Park ranger plush toys are available at EN’s San Juan NHS park store, where sales and visitation have rebounded post-Hurricane Maria. Photo: NPS

Park ranger plush toys are available at EN’s San Juan NHS park store, where sales and visitation have rebounded post-Hurricane Maria. Photo: NPS

Winter Sales Update

The government shutdown over the winter affected Eastern National’s sales and other operations. We have adjusted our plans and procedures to get back on the trail, and there is sunlight ahead. Read more…

Unlike prior shutdowns, Eastern National was able to continue operations at about 30 locations with agreements that allowed us conditional approval to remain open. As a result, we were able to generate revenue at some locations such as National Mall and Memorial Parks, Statue of Liberty NM and Ellis Island, San Juan NHS, Vicksburg NMP, Ozark-St. Francis National Forests, and Natchez NHP. Through February, company-wide sales are down 13 percent to prior year for the same time period. The impact of the shutdown would have been more severe if it had happened during a busier time of year or if we were unable to continue operations at select sites.

We are pleased to report that post-hurricane recovery progress continues in Puerto Rico. Visitation and sales continue to rebound toward pre-storm levels in the Caribbean stores at San Juan NHS and El Yunque National Forest. While we aren’t back to historical norms quite yet, year-to-date sales at San Juan NHS are 93 percent of pre-storm levels. Sales at El Yunque National Forest, which was devastated by storms, are 32 percent of pre-storm levels.

During the shutdown, Eastern National gathered field managers for the three-day Back to Base Camp training. A training team delivered professional development in the areas of workforce planning, customer service, merchandising, inventory replenishment, use of new technology, and strategic partnership.

As we prepare for spring break and National Park Week, Eastern National staff is back in action. We are busy with seasonal hiring, product planning, and merchandising stores. New item development and inventory replenishment resumed quickly after the shutdown to ensure good stock levels going into the spring season.

Behind the scenes, the Retail Operations Leadership Team is preparing for the launch of the Grow Sales Evaluation—a yearlong formal program evaluation of the variables that affect our same-store sales. We will closely monitor the performance of 14 Eastern National stores over a period of five months to see the effect of specific internal controls such as brand implementation, store design, product mix, and inventory management. This will help us prepare for the next generation of America’s National Park stores.

It’s been a bumpy start to the new year, but our mission remains the same: to provide quality educational experiences, products, and services. With planning, collaboration, and a commitment to our mission, we are all moving in the right direction.