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Our buying has changed with the weather

Adriana Green, Owner of womenswear retailer Scarecrow Boutique in Crouch End, London.

Over the past few years we at Scarecrow have made a conscious decision to change the way we buy for our boutique.

This has not come about as a result of the recession and tough trading times - even though these issues have certainly had an impact.

It is, rather, because of the weather and how erratic and changeable it has become. As a result, we have stopped forward ordering, as we have found that traditional clothing seasons are now so out of synch with what is happening outdoors.

In February, when we would receive the start of our spring collections, the weather would be freezing cold and snowing, and the last thing our customers wanted to buy was a cute floral blouse. Instead, they wanted coats, knitwear, hats and gloves.

In September we received our winter deliveries and, unsurprisingly, our customers did not want to buy things like coats and heavy knits while it was still warm and sunny. So we faced a dilemma.

After long discussions we eventually decided it was foolish to continue buying our stock like this - we were losing out and so were our customers.

We were already picking up some stock weekly or fortnightly to update our lines because most of our customers are locals and regularly come in once a week to see new pieces.

Now we go buying once or twice a week, either physically or online with our suppliers. This way we know what the weather will be like - and we know what our customers are likely to want and need there and then.

We have not completely stopped ordering in advance, but we only do so from labels and designers that supply short orders. This gives us more control over delivery times and stock.

The weather is changing and we have had to as well. So far it is working for us.

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