...to wish retailers would just look out the fecking window?

(193 Posts)
somewherewest Sat 30-Mar-13 19:18:09

...inspired by our local branch of Jojo Maman Tres Expensif*, which is chocca with sunhats and swimwear despite the fact its fecking -5 outside. Seriously? There were icicles overhanging their beachwear window display last week.

*I realise this immediately discloses the fact that we're not in Toxteth or Brixton

noisytoys Sat 30-Mar-13 19:19:17

YANBU. Baby DD has lost all her mittens and I can't find some more anywhere!!

Euphemia Sat 30-Mar-13 19:20:20

It's all Head Office shite, isn't it? Individual stores in a chain just have to do what they're told.

bootsycollins Sat 30-Mar-13 19:20:55


GadaboutTheGreat Sat 30-Mar-13 19:21:14

I went in 5 shops t'other day looking for gloves for toddler DD. Nowhere to be found confused

BrianButterfield Sat 30-Mar-13 19:22:06

We went away this week and forgot DS's hat - well in a freezing gale he needed one so we went to a huuuuge Tesco Extra where they had ONE hat in his size. Luckily it was reduced to £1, but still. Racks of bikinis, sun hats, flip flops etc though.

Floristneedsaname Sat 30-Mar-13 19:22:06

It's what they're stocked with by Head Office. Individual stores don't chose what to stock.

They'll have planned their marketing, sales & supply MONTHS in advance. It's a nightmare for them too as they don't want to lose sales or have too much stock but it's practically impossible - in a big chain anyway - to turn it round.

Sparklingbrook Sat 30-Mar-13 19:24:10

Went to Matalan in the week. It was snowing outside and there were racks of maxi dresses and flip flops. angry

somewherewest Sat 30-Mar-13 19:25:06

Floristneedsaname I was guessing it wasn't individual stores. I've also been trying to source new gloves for 1yo DS. No joy. Its particularly frustrating with things for small children because they are forever outgrowing/trashing/losing things.

There was so much unsold summer stock at our Asda last year after filling the entire foyer with the reduced stuff they had it in massive gazebos AND a covered trolley area outside. Quite sad in a way.

OHforDUCKScake Sat 30-Mar-13 19:27:03

My toddler lost his mitten too. So he wears one puppy mitten and one of my huge gloves. confused

gallicgirl Sat 30-Mar-13 19:27:10

I have some mittens. PM me your address and I'll post next week.

Longfufu Sat 30-Mar-13 19:30:03

Unfortunately buyers have to buy clothes from suppliers often months in advance, so they have to plan to launch spring summer ranges inline with typical weather patterns. Last year it was around 15 degrees, march is the usual time to launch spring summer ranges. As much as your frustrated...buyers and merchandisers will be shitting themselves right now as stock will not be selling.

Yes I'm one of those Head office merchandisers grin

Sparklingbrook Sat 30-Mar-13 19:32:07

Do buyers and suppliers not have the power to switch back to the winter stuff that will actually sell for a bit? confused

Khaleese Sat 30-Mar-13 19:33:33

Not only that longfufu but your up against last years bumper sales :-)

mrsmindcontrol Sat 30-Mar-13 19:34:42

Apocalypse, are you near me (south coast) or did every Asda flog off their summer tat in the car park last year?

Khaleese Sat 30-Mar-13 19:35:51

No sparkling it's coming, youve ordered it 12 weeks ahead ( far east) it's on the water. You can't leave it at port ( huge costs) the wArehouse needs to process it and get it out. You started discounting weeks ago so your shelves are bare.

All a stressy nightmare.

Sparklingbrook Sat 30-Mar-13 19:36:42

shock There really needs to be a back up plan Khaleese.

marjproops Sat 30-Mar-13 19:37:19

poundland still have scarves/hats/gloves.

had to buy some lst week.

marjproops Sat 30-Mar-13 19:38:36

btw all those you mentioned are the shops that start displaying christmas decorations 1st week of July grin

pigletmania Sat 30-Mar-13 19:39:09

I would look on e bay for mittens and hats

Khaleese Sat 30-Mar-13 19:39:56

:-) it's not that simple you buy your ranges nine months ahead usually.

