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Christmas preparations are crucial

SMALL business retailers need to prepare early for pre-Christmas trading to make the most of the festive period.

This year’s metropolitan pre-Christmas trading period includes the two Sundays before Christmas and two extra late night trading days.

Retail Traders Association manager Brian Reynolds said retailers needed to hone basic retail skills.

“Christmas is the most important time of the year for the retail industry – especially for small retailers,” Mr Reynolds said.

“Aside from the increase in sales volume, the level of competition is at its lowest.

“Small businesses need to ensure they are in a position to maximise the benefits.

“They need to pay attention to customer service levels, use good selling techniques and ensure both their, and their staff’s, selling skills are honed.

“They should use innovative marketing techniques, maxi-mise their merchandising and really make themselves stand out.”

He said traders had to monitor stock levels and avoid over-ordering.

Mr Reynolds said competition for good quality staff – even on a part-time or casual basis – was particularly fierce.

Shop owners also need to make sure their refund policies are clear.

“Retailers have to make sure their staff don’t make any implied refund indications,” Mr Reynolds said.

The Retail Traders Association has a refund guide and will run training courses.

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