How can I avoid problems brought about by unseasonal weather?

Buying issues are often created when consumer shopping patterns do not meet the projected buying cycles of stores. This type of problem manifests itself primarily in too much or too little stock being ordered, which is not dissimilar to what happens when products that are ‘hits’ or ‘misses’ during a fashion season.

Jim Brownell, vice-president of retail industry solutions at GT Nexus, says periods of prolonged bad weather can often impact the sales patterns of seasonal clothing and leave retailers with an overstock that is difficult to move. He says: “It is important to postpone buying decisions as much as possible in order to get a better read on the situation.”

Although delaying the buying process in some instances is not possible because of lead times on raw materials, production cycles and factory capacity, it is important to keep track of the timeline to make sure you are buying at the right time and with the right level of insight.

In most situations, depending on the size and value of the initial purchase, holding inventory back in distribution centres and not allocating 100% to the final selling location is the best method for maximising margin and profitability downstream in the supply chain.

Brownell says: “This offers an inventory that is flexible and not already committed at a store or channel level, allowing retailers to distribute as the season unfolds and avoid unnecessary overstocks.”