Your buying christmas at easter etc...( and your sick of christmas by the time it arrives)

What if you order more gloves now and next week there is a heat wave?? Lead times are long..

Longfufu Sat 30-Mar-13 19:41:44

The lead times vary but generally most high street stores buy from the far east/India etc. It takes 4-5 weeks to ship goods by sea, but a hell of a lot of work goes into designing the product, approving colour swatches, safety checks etc etc...so as you can imagine most of the stock could have been booked months ago.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Sat 30-Mar-13 19:41:47

Sparkling, what kind of back up plan? Thousands of factories in South East Asia making clothes and accessories for hundreds of retailers and brands across the world. It can't be done.

EBay is my back up plan!

Sometimes though it's good- loads of reduced stuff (jumpers, tights, quilted jackets) that are wearable now.

What really narks me is school uniform in July (before DC leave school. Then nothing the size that you want in August) . They grow like weeds in the 6 weeks. And WRT online. I had nightmares with DS blazer ordered online last year angry )

Sparklingbrook Sat 30-Mar-13 19:43:28

Is every single bit of the winter stuff sold before the summer stuff comes out?

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Sat 30-Mar-13 19:43:55

...ie for buying out of season stuff.

Sparklingbrook Sat 30-Mar-13 19:44:50

Oh YY to having to buy school trousers in July otherwise by August when they actually go back there's nothing left. Yes you M&S.

StuntGirl Sat 30-Mar-13 19:45:07

^"No sparkling it's coming, youve ordered it 12 weeks ahead ( far east) it's on the water. You can't leave it at port ( huge costs) the wArehouse needs to process it and get it out. You started discounting weeks ago so your shelves are bare.

All a stressy nightmare."^

This. It's planned months and months ahead. They have no idea what the weather/social conditions will be next season, they just go off predictions from previous years.

Means I end up walking past Peacocks staring longingly at the gorgeous maxi dress in the window which is a) massively inappropriate for the weather now and b) probably going to stay massively inappropriate knowing English summers!

Euphemia Sat 30-Mar-13 19:45:11

Try finding a swimming costume from August onwards. Retailers have no clue.

Back to school stuff in shops in June.

Halloween crap from September.

Christmas shite from August.

Easter assortment from Boxing Day.

Barbecue equipment and summer dresses at the end of the coldest March since 1962.


AuntieStella Sat 30-Mar-13 19:46:07

My gripe isn't so much with the seasonal changeovers (though I do wish they would put it back a couple of weeks at every change).

But it is with:
a) swimming costumes and trunks - children swim all year round indoors and winter sun holidays aren't rare or prohibitively expensive any more.
b) children grow and lose things - school uniform items in the colours of schools local to the store will all sell year round

Obviously with both those you might want to have more at known peak times, but they really shouldn't ever disappear.

Sparklingbrook Sat 30-Mar-13 19:47:17

And people wonder why the High Street is on it's knees. confused

Khaleese Sat 30-Mar-13 19:47:50

No sparkling you phase it out and in. It's a complicated job to trying to cover all the risks. No one is sadder at the lost opportunities than the buying teams.

It's deffo about being organised, school uniform, yes just about to buy mine for next year...

Longfufu Sat 30-Mar-13 21:09:26

Dammed if you dammed if you don't.

The consumer is the one that really decides what product we have in store and when we have it. If people where willing to pay more for their clothes then we probably wouldn't need to buy from the far east, and in turn would be able to buy from Europe/uk with shorter lead times. Meaning we could react quicker to things like the weather.

I analysis sales and buy appropriately looking at how last year stocks performed, I'm not a weather girl and I couldnt have predicted that it would be -5 now. Yes it's frustrating.

BuggedByJake Sat 30-Mar-13 21:13:41

Where do expect them to get more winter stock from? Stock is bought a year previously & delivered regardless of weather.

