The tail end of 2020 looks very different to what anyone expected earlier in the year, so it’s time to update your retail calendar to match! While holiday dates remain the same, conferences and events have moved to 2021, or reverted to virtual alternatives.
You might think a retail calendar is simply a normal calendar with retail-based events like holiday seasons, brand shows, or conferences noted onto it. That’s not quite the full picture. It’s a particular way of laying out the year that has two major benefits:
There are two commonly used methods – the 4-4-5 and the 4-5-4. Without using these, you end up with data that’s hard to use. For instance, your retail calendar 2020 has four weekends in January, whilst your retail calendar 2021 has five. By using one of these methods, you even out the number of weekends and make it easier to compare.
The 4-4-5 method consists of four quarters, each of 91 days (13 weeks). Month one and two in each quarter are four weeks, whilst month three is five weeks. It also starts in February, not January. That means.
Using the 4-4-5 method, your retail week calendar 2021 breaks down like so:
You’ll have noticed something missing here – four times 91 is 364, so the 30th January 2021 isn’t accounted for. That means every five or six years, a week is added to the fiscal calendar.
The 4-5-4 calendar is similar, but month two is the one that has five weeks. This was derived in the 1930s, and is the one most commonly used by businesses. Using this method, your retail week calendar 2021 breaks down like this:
As above, the 30th of January isn’t accounted for.
Depending on the method you use, the five week months are:
Whilst using the standard calendar, the months with five weekends in 2021 are January, May, August, and October.
You can already see what one of the downsides of a retail calendar might be. It’s great for comparing quarters and equivalent days, but not good for comparing month to month sales. Using the 4-5-4 method, February has one week less than March, so direct comparisons are hard.
This is often made up for by the advantage of long-term data gathering, where each month and quarter has the same number of weekends regardless of how the actual months fall on the standard calendar. Your merchandising calendar 2020 can be directly compared to 2021 with ease, instead of having to manually account for the fact that January 2020 had one less weekend on the standard calendar than 2021. This is helpful for physical stores and online sellers.
Now we’ve got that clear, let’s take a look at what important dates you need to add to your retail calendar.