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Happy New Year! Coming off a terrific holiday season is a bit of a letdown. Sales are slowing and returns are growing. Sigh. If you are new to the business or if this is your first holiday season, you may be asking yourself, “what do I sell now?” This is an excellent week to plan the next six months of your business.

In January, my focus shifts away from toys (although I buy and sell toys all year round) to books, self-help/self-improvement products and gifts. From diet books to yoga mats, January is about repentance and self-renewal.

The big retailers are having their white sales, which makes it a good time to look at licensed bed sets, pillows and bedroom decorations.

Upcoming gift buying events include Valentine’s Day, Graduation, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. You’ll want to get your inventory in place for these events at least a month in advance. In addition, people have babies and birthdays every day of the year.

If you picked your local Targets, Big Lots, ToysRus and Walmarts clean over the holidays, think about thrift stores, book stores (lots of them will be having sales) and other stores that you’ve not yet shopped. Home Depot and Lowes are clearing inventory right now. Friends of the Library groups will be hosting book sales soon – be sure you are on the mailing list of all of them so you can get early entry privileges.

Look at the dollars you have to spend, the stores and sales nearby, and make a plan for yourself.

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