Sparklingbrook Sat 30-Mar-13 21:16:04

Where did the old winter stock go? The stuff that didn't sell before the unwanted summer stuff arrived?

It hasn't always worked like this though, has it? This kind of thing is happening more and more. If you have a holiday booked for August then god help you if youve not got your holiday clothes bought by July cos if you want a bikini all you'll get is jumpers and macs. I mean, come on! Buyers have been buying from the Far East for decades and have always got it roughly in sync with the seasons.

Why don't you admit that retailers want to get in first with the new products. They are hoping for customers who are sick of being in jumpers and boots to go a bit doolally at the first sight of some spring/summer wear and buy up all their stock. Problem is, customers are way too savvy for that and also do not have cash to waste these days on buying a summer dress in April just so they can sit and gaze at it lovingly at home dreaming of holidays and barbecues.


StuntGirl Sat 30-Mar-13 21:17:52

The vast majority will have been sold. I don't know about clothing but in my shop (electrical) items can sometimes be sold back to the developers too.

Sparklingbrook Sat 30-Mar-13 21:18:35

It's hard to get excited over a strappy maxi dress when it's snowing outside. In Matalan there are no coats whatsoever in the children's section. Men can have a coat but children can't. confused

HeathRobinson Sat 30-Mar-13 21:19:42

Longfufu - why not try an 'essentials' range of uk-made, available all year round - swimwear, hats, gloves, raincoat etc, etc. Navy, red, black.

I bet they'd sell.

Oh, and while you're at it wink, please can we have girls' school shoes with a decently thick sole on and most of the foot covered.

Khaleese Sat 30-Mar-13 21:23:58

This time lasy year ( heat wave) did you want a coat?

No you wanted that maxi dress! :-)

Personally i buy things like uniform, what i need in the size (say age 5) then one in an age 6 just in case.

Then i'm a forward planner odd i have gloves for next year.

Also swimwear see tkmax all year round.

Khaleese Sat 30-Mar-13 21:25:47

Heath, they would cost you four times the price...do you want a kids swimsuit for £20.99?

BuggedByJake Sat 30-Mar-13 21:26:00

Also window & in store visuals are all ready well in advance.large stores can't simply change these because of the weather, it would cost thousands.

Sparklingbrook Sat 30-Mar-13 21:26:15

But why can men have a coat now but not children?

Sparklingbrook Sat 30-Mar-13 21:27:19

But isn't it costing thousands in lost revenue due to having summer clothes out in minus temperatures Bugged?

Nanny0gg Sat 30-Mar-13 21:27:50

Stop blaming the fact that the stock comes from the far East and India. It's always been the same, even when the stuff was make in the UK.
Reasoning then was the factories couldn't do a fast turnaround so you got what you got when they managed to make it.

It's bloody infuriating. With today's technology and if clothes were made here, they would truly be seasonal.

All of the winter stuff got reduced and sold off after Christmas! Customers have been complaining to us sales staff for weeks that they can't get winter stuff- they didn't complain when they were buying it half price in January. One customer came in complaining that she bought a hat, in the sale, 2 and a half months ago. Her daughter had lost it, and how dare we not still stock the same hat to replace it?

Surprisingly, sales have risen in the last couple of weeks for summer stuff, people are holiday shopping at the moment.

GeekLove Sat 30-Mar-13 21:33:47

Socks will do as emergency toddler gloves. The more fleecy the better.

So, if we managed to stock winter stuff now, what do we do with the summer stuff? Stockrooms aren't large enough to hold two seasons worth of clothes- barely big enough to hold one seasons! And what about when the weather changes again in a couple of weeks, and we get that early heatwave we've had for the last couple of years. Then we would get complaints that it's April and we only have winter stock, what were we thinking? Even if we had the room to store all of the stock, it takes roughly a day for me to merchandise a section (girl/boy/baby)- that means 3 days solid of a complete flip, plus around another 3/4 days to get that giant pile of rotation winter stock away. Won't be able to sell it in the warm weather, and it won't be fashionable enough to sell in a few months time for autumn/winter. What's the answer there?

