Industry insiders share their thoughts.
We still buy predominantly on forward-order budgets, but now keep back 30% of our total to pick up on in-season product hitsfrom brands such as J Brand and By Malene Birger, as well as new brands if we spot something we love. There aren’tmany short-order brands available for premium contemporary retailers, which is a shame because we would definitely look at them.
For many years, about 90% of budget across our brands was forward order with a little bit held back for in-season repeats. Over the past few years we’ve shifted towards 60% forward order, and then 40% spent with a number of short-order brands like The Cuckoo’s Nest and Native Youth. Our customers are fashion-savvy and switched on to trends, so we need brands that can turn around looks in a matter of weeks. With brands like these we source the best when it comes to trends, and it keeps us independent.
The brands we look to buy have a forward-order structure in place - less than 1% of our budget is kept back for in-season orders. Occasionally, we will source a range that is available for short order and suitable for our store, such as American Vintage.
We hold more than 20% of our budget for in-season spend, allowing us to be agile in taking on new brands as we see them, but also to keep stocked up on our bestsellers such as H by Hudson shoes, which we buy in season. We don’t tend to buy any clothing brands in season as most of our brand mix is still forward order.