To make sure you don’t miss any of the retail marketing opportunities this year, here’s a retail calendar to keep you on track.
January: The ‘New Year’ Sales, Burns Night (25th)
Historically this is a great time for promoting end-of-season winter merchandise, house and home products, healthy living, swimwear and, of course, summer holidays.
The Burns Night celebrations lead to in-store promos in Scottish FMCG items like, haggis, oatcakes, shortbread and the ever popular whisky.
February: St.Valentine’s Day (14th), the Gardening Season
The two to three week Valentine period creates an environment that is wonderful for promoting and selling jewellery, flowers, chocolates, fragrances and many other gifts. Gardening promotions are also getting into full swing during this month.
March: St David’s Day (1st), Shrove Tuesday (8th), St Patrick’s Day (17th), Mother’s Day (30th).
The patron saints days for Wales and Ireland give rise to POS promotions in card shops and FMCG sectors during March, not to mention the beer for St. Patrick’s day. Add Pancake Day advertising and the sweet treats and luxuries for Mother’s Day and it’s very much a POP party month.
By now the ‘New Collections’ for spring and summer fashions are hitting the stores with shorts, t-shirts, and sandals for the whole family widely available and the assortment is at its peak with in-store advertising driven into top gear.
March is also a time when many brides register their gift lists in time for their planned summer weddings so retailers can take advantage of special ‘sales’ to promote those wedding gifts in advance.
April: Easter Sunday (20th), St George’s Day (23rd)
Easter products, which have been in-store since January, come to a promotional head in April as the chocolate bunnies and eggs reach their peak. There’s also another patron saints day in this month for England’s Saint George so there’s the opportunity for plenty of patriotic flag waving and promotions on the red and white products.
Spring fashions begin their markdown cycle in April and ‘sale’ signage and ‘special offers’ are displayed throughout stores.
May: May Day (5th), Spring Bank Holiday (26th)
People are shopping to fulfil their summer holiday needs during May so summer clothing and casual and athletic footwear goes into full promotional mode, often with large scale merchandising displays.
June: Father’s Day (15th), FIFA World Cup (12th June- 13th July), Wimbledon (23rd June- 6th July).
Father’s Day and Graduation promotions create display opportunities for home décor, clothing and many other types of gifts. Also you’ll see the beginning of sales and clearance promotions that will carry through into July.
The annual Wimbledon promotions include increased campaigns for FMCG and drinks brands, which are expected to be higher than ever as our reigning champion Andy Murray returns to wave the flag.
The World cup is scheduled for 2014 and, as an event that happens only every four years, there will be a great deal more activity on ‘big night in’ or ‘party’ products to attract the custom of those who entertain and watch the matches at home. There’s also likely to be increased promotional activity around sporting accoutrements and gaming outlets.
July: Summer Holidays, Commonwealth Games (23rd July – 3rd August)
The summer clothing category is normally in wind down mode during this month with in-store reductions and clearances beginning and last minute deals on offer in the travel agents, with the appropriate POS materials advertising the promotions
2014 will also see the Commonwealth Games taking place in Glasgow, so extra activity is expected in Food & Drink and sporting clothing and equipment.
August: Summer Bank Holiday (25th), Back to School
Back-to-school dominates the retail landscape with everything that could possibly be needed in class being advertised. Autumn clothing is also hitting the stores, with the first look at what’s new for the upcoming season.
September: Back to School promotions continue with clearance sales appearing toward month end.
October: Halloween (31st) …Boo it’s scary POP
October is of course the month of the Halloween merchandising displays which covers everything from traditional scary costumes and masks to novelty sweets and party food.
This is also a great time for those great offers on cold weather items with coats, gloves and scarves hitting the stores in mass deliveries. Christmas decorations and goodies will also begin to show up in stores as the Christmas trading period approaches.
November: Guy Fawkes Night (5th), St Andrew’s Day (30th)
Fireworks are on display and the final patron saint day of the year (this time for St. Andrew of Scotland) brings more patriotic displays and FMCG pushes on party goodies.
Gift ideas for the Christmas season are now well in store, just waiting for shoppers to discover them, so colourful POS and POP displays are used to showcase them.
December: Christmas (25th), Boxing Day (26th)
Shopping for gifts in December has never been easier. Every store has a plethora of gift items for the entire family in both apparel and hard goods and they are stacked high with POP materials to attract the consumer. This is a great month to find competitive regular prices as well as sale prices. The week after the Christmas holiday period grows every year as it is a key week to retailers to ‘dump’ any over-stocked festive merchandise. ‘Sale’ signage and ‘special offer’ dumpbins abound being widely used to display voluminous amounts of food, drink and confectionery goodies for celebrations as well as clearance items and New Year and January Sale products.