Sparklingbrook Sat 30-Mar-13 21:41:14

Internet shopping is the way to go. See what is or isn't available without all the dragging about looking at clothes that don't match the weather.

Still don't understand Matalan's coat policy. I may email and ask.

midastouch Sat 30-Mar-13 21:43:11

YANBU my DD has grown out of her snowsuit and i cannot find a coat for her now i have tried just about everywhere, looks like she'll have to wear DS old one age 2-3 hmm

Men probably still have coats out because of buying patterns- I'm guessing slightly here, but a man will buy a coat when he sees it, it will last a couple of years, doesn't really matter about the weather. Men have very different buying habits. Parents typically go coat shopping at set times of the year- September for back to school, or possibly October as the colder weather hits. Then again in the few weeks before Christmas for 'smarter' coats to wear to pantomime, meals out, etc. Those coats are bought to last a certain amount of months, and then the parent will go buy a 'spring' jacket- a mac or waterproof type coat.

Sparklingbrook Sat 30-Mar-13 21:49:33

There wasn't even spring jackets break. confused

Seems it's all geared up for the convenience of the store/stock rotation/putting displays and stock out. Doesn't really matter what the customer needs.

That's probably why you can't buy an Easter Egg at Easter but you can buy all the eggs you want in February....

coffeeinbed Sat 30-Mar-13 21:54:19

I feel a real cow wanting to buy cold weather stuff when it's cold and warm weather stuff when it's warm.
Oh no.
It does not work like that.
All I wanted today was warm tights seeing as it's bloody freezing out and I've worn out all I have.
But no.
All they have is Cooling bare ones which is not good.

Downandoutnumbered Sat 30-Mar-13 21:54:39

Which parents are these? I buy stuff when DS needs it: he doesn't grow at a steady pace. He started this winter in last year's coat which still fitted him, then I bought him a new one in November (on Ebay), then I bought him a second one on Ebay in January when he had an unexpected growth spurt.

Possibly I'm a man: I have been accused of it before...

coffeeinbed Sat 30-Mar-13 21:55:40

I'm not a man.
I just happen to need things seasonally.

Downandoutnumbered Sat 30-Mar-13 21:58:09

Sorry, my previous post was to BreakOutTheKaraoke.

It really can't all be down to seasonal rotation and long lead times. Why can't I buy a single long-sleeved cotton top for DS at this time of year? It would have to be an astoundingly good summer for him to want nothing but T-shirts from here to September!

FunnysInLaJardin Sat 30-Mar-13 21:58:10

lol we tried to buy gloves for the DC today but they have to order months in advance and so assumed a warm summer confused

Sparklingbrook Sat 30-Mar-13 21:58:49

I like the way retailers think they have our shopping habits sussed but they don't. grin I want a coat for a 13 year old now as he has outgrown his. He also needs the next age up school trousers and they don't exist either. Growth spurts in children. shock Who'd have though it?

SirChenjin Sat 30-Mar-13 21:59:31

I realise that it's all down to Head Office, lead times etc etc, but honestly, it's the UK and it's March - who on earth buys flip flops and sunhats in March???? It's not holiday season for a few months yet, why do we always have to buy a season in advance??

Sparklingbrook Sat 30-Mar-13 22:03:29

People going on holiday Sir. confused In August.

Sparkling, you're spot on with the Internet shopping. That's what more and more people will do if shops don't stock what they want when they want it. If shops refuse to listen and blame suppliers, the weather and lead times then don't blame your customers when you start losing profit to online shops. [shrugs]

Sparklingbrook Sat 30-Mar-13 22:06:46

Yes Curly and you don't have to click on bikinis/maxi dresses/flipflops if that's not what you want. The High Street is not geared up for customers it seems.

