Sharing retail sales figures sets the pace, motivates

06/21/2013 09:19:00 AM
Armand Lobato

Armand Lobato, The Produce AisleArmand Lobato, The Produce AisleAsk most produce clerks, “Hey, how much did your department do in sales last week?” and they will shrug their shoulders, lower their head and keep stocking.

That’s a sure sign of a crew that needs a spark.

In every store that I managed, I kept a plain legal pad as one of just two items allowed on the backroom desk. Among what was noted each day (such as the daily rotation needs, sanitation schedule, and merchandising changes) was a single notation at the top.

It read something like, “Check out the sales book — We’re up 10% over same period last year.”

The sales book was also just a simple, spiral notebook filled with weekly sales, Sunday through Saturday and dated for easy reference.

As I walked towards the produce aisle with my cup of coffee each morning I held a sales printout from the computer or booth ledger at the front of the store. Before I even turned the corner into the department I knew our prior-day sales and the sales percent of the store’s business.

Later, as I filled out the daily worksheet, everyone on my crew was privy to the information too.

It’s all about sales

It’s important to share sales information because sales is the lifeblood of retail. Without sales there is no produce department, no store to market goods and no jobs. So keeping an eye on the sales should be as important to the least-senior part-timer as it is to the store director.

Sales are also a motivating factor for the crew, especially for the part-timers that depend on increased volume in order to obtain more hours. Even during a stressful new-store opening or remodel, it was common to get frequent sales updates throughout the day. Who wanted to know? Everyone.

By consistently sharing produce sales, it gets to the point where it becomes the first question that clerks ask when they start their shift. “Hey, how’d we do yesterday?” This is a positive sign that they are getting tuned into the big picture.

Barometer

They also use it as a barometer, as they equate the disappearing pallets of fresh produce that they handle each day with a dollar figure they can compare with their efforts. Merchandising changes and all the hours that they work — that also ends up as a dollar figure reflected on their weekly paycheck.

Once a manager regularly shares this information, most clerks take satisfaction in being a part of the whole picture. Knowing the sales figures helps gives them a sense of satisfaction, especially when a produce department exceeds sales expectations, or beats a previously set record.

So when they ask, “Hey, how’d we do yesterday?” — It’s easy. Just show ’em.

Armand Lobato works for the Idaho Potato Commission. His 30 years of experience in the produce business span a range of foodservice and retail positions.

armandlobato@comcast.net

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