The 4-5-4 calendar is a calendaring system that divides the year by fiscal weeks. This type of calendar is common in the merchandising, marketing, and finance departments of retail organizations.
Since the majority of retail sales occur on Saturdays and Sundays, using a standard Gregorian calendar would cause months with more weekend days to appear as if they had performed better. Additionally, this difference in days month-to-month makes it difficult to compare performance year-over-year. Many retailers operate on a 53 fiscal week calendar in which “months” alternate between having four and five weeks – a system known as 4-5-4.
This has clear benefits for accounting and merchandising purposes, but why does this system matter for retail marketers? In short, it is critical for marketing departments to align campaign and content KPIs with the overall business goals of the organization, and the ultimately goal of any retail company is to drive sales. So, if sales are measured in fiscal weeks, it makes sense to measure marketing performance in the same terms.
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