What needs to happen is that shops get so far ahead of themselves that they are stocking the shops now for autumn 2013. Voila - weather appropriate clothes!!! grin

Sparklingbrook Sat 30-Mar-13 22:10:15

Genius Curly. grin

Meglet Sat 30-Mar-13 22:15:31

Seeing as we don't actually get summer weather anymore, not since 2003 IIRC, then I wish the high street wouldn't stock so many flimsy, sleeveless clothes confused. Our office is frozen with air-con in the spring / summer, so there's no point buying summery clothes as we'll get frostbite.

Sparklingbrook Sat 30-Mar-13 22:17:37

Retailers don't care about that Meglet. Silly. smile They know what people want you see. It was ordered 9 months ago remember.

AuntieStella Sat 30-Mar-13 22:19:09

I prefer to buy in a shop.

But if they haven't got what I want on the shelves, I go online. As I did the week for a replacement plain navy jumper suitable for school for a boy. If I'd wanted a girls cardigan, with a frill, there were plenty of sizes and colours available. Only royal blue plain jumpers. There aren't any schools here that have a royal blue uniform.

SirChenjin Sat 30-Mar-13 22:28:27

I know, Sparkling - when I plan my July/Aug holiday I start buying shorts and t shirts in March. We're in Scotland, we don't get summer until at least the 23rd of August, and even then....! hmm

I'm buying more and more stuff online, which is a PITA as I like to see/feel things in the shop, try on a whole batch of stuff, and then discard what I don't like. I can't be bothered with having to trail to the post depot to collect the stuff and pay to return the items I don't want, but it's becoming more and more necessary to buy clothes this way. DS2 had the temerity to outgrow his school trousers recently, and it was impossible to buy any from the high street.

LimeLeaffLizard Sat 30-Mar-13 22:29:21


I had a baby girl in Feb, and have struggled to dress her warmly. She spends all her time in her grobags and woollen blankets because the clothes available are all summer dresses.

Based on last year, I can't imagine her wearing these dresses in the summer, let alone in March.

Retailers need to look at the real pattern of British summers (as Meglet said = cold and wet) and introduce warmer 'summer' clothes, i.e. long sleeve tops, rain macs, summer weight cardigans.

The current stock looks suitable only for an imaginary fantasy summer.

downandout H&M have long sleeve boys T-shirts that can be layered with short sleeve ones for a bit of warmth. They also have nice bright boys summer weight jumpers.

WallyBantersJunkBox Sat 30-Mar-13 22:29:25

Longfufu and Khaleese have never seen any posters in my line of business on here before!

hellooo! <<excited wave>>

Can I just add a few more points?

People in the industry managing the stock are threatened encouraged to sell through by the end of the season. You never realistically fully sell out in season unless something is an absolute best seller.

The remaining terminal stock you clear in the end of season sale. If you haven't liquidated the stock there is pressure from finance for you to mark it down and clear it by a specific date. A company's health is measured on the season age of the stock. If you have a load of out of date winter then a lot of money is tied up that you cannot spend on future trends. You will also not have the space in stores and distribution centers to store all this stock. So you have to make way for your new stock. So you have to put the money where the least risk is I.e. the season ahead.

Although you try and phase it in, you are dealing with congested ports, and blocked factories, Chinese New Year, queuing containers in Bangalore (I am long in the tooth ladies - I've seen it all [pirates stole my velvet, toy trains fell into the docks! ], so the only way to guarantee you get your stock in before Walmart is to book it earlier and earlier.

I work for a global company, but even I had to queue my production in so early that my SS13 flip flops came in at the beginning of November! If I didn't get them in then, they would have arrived by July due to prebooked capacity.

Yes seasons have always been the same, but factory production in the Far East now has to provide product to a lot of emerging markets with new found wealth now gaining speed in retail - the Middle East, India, Russia, China and many eastern Eutopean countries have growing demands in Consumerism.

