longer to capture more customers, but it seems like it’s taken away the urgency as well. It’s kind of like a double-edged sword.”

This is why it’s crucial that retailers take a closer look at the next holiday to see how they can prepare and what they can do differently.

Kroplin says he’s preparing for the 4th of July by fostering repeat and referral business and using a digital marketing strategy, but that he’s not sure anything can be changed in a big way at this point.

Wolf offered a few ideas, including starting his advertising earlier to try and extend the period of the sales holiday and spread out the hecticness. 

But there’s one central idea that requires the industry to work together to benefit everyone.

“For many manufacturers in this industry — like Puffy, Helix and Purple — marketing is their niche, and mattresses almost seem to be their second category,” Wolf says. “Teach us what you’re doing so well so we can sell your product. Hop on a phone call or a screen share and let’s build a Google ad together. It’s one thing for me as a retailer to say, ‘I need you to drive more traffic into my store.’ But it’s another thing to say, ‘I want to drive more traffic into my store and you know how to do that, so show me how.’”

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