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Many retail businesses have a strong seasonal component and see the majority of their profits generated in one or two seasons of the year, the year-end or Christmas season being a typically busy period.There are predictable events that can influence sales in every month of the year.Most businesses experience some ebb and flow in business and in many cases these fluctuations correspond with the seasons.Seasonal business is a term that refers to the fluctuations in business that correspond to changes in season.Perhaps the best example of this, in cold climates, is the amount of snow that falls.Snowfall levels can affect any number of businesses, from ski resorts to hardware stores that sell snowblowers, salt, and chemical de-icers.On the other hand, some lawn care businesses in the northern United States may attempt to put their equipment and machinery to use during their off-season by cultivating a snow removal service in the winter months.The movie industry remains one of the largest industries in the world driven by seasonal buying habits.
For truly seasonal businesses, there are often situations beyond the business's control that cause sales to fluctuate wildly each year, with almost no way to predict what will happen in any given year.
April is the month to market household cleaners and other spring cleaning products, while May features the cash cow that is Mother's Day. September features back-to-school sales, while October is a marketing bonanza thanks to Halloween and the World Series.
June features a lot of family activities, such as weddings, graduations, and vacations. Finally, November and December are the biggest months of the year for almost every retailer because of the holidays—Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Kwanza, Christmas, and New Year's.
If the snow does fall, then all sales are final, and the merchant was able to sell all his snowblowers at full price.
If the snow does not fall, then the merchant normally has taken out a special insurance policy that will cover most of his or her losses from the special sale, which has now turned out to be a worst-case scenario.