God I've written an essay, and I'm supposed to be on holiday! blush

Incidentally - out of season stock tends to stay on the shop floor longer in Outlet stores wink

Our outlets still have winter down jackets and gloves and sales have actually dropped off a cliff, regardless of the cold snap. I can't afford to have 48 items of clothing on a fixture when I am selling less than one a week! My tee shirt sales have risen by 165% on last week, they need the space.

Startail Sat 30-Mar-13 22:37:21

our little Tescos has mittens.

But, I know the problem I had small mid winter babies, they both spent the first two years of their lives wanting bigger Winter clothes in March and bigger Summer clothes in July, just as the seasons changed.

Dear shops this is Britain, little girls need 2 summer dresses, they need at 5 long sleeved tops and leggings, a posh winter dress and tights.

Oh and older DDs grow out of and make holes in tights after Christmas!

My two just ended up in trousers for school, tights were just imposible to get.

AnOeufUniversallyEggnowledged Sat 30-Mar-13 22:50:39

YANBU. DS has gone through a ridiculous growth spurt over the last few weeks and we're desperate for warm clothes for him. Looked in Asda tonight and all they have is fluorescent shorts confused I've just had to go on eBay to get some thermals.

Alibabaandthe40nappies Sat 30-Mar-13 22:51:14

What really bugs me is children's clothes. Children grow continuously, they don't conveniently stop growing in the middle of February and then have a little spurt at the end of April ready to go into the next size up of summer clothes. Nor do they do the same in the middle of August.

You should be able to buy slippers, wellies, trainers, waterproofs, gloves, hats and swimwear all year round.
Well actually you can, if you use a specialist online supplier and pay a bit more - which I would rather do.

I bought DS1 a hat/scarf/glove combo from Asda this winter to use for school rather than using his lovely ones that my Mum knitted for him. They have all fallen apart, and because of this infernally long winter he still needs them. But I can't find anything.

I hardly ever buy anything for the DSs in town because it is all 6 months ahead, by which time they may or may not have grown. The high street needs to get its act together or more and more places are going to go under. It is all very well saying 'this is just how it is', but until people in the industry actually accept that the current model isn't working for consumers then nothing is going to change.
Perhaps when everyone felt more flush a few years ago people didn't mind buying in advance and wasting some cash on things that eventually didn't get used, but not any longer.

As for not being able to buy Easter Eggs at Easter, don't get me started.

floweryblue Sat 30-Mar-13 22:51:51

Wally will no doubt know more than me on this but I think one of the problems is January Sales. Why are clothing retailers clearing their winter stock, slap bang in the middle of winter?

Surely, Easter Sales would be more appropriate, clear winter stock for spring, give 6 months for Spring/Summer collections to sell through before September/Autumn sales?

As it stands, A/W stock starts appearing July-ish time, giving a max of 5 months to sell the clothes we all wear for at least 7 months of the year. So 7 months of the year, the new stock on offer is 'summer', hardly a reliable proposition in the British climate.

WallyBantersJunkBox Sat 30-Mar-13 23:10:07

Flowery you simply don't have the space or capacity to hold it until there is a chance that it might sell 12 weeks later. You can carryover a few safe items but you really have to clear your previous seasons stock under pressure from the business.

If you are bringing in stock from the Far East you have to pull in huge initial quantities in full sizes to "launch" a collection for a season and fill a store. As you have invested in that stock you need to see some return on it and have to send it out regardless of what the weather is doing when it should be spring.

Most retailers have a transition range of 3/4 sleeves, macs, and basics in the Feb/September periods. I've yet to see a wholly successful transition range with any decent sell through ever in retail, and I've done this for nearly 20 years! it is the riskiest time of the season.

You can't fill a store completely with "safe" items in basic colours, it just doesn't draw in customers. You have to have a balance and you have a limit on what you are allowed to spend called open to buy.

Incidentally I have had to sign off SS14 this week, due to the order windows we've been given from the Far East and surprisingly from Turkey who we used to use "in season" to react to trends. So I have had my team plan a range for next year, before we've even started SS13 and had time to analyse any results. sad

Huge huge risk.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Sat 30-Mar-13 23:17:10

Fab posts, Wally.

