Sunday, December 27, 2009

A busy December makes for a good Christmas season?

So here we are, a couple of days removed from Christmas Day, and I am finally able to get some time to catch up on the computer after a very hectic last couple of weeks. My apologies for not writing just before Christmas, but the days were long enough as they were as I struggled to keep up with orders coming in to my online business, A Web of Fine Music (

By way of wrapping up the Christmas week and embarking on the in-between week leading up to New Year's, I thought I would look at the month that was from a business standpoint, as this was a critical one for many retailers, myself included.

The economic downturn of the past year caused sales to decline for most of us, and speaking for myself I found all but one month this year below the sales of the same month the year before. The numbers for December won't be tallied until the end of the month, of course, and I can't speak for other retailers as to how their holiday sales were. But I can tell you my seat-of-the-pants feeling on both sides of the question appears to suggest business was better this December than last. It won't be enough to erase the losses racked up the rest of the year, but it is an encouraging start to a much-anticipated turnaround.

For me personally, this has been a very difficult year: in addition to sales being down most of the year, I lost my father unexpectedly in April, and my beloved cat Pushkin, who was my constant companion for 15 years, in October. I was also hospitalized three times during August and September for unscheduled surgery and resulting infections. So my expectations going into the Christmas season, both economically and emotionally, were not good. I must say, however, from what I have seen so far, my skepticism was unfounded.

While the number of individual sales might be only slightly better than last year, I found the total dollar value of purchases made was up from last year, indicating people had more confidence and spent their money more confidently. Other retailers I have talked to have echoed those sentiments, indicating to many of us the economy is indeed rebounding as we head into the second decade of the 21st century. Let's hope so, because retailers need a good year to make up for the last one, and besides, pumping more money into the economy on the consumer rather than the government level is always preferable. I would suggest, however, you spend your dollars wisely and whenever possible, locally.

The music business, as I have written before, is not a healthy business to begin with, so flat sales would not be a welcome sign this Christmas. However, in spite of the ever-increasing use of digital downloads and digital file-sharing, there appears to be even now a healthy market for hard copy recordings out there. I hope so, as I specialize in finding CDs and DVDs for people throughout the Niagara Region and beyond, and I can only be as healthy as my customers allow me to be. So thank you for your continued support over the past several years, and let's work together to make 2010 a rebound year not just for A Web of Fine Music, but for other retailers as well.

You can always contact me at or directly through email at for any musical enquiries you might have and orders you want to place.

Finally, just before I wrap up today, I want to thank so many people, many of whom I don't know read my weekly or twice-weekly blog entries in this space. I am constantly amazed when someone gets in touch, as one did just the other day, to say they enjoy my entries and what I write. It's nice to know; otherwise I begin to feel I am in a vacumn as far as my blog entries are concerned. Keep those comments coming, and by all means, join the list of "followers' to my blog, so I get a better idea how many people are actually reading my material. As for me, I will try to keep up the pace of coming up with interesting things to discuss in this space as often as possible in the new year.

Happy New Year to you!

December 27th, 2009.

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