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Spread the load with pre-season collections

Dana Zingher is co-founder of Enclothed, an online personal shopping service for men.

Dana Zingher

Dana Zingher

The threats of double-dip recessions, EU country bailouts and job insecurities are harsh realities the British public has become all too familiar with in recent times. The economic uncertainty has inevitably impacted and changed our lifestyles and altered our buying behaviour. As a result, shoppers have become savvier with their money and businesses have had to change the way they operate as they strive to keep pace with the public.
We are experiencing a ‘consumer leading the supplier’ effect. The consumer now buys less but more frequently. They are looking for items that will last longer and take them through a number of seasons rather than searching for purely one-wear items.

As a result, the retail market has been forced to respond. What we are starting to see develop is a greater focus on buying pre-season collections in the run-up to spring 15. This means budgets are being spread throughout the year, rather than focusing on two large season buys, with a considerable number of brands actually shifting their priorities towards this dispersed allocation of buying budgets. A number of brands are exploring the possibility that eventually 80% of a buyer’s budget will be set to pre-season stock, with 20% towards mainline stock.

This not only will relieve the product forecasting pressures that buyers face each season, but will also will ease cash-flow concerns. Pre-season buying also helps a retailer sell items for a longer period of time than is currently possible, as the stock tends to focus on transitional pieces that will take shoppers through a number of seasons rather than being just a one-season buy. This also satisfies consumers’ growing inclination to spend less, yet more frequently, as they will start to see many more ‘fresh’ items on a shop floor than they currently do. This will lead to a more enjoyable shopping experience as a result. Meanwhile, buyers benefit
by being able to budget more effectively with less stock wastage.

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