WallyBantersJunkBox Sat 30-Mar-13 23:20:38

Fab name Doctrine grin

And I spend a bit of time every day looking out of the window, willing the snow to stop!

I have 5000 units of Winter accessories in my outlet stores and sold 40 pieces last week! Where are you ladies!? grin

LineRunner Sat 30-Mar-13 23:20:54

Could you not knit something nice, OP?

cece Sat 30-Mar-13 23:20:59

I'm after size 12 grey school shorts. Can't get them for love nor money...

Alibabaandthe40nappies Sat 30-Mar-13 23:22:15

They may be fab posts in terms of explaining why the current ridiculous situation exists.

But it doesn't get away from the fact that it is hugely annoying to not be able to buy clothing that you can wear immediately for roughly 50% of the year.

Alibabaandthe40nappies Sat 30-Mar-13 23:24:18

Wally - at home not spending anything because all the stock is flip flops, shorts and maxis!

I normally average about £250 a month on clothes, just for myself. Since the beginning of December I have spent £90 on bras, that is all.
The clothes are crap and all polyester, everything is for the wrong season. It utterly sucks. I know I am not the only person not spending.

StuntGirl Sat 30-Mar-13 23:34:41

Oh gosh ali, I am very jealous of your clothes budget! envy

bellabelly Sat 30-Mar-13 23:38:29

Primark were selling off 2-packs of mittens 2 weeks ago. Think I paid £1, worth a look?

floweryblue Sun 31-Mar-13 00:02:16

We used to sell clothes in our small shop, it just didn't work, because of the patterns and pressures of working to the timetables dictated by the big retailers and manufacturers.

I can totally understand that if a multiple has got sales statistics showing what sells when, they will go for that solution. But many multiples are going to the wall because of their lack of flexibility and inability to source what they need when they need it.

Nanny0gg Sun 31-Mar-13 00:17:53

If they haven't got it in stock, they can't sell it.

So might it be that their sales statistics are a little skewed? (and not in favour of the customer)

SinisterBuggyMonth Sun 31-Mar-13 00:28:03

LastJuly I went shopping for my summer holidays and the shops were full of jumpers and mittens.

Lockedout434 Sun 31-Mar-13 00:34:33

Surely the answer is that the Far East factories are dictating when and what is being made rather than tge customer. the tail is wagging the dog. There is space in the market for more factories who are nearer and therefore more responsive and have greater capacity. So source nearer home something up in uk Bradford the must have capacity. Invest in new technology.

Also clothes buyers English summer are shit cardigans and light jumpers are still needed for children to put over the spaghetti strapped thin material dresses that would be ok for Spain etc but in England are totally inappropriate

Thank god for decathlon you can by thick warm jackets and coats all year long. It's my secret weapon for when I buy school coats in September when everything has been swept of the shelves elsewhere.

I always thought the buyers all had some form of OCD that caused them to think everyone bought clothes 2 months ahead. It's just the factories dictating when we can buy clothes.

Lockedout434 Sun 31-Mar-13 00:38:50

Oh and whilst we have their ears

Sleeves put a fucking sleeve on summer dresses. Bingo wings don't look good in summer

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Sun 31-Mar-13 08:27:51

Locked out, if the factories were in the UK, the clothes would cost a heck of a lot more.

I'm happy to join your sleeves campaign though.

Tee2072 Sun 31-Mar-13 08:30:28

And the inability to meet the actual needs of consumers is what is going to kill all brick and mortar stores smaller than a Super ASDA or Tesco.

And it's why so many are in administration, not just the economy.

The 'net is easier, faster, more flexible and, usually, cheaper.

So, buyers on this thread, find a solution...or a new job.

LIZS Sun 31-Mar-13 08:35:06

but stock is ordered a year or so in advance to arrive in time for Spring ! It would have been on the ships by Christmas.

zwischenzug Sun 31-Mar-13 08:36:46

People still need these things if they're going on holiday.. It's not like sun hats etc get much use in the UK most years anyway.

