Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Old vs. New

In the world of fashion, there are two extremes:  the new and trendy and the old and vintage and anything in the middle is considered horrific, or is it?  Let’s think through a few different possibilities and how to turn the horrific into fabulous again.

Have some end of season merchandise hanging in your store or warehouse?
1. Get rid of it
            Liquidate – Whether it be in your store, selling it to an off price store (Fox’s, TJMaxx etc), or checking with your contacts such as sales reps for info on where they sell of their samples, get rid of it!  One of my favorite business consultants Jane Hamill gets it right when she says to take a loss – some cash is better than no cash!
Retail events – Retail events occur fairly regularly in many cities throughout the country.  These are great places to meet new customers and clear old merchandise without your store or brand in question.  If you choose to build your email list through these events, we suggest adding a list for “clearance or sale” customers so you can market to them appropriately.
Clearance sale- Although the ultimate goal is to have all customers buy your merchandise full price, it’s realistic.  Especially when sizes are involved, stores often times rely on the right person to have the right body type at the right time and this simply doesn’t always happen.  Twice a year for a clearance sale is pretty normal (check out Nordstrom’s twice yearly sale) and a good way to reward some of your best customers with priority notice or pre-shopping benefits.  Remember to notify those customers on your sale or clearance list after your top shoppers have been through!

2.  Buy it
            Closeouts – it’s all about the blended margin.  A great resource for finding high margin goods since you can get it for less are closeout sales.  Look at this for basics and things you know you can sell.  Why not make some of these items private label?  Check out Retail Minded for a great description of the difference between liquidation and closeouts
Vendor sales on old or past seasons – Ask your top selling lines if they have any merchandise from prior seasons or returns from other stores of your top selling merchandise and get it back in the store at a better price. 

If old stuff is so bad, then new stuff must be awesome! Right?!?
How many turns do you try for a year?  Most boutiques are looking for 4/year based on the seasonality of their business, but what if you could pull more?  Inventory turn  is the life blood of any product intensive business and the key to success.  All decisions should be made based on how fast it will turn and produce a profit. 

Happy shopping!

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