March 30/April 6, 2015; Volume 28/Number 20
By David Romano
“We are the World” hits No. 1, Swatch watches become the new fad, “Back to the Future” is the biggest movie of the year, “The Cosby Show” is the most popular show on television and families in Texas are forbidden to shop the majority of retailers on Sunday. The year was 1985 and the lives of retailers and compulsive shoppers were about to change forever. The famous Blue Laws that prohibited the sale of 42 items, ranging from clothing to musical instruments, were repealed because department stores such as Marshall Field’s refused to close their doors.
While every department store and most large retailers were jumping for joy and skipping all the way to the bank with fists full of money, many family-owned retailers kept their doors closed. Flash forward 30 years to 2015 and you will see that only 25% of independent flooring retailers are open on Sundays. Yet hundreds of studies through the years illustrate that retail sales on Sundays can account for 14% to 20% of total weekly sales.
The puzzling part of this trend is that independent flooring retailers are not blind to the fact they can increase volume and profitability by opening their doors on Sunday; they just simply don’t want to do it. Maybe the problem is that many floor covering store owners treat their businesses more like jobs, and opening on Sunday would mean a seven-day work week instead of six. The sad truth is the average net income for an independent flooring retailer is so small that not being open on Sundays is a luxury many cannot afford.
According to a substantiated survey conducted by Benchmarkinc, which included several hundred floor covering store owners and took place over a three-year period ending in 2013, independent floor covering stores that were open on Sunday generated 22% more in volume than those stores that remained closed.
Now let’s take it one step further to determine the profit dollars lost by not being open on Sunday:
- 22% increase in volume = $722,526
- Average gross profit for stores open on Sunday = 37.7%
By simply multiplying $722,526 by the gross profit of 37.7%, there is a lost opportunity of $272,392. From consulting with more than 1,000 clients over the last 12 years, I have yet to meet a floor covering dealer who could not use those profit dollars to pay operating expenses. If we compound that lost opportunity over the last decade, we are talking nearly $3 million, some of which could have gone toward retirement.
For those who now see the light but are too reluctant to operate on Sunday for the fear of leaving the store in the hands of others, grab a copy of “E-Myth Revisited” and prepare for the shocking truth: You are not an owner; you are a technician. It is your job to be the entrepreneur and create a company that is not based on a “single source, single solution” method. If you do your job right and create a self-reliant, effective team, you won’t have to work on Sunday. Truthfully, you really don’t have to work very much at all.
In 1985, the people of the great state of Texas demanded that retailers open their doors on Sunday because their lives were different from those who created the laws when a horse and buggy was the best source of transportation. Those retailers who understood that the demand for their goods and services was greater than their individual wants benefited enormously. It is now time for the 75% of you who are not open on Sunday to realize the same.