Retailers making holiday shipping list

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Chris Sondermann, owner of downtown retail shop Terra Verde sorts through a recent shipment of holiday gifts for the upcoming season. Most retailers begin ordering holiday merchandise at the end of summer. Sondermann is now receiving up to 100 boxes a day.

There are 99 days until Christmas, and while that might not be enough to send shoppers into a tizzy, it’s a different story for retailers.

It’s time to order merchandise, baby.

“We are right in the thick of it,” said Chris Sondermann, who owns downtown boutique Terre Verde. “We’re getting between 50 and 100 boxes a day.”

Some of the boxes are full of decorations and ornaments that won’t make their shelf and sales-rack debuts until November.

So, for the time being, they’re nestled in the store basement while visions of sales dance in Sondermann’s head.

She’s also stocking up on gift items.

“We especially beef up our accessory department with scarves and hats. We order in a lot of jewelry, which won’t come in until later,” she said.

She has ordered lot of home décor items and bathrobes and items designed for pampering, which sell best during the holidays, she said.

Sondermann said she never waits to make orders because a lot of her vendors run out of special items and she likes to get her pick of the best selection so she can pass that variety onto her customers.

Speculation about a poor shopping season this year hasn’t fazed Sondermann.

“We decided to not cut back on the amount of inventory coming from the standpoint that you have to have the goods to make good sales,” she said. “We’re counting on our customers to come in as they always have.”

Rebecca Berg, who owns Barracuda Bazaar, a women’s boutique in Old Colorado City, said she also plans to order for this year exactly as she did last year.

“We’re just expecting the same or better sales than we had last year,” Berg said. “We’ve been here 16 years and every year gets a little better.”

Of course, when she says every year is better than the last, she’s speaking in terms of net profit. When sales slowed last year, she moved to a smaller and more affordable location a block away and ordered fewer items.

Berg has already made most of her holiday orders and will finish up before the end of the month.

“Some places you have to order early because they need the order before they will make the product,” she said.

Most of her vendors, though, stock merchandise and she could get away with ordering at the last minute, she said. But some vendors offer incentives for early orders. Either way, she won’t have to worry about placing orders while her store is jammed with shoppers in November, she said.

“We usually start working on ordering in August,” Berg said. “We look at the sales from last year to determine what we’ll need. Ship dates are not until November.”

Jeweler Luisa Graff buys diamonds throughout the year and said she tries to go when other owners aren’t buying. She avoids buying specifically for the season, she said.

“You have to anticipate,” she said. “I always try to be prepared and I think anticipation is so important.”

She said she was unsure about how sales might go at her new location on North Nevada Avenue near Interstate 25, but she took a risk and bought more than ever this year.

So far, she says it looks like a good call, because her new store has been busy. So busy, that she’s increased her staff from 15 to 20 to keep pace.

Compleat Game and Hobbies has not only begun ordering holiday merchandise, but it has already racked up at least one holiday sale so far.

Store manager Carl Quick said an early bird shopper picked up a Christmas-themed jigsaw puzzle in the last couple of weeks.