I am a retail manager of a newsagency in a university campus and as things are, I have dead stocks that I need to get rid of. I am looking for ideas how to reinvent ourselves to increase our sales again the way we used to. We have a new system that have just been put in place and becoming a burden to me as an admin work was added to my responsibility for the sake of stocktake. I don’t know what to do and I am really lost now…

This retailer highlights three big issues about store management; dead stock, what should I sell, and EPoS driven admin overload.

Early on in my retail career I was told by a WHSmith area manager that there are just three things you can do with stock: sell it at a profit, sell it at a loss or give it away. With dead stock, a retailer needs to have a seasonal sale for a defined period and reduce the target stock line at price to go. If there is any stock left afterwards, either give it away or throw it away.

Changing is a big challenge for any retailer. You have to start with having an understanding of what your customers want to buy today and tomorrow. Every location has a different set of opportunities. Therefore, owners need to start by carrying out some research by talking to customers and other retailers.

Retail success needs a strong administrative foundation, it has to be done, but there are some short term fixes. I personally always ran my scanning system with as close to accurate stock counts as I could achieve. That way my system could provide suggested orders whenever I needed them. An alternative is to use the period sales reports as the basis of a shopping list. With this approach, stock levels still need to be checked and a retailer is likely to have a higher stock investment than my preferred method, but it can reduce admin overload.

If you’re in need of some inspiration, here’s a great example of a retailer based at a university, who has really made sure he meets his customers’ needs.

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