The majority of booksellers are experiencing an increase in sales this Christmas after a more subdued lead-up to Christmas last year. Eighty percent of stores surveyed reported a rise in sales, 17% said sales were similar to last year and only three percent said sales were worse. In 2014, the results were more mixed, with 46% of respondents reporting an increase in sales, 24% reporting a drop and 30% reporting a plateau.
The boost in sales has taken a lot of stores by surprise, with 77% responding that sales are better than expected, while 22% said sales are close to expectations and just one percent said sales are worse.
Books+Publishing received feedback from representatives of almost 300 bookshops around Australia. In contrast to 2014, this year the chains are faring better than the independent bookshops, with 84% of chains reporting an increase in sales compared to 68% of indies. Twenty-three percent of indies said sales were similar to last year (chains 15%) and nine percent of indies said sales were worse (chains 1%). Last year, 54% of indies reported an increase in sales, ahead of chains at 44%.
The average increase in sales for independent bookshops that reported results to Books+Publishing was 15.6% (up from 11.2% last year), while the average decrease in sales was 9.6% percent (9.1% last year).
Early start to the Christmas sales?
Most respondents (64%) said the Christmas rush came the same time as last year, with 28% reporting an earlier rush and just 8% a later one. The results are less divided than last year, when 53% reported a later rush, 37% reported an earlier rush and 10% said the rush was unchanged.
This year, one store reported that the rush was ‘at least a month earlier’, while another said it had started building in mid-October. Yet another observed that ‘the stores in shopping centres started earlier, but the stores on strips are about the same as last year’.
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