Creating Christmas At All-In-One

How We Create Christmas At All-In-One

Week 1...

Firstly, the main showroom and entrance is cleared of the Summer Outdoor Living ranges, leaving the shop floor looking extremely empty.
Our second major task is to line the ceiling with fire retardant black out material and put up the thousands of twinkling fairy lights to give the impression of a starry night within our magical Christmas wonderland.
The fairy lights are laid out on the empty shop floor, un-raveled and then tested to identify if any bulbs need replacing. With safety stands in place the team start putting the lights in place.
We use 3400 square metres of fire retardant material to line the roof and walls.
The material is fully tested and approved by the Fire Service to ensure it can with stand the heat generated from the lights.
Over 47,000 lights are manually installed into the ceiling every year which takes a five man team approximately 1 week.
There is over 540 square metres of wire netting used to ensure the lights stay in place.
Next week we start putting the coloured themed vignettes into position…

Week 2...

With the ceiling looking like a dark night sky with wonderful twinkling lights we are now in a position to start bringing the Christmas fixtures, shelving and stands down onto the empty shop floor. These are fixed in place based on the Christmas display floor plan.
Some of the fixtures are huge ‘L’ shaped units that we use to create our tree or lifestyle displays. Luckily we have our very own “Handy Andy” who is affectionately known as “Maintenance Mike”. Mike designs and builds all of our structures and fixings so they meet our specific requirements and space constraints perfectly.
Whilst the fixtures are being positioned on the shop floor some of the team get involved in painting the background walls to co-ordinate with the many coloured themes we select each year.
Meanwhile our Merchandising Manager is busy preparing for the displays and buys various ‘props’ to keep areas looking fresh each year.
The rest of the team are busy in the background ensuring that all stock is in the computer and given stock locations within our stores. This preparation helps the visual merchandisers replenish stock quickly as it does literally fly off the shelf during November and December.
It’s also at this point that we take bookings for our famous Supper with Santa event held in store during December. Customers travel from all over the North West to ensure they secure a place for their children. It does get booked up very quickly and it has been know to be booked up within 3 weeks of issue.
Next week the stock starts arriving on the shop floor…
From mid October through to the end of December we recruit an additional 40% of seasonal staff to boost our team of “Santa’s Little Helpers”.

Week 3...

This is quite a big week when the shop floor transforms itself from an empty space to a Christmas shop filled with decorations, garlands and tableware.
The teams are briefed each morning and split into groups to ensure that our award winning Christmas is open to the public as quickly as possible.
One team works on displaying and filling the Christmas decorations and novelty stock within the coloured themes. These particular staff tend to sparkle from head to toe by the end of each working day due to the glitter items they handle!
Another team displays our many different Christmas light strings available (at the back of the shop), creating an eyecatching effect.
Whilst the remaining team put the artificial Christmas Trees up for the showroom display.
With the majority of staff tied up with Christmas we rely heavily on a small team to ensure the high standards of customer service is still being delivered across the store as well as being available to receive the delivery of stock that arrives daily on site.
Next week the displays are finalised and we start to organise Santa’s Grotto…
We use approximately 500 extension leads within our Christmas displays – that’s enough for over 2000 plugs.

Week 4...

With the majority of areas just in need of the final finishing touches by the visual merchandisers it’s time for the teams to now focus on specifics.
Our display of artificial Christmas trees are dressed in the various coloured themes to show customers just how stunning the range will look decorated upon Christmas trees.
The Christmas tableware range and displays are laid out showing customers how to create stylish table settings in various colourways.
It’s not just the inside of the store that we consider when planning Christmas, the outside is equally important as this gives both new and old customers that all important first impression. Outdoor lights, trees and decorations are positioned in the car park, at the front of store and on the approach to the store to maximise the effect.
When dressing the Christmas trees we always work in odd numbers as this is aesthetically pleasing for the human eye.

Week 5...

With the displays now virtually finished, the merchandising team work on making sure stock is replenished and fully available to customers.
Work now starts of building Santa’s Grotto in anticipation of his arrival the last weekend in November and every weekend during December.
All of the displays are finished and proudly showcase each colour theme beautifully.