Study: Christmas season is more important to New Hampshire retailers than others

Analysis finds 26 percent of Granite State retail sales come during holidays – tops in nation

New Hampshire’s independent retailers are more dependent on holiday sales than their counterparts in other states, according to a study released by Womply, a financial software firm.

According to the study, some 26 percent of Granite State retailers’ annual sales occurred in November and December in 2017, the highest such percentage nationally. New Hampshire also ranked first for the number of average transactions on Black Friday (47) and the highest average revenue ($4,204) and number of transactions (39.2) on Small Business Saturday.

Black Friday was also the best revenue day of the year for New Hampshire retailers, with sales averaging $5,097 (ranking second nationally), which was 175 percent more than average daily sales (the fourth-highest percentage in country.)

Small Business Saturday was New Hampshire retailers’ ninth best day, and Cyber Monday their 16th, with an average $3,657 in revenue (the third highest average total nationally).

The best week was the one before Christmas, when average sales more than double. The two preceding weeks are a close second and third.

But business comes to a sudden halt on Christmas Day, New Hampshire retailers’ worst sales day of the year. Easter is the second worst and February is the slowest month.

Granite State retailers also do well during the rest of the year, according to the study.

Average daily revenue was $1,854 in 2017, with 15.7 transactions and an a purchase price averaging $119, ranking ninth, some 20 percent above the national average.

It all adds up to average annual revenue of $675,778.

The numbers are no surprise to Nancy Kyle, president of the NH Retail Association. Her figures show the there are nearly 50 percent more per capita retail sales in New Hampshire than the nationwide average.

“It’s all because of cross-border shopping,” said Kyle. “All our major retail centers are on the borders with states with a sale tax – Portsmouth, North Conway, Plaistow, Nashua, Lebanon and Keene.”

Still, Kyle couldn’t come up with a reason holiday sales take up a larger percentage in New Hampshire than elsewhere. Nor was she sure whether the 26 percent figure was on the mark.

“If you are a jewelry store, it might make sense, but if you were a lawn and garden place, probably not.”

The Womply analysis is based on transactions of 54,000 businesses, including 300 in New Hampshire. That’s less than a tenth of the roughly 650,000 retail establishments with fewer than 500 employees in the United States, and of the 3,600 such business in New Hampshire, according to figures from the U.S. Small Business Administration.

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