Laura Finaldi

Sarasota Herald-Tribune

Customers scrounging through racks on Black Friday might not see it, but there’s a lot of technical planning that goes into the holiday season at Scout & Molly’s boutique.

Long before visions of sugar plums are dancing in anyone’s head, the corporate office of the women’s clothing retailer does an autopsy of the previous holiday season – What sold? What worked? What flopped? – followed by a third-party analysis of the company’s holiday purchasing power. Then the vice president of merchandising talks with each franchisee about what’s “in” this year, and what they might want to sell.

“When you’re in New York, gloves might be very trendy, but in Florida they’re not so trendy. She caters her suggestions and recommendations,” John Simon, the COO of Scout & Molly’s and husband of Lakewood Ranch franchisee Nikki Simon, said. Then the less technical stuff happens – decorations are hung, cookies are brought out and customer service gets amped up ahead of the mad rush of people.

No two retail companies prepare for the holiday shopping season in the same way. But the process Scout & Molly’s goes through echoes preparations made by companies big and small ahead of the holiday shopping season, traditionally the busiest time of the year for retailers.

Despite economic pressure points like inflation and major events such as Hurricane Ian, several retailers in the Sarasota-Manatee area said they expect this year’s holiday season to be a good one.

Posted on June 7th, 2023