Three down

We bought the bookstore three years ago in August. Maybe there is some light at the end of the tunnel, if you squint at the numbers in a certain way.

This is my preferred way to measure our overall performance: total revenue from the previous 52 weeks, in this case measured over the last three years.

You can see that we are doing much better.

  • Total revenue in the first 52 weeks (August 1, 2016 to July 24, 2017) was $64,601 excluding GST.

  • Total revenue for the same 52 weeks this year (July 30, 2018 to July 29, 2019) was $114,370, up 77 per cent (!).

You can also see that the pace of improvement has slowed. Our second year was much better than our first. Our third year is a bit better than our second.

This is weekly data, so it does move around a bit. The big jumps are usually when we had a successful quarterly clearance sale, or when we got paid for a big Books by the Metre delivery, our service that provides books in bulk for interior decoration. The big drops are mostly a year later, if our sale was less successful or we didn't have a big order come through in the same week.


Revenue is made up of how much each customer spends times the number of customers. The big gain has actually been in the latter. Average revenue per customer oscillates around about $23 and has never changed much (more on this here).

This is what the average number of sales per trading day looks like for every month we have been in business. You can see that we were below ten back in the dark days when we first bought the store. Nowadays things are a bit more chirpy, if still volatile. You can see the peaks in the summer months, and the effect of the quarterly clearance sales we have, starting from July 2017.

And this is what revenue per customer looks like. This is GST exclusive, so the $20 level that it sits around is equivalent to the $23 figure I mentioned above. God bless March 2018 when a big sale came through. Boo to February 2019, when we had lots of customers but not many high-spending ones.


I said in the previous post that recently I had recalculated our costs more accurately. They add up to the princely sum of a bit over $10k a month, about half staffing, a third rent, and a bit under 20 per cent for everything else including books. So at this point we are losing about $10k a year, not impossible but not desirable either.

Here's looking forward to a good summer.