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Who tells you what to do?

This is one for the indie retailers out there. How much do the brands really dictate to you about what you buy? This is one of the questions that refuse to go away and I have been receiving different answers to this for years now.
Now I thought that all of the brands had become a lot more accommodating in the tough climate but I have just been speaking to one retailer who told me this wee story…

One day a well known and high profile brand phoned a northern retailer to ask, with a degree of heavy handedness, why the retailer hadn’t ordered more? The retailer responded that if anyone knew the local customers then it was someone who sold to them every day, surely?
No, not good enough, said the brand, you have to order more of the key lines.

OK, thought the retailer, I’ll keep the peace. And off went a much-enlarged order. A week later the brand called back and told said retailer that the order wsa far too big and it had to be halved. Distribution has to be controlled you see.

What?

Now, I understand that brands have their own drums to bang and rightly want to control their distribution but where is the line drawn?
What are your experiences? Is this a blip and things are actually a lot better than they used to be? Or perhaps you work at a brand and you feel that retailers fail to understand your perspective?

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