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We can’t keep blaming it on the weatherman

It’s a trait that comes with the handbook of being British, but people moaning about the weather is really grating at the moment.

Barely an hour goes by without someone complaining about the humidity, the dry heat, how difficult it is to dress for
this weather or that the air conditioning is on too cold. And it’s not just those wearing the clothes. Regular as
clockwork, out come retailers with some story or other about how it’s been too hot for people to shop, or too cold, or too wet or too dry.

The news that denim has seen a 1.5% rise in year-on-year sales since January, compared with a decline of 14.9% for chinos over the same period, should be filed in the ‘you don’t say?’ box along with the revelation that the Earth continues to turn on its axis and a bear does indeed do its business in wooded areas.

People tend to buy clothes because it’s hot and they don’t own many shorts, or it’s cold and they’re a bit light on jumpers. Until just a few weeks ago, the weather had been drab and drizzly for months, so it’s no wonder jeans sales rose (modestly) as the lighter-weight chinos dropped off. While the crest of the chino wave was some time ago (although it seemed crazy at the time to declare something as basic as a pair of trousers as being ‘back’ while something similarly fundamental to a man’s wardrobe such as jeans was on the wane), I wouldn’t be surprised one bit if chino sales have rallied in the last month or so.

It’s not easy for retailers, but they need to be on their toes more than ever - there’s no meteorological Nostradamus, but we all know it’s a gamble every season. Our country is famous for its four-seasons-in-one-day climate so why be so shocked when the weather changes? Backing trends is central to maximising sales, but if bad results are going to be pinned on Mother Nature and not poor planning, we’ve got some stormy weather ahead.

Readers' comments (1)

  • Thierry BAYLE

    Ian,

    Thank you.
    This is what we 100% focus on with our retail clients : planning.
    We hate retailers giving us excuses about THINGS they do not control such as the weather.
    Let's work hard on the THINGS YOU DO CONTROL: buying, selling, sales forecasting, training and this will make a difference to the business.
    Of course, the weather is playing against us.
    This is why with our Open to Buy plan, we can make sure that the stock remains lean.
    When I speak with retailers, analyse their data, many have product classes which hold stock for 6 months!! They do not know it - or refuse to admit it - and no action is taken.

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