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Why you can’t afford to hold back on buying

Many retailers prudently approached autumn 09 by buying less forward order, reducing their brand offer and keeping very tight controls on their operating costs and cash flow. Now, as Christmas approaches, the buying season for autumn 10 looms large, so what can we expect this time around?

As brands, I feel we need to raise our game and adapt to the new buying curve. We are experiencing reduced consumer traffic flow, so we must put ourselves in a position to capitalise on every customer coming through the door.

This season, a large percentage of retailers under-bought and found themselves caught out with a lack
of the right stock as manufacturers and wholesalers tightened their reorder stock supplies. This trend will continue for some time, so we have to optimise our buying plan, trust our intuition, know our winners and buy these in good depth.

Knitwear, for example, was the top-selling category this autumn, but it was totally under-bought. Knitwear is currently experiencing a revival as the
new outerwear, and it will be an even bigger player for 2010. Our knitwear experienced an amazing retail performance this autumn in a very difficult trading climate, and this was followed by double-digit growth for spring 10, yet we were inundated with requests for stock that was in very limited supply.

Be confident about your customers and your
winners for autumn 10, and buy these with conviction to ensure guaranteed sales. Focus on buying the right garment for the seasonality of the climate, offer a look to create multiple sales and do not forget your opening price points.

  • Geraldine Bennett is UK managing director of womenswear business Oui Group UK

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