AuntieStella Sun 31-Mar-13 08:45:55

It's interesting to see that 'what the customer wants' comes below 'this is how we do it'.

It's a pity there can be no sales figures comparing buying habits now, on rigid customer-unfriendly system to those on a system which was more closely attuned to actual demand (not manipulated demand - for who buys Tshirts now unless they fear there'll be none left when it's warm?) and had core items available year round.

Tee2072 Sun 31-Mar-13 08:47:43

Exactly, AuntieStella. So much for customer service.

Euphemia Sun 31-Mar-13 08:55:10

I hate the shops these days. We all moan on MN about them, but is anyone listening?

Seasonal goods appearing in the shops way too early. We don't want to see Christmas stuff in the shops for six months (August til January), it spoils the season.

We don't want Back To School stuff all over the shops two weeks before the buggers have even broken up. It spoils the anticipation of the summer holidays, when we don't have to think about school things for a month or so.

Can't buy warm clothes from March until July.

Can't buy swimming costumes from July until March.

Shops are full of cheap, nasty clothes.

Anything targetted at women (plus household goods typically bought by women) is expensive and poor quality.

And since when was Halloween such a big thing that the shops have to have tat in for two months beforehand?

Tee2072 Sun 31-Mar-13 08:58:52

And people will continue to vote with their feet and shop online where you can get what you want when you want it.

When are retailers going to wake up? I guess once their companies are out of business.

Euphemia Sun 31-Mar-13 09:01:14

We also need to stop buying cheap crap. As long as people buy t-shirts for pennies, the shops will keep stocking them.

SprinkleLiberally Sun 31-Mar-13 09:01:29

Really, we don't need many summer clothes at all in the UK. We need winter coats and hats and lots of "middling" clothes. You know, t shirts, but with long sleeves, mid weight dresses woth sleeves, thin knits. That would work for most of our changeable weather.

WallyBanter "Our outlets still have winter down jackets and gloves and sales have actually dropped off a cliff, regardless of the cold snap. I can't afford to have 48 items of clothing on a fixture when I am selling less than one a week! My tee shirt sales have risen by 165% on last week, they need the space."

Completely this ^^

Incidentally, to everyone who is saying we are not listening to customers, we (and pretty much every other retailer I reckon) get a list through every week of sales, every subfamily we sell, how much of a % of the sales it''s taken in money and in units, compared to last week and last year. I can tell you now it's not the warm stuff on there at the minute! Long sleeve tshirts are massively down, coats are same as average- so the same as they were selling this week last year, in the heatwave- while our kids is up on short sleeve tshirts and dresses. Girls shorts, both denim and dressy are selling brilliantly. The jeans and trousers, which we have displayed prominently, the first thing you see as you walk on because of the weather, are not doing as well as the shorts. Not through lack of choice, either- there are jeans in a variety of fits, coloured jeans, smart trousers, jersey trousers, we have it all. But people are buying shorts.

As for who do I know who buys coats seasonally- I've worked on kids departments in two major retailers for around 9 years. I can pretty much predict to the week when we need to stuff the shopfloor to the gills with coats! Probably varies slightly throughout the UK, but customers have the same shopping ideas at the same time generally. I guess it may be slightly different for preschoolers- these tend to have a few more coats in, as customers don't work to school terms, but in the school ages we would be holding stock that simply wouldn't sell.

Khaleese Sun 31-Mar-13 09:05:33

This time last year was a heat wave!!!!

Buyers and merchandisers do not have magic weather balls :-)

Buy early, i know it's boring, out of season etc but organisation works. I know its hard with babies they always grow when you don't want them to.

So everyone out you go for your uniform and summer hats, sun cream...i could go on.

AuntieStella Sun 31-Mar-13 09:06:47

Yes, that's exactly what we mean by manipulated demand - people are buying T shirts now because they know they'll disappear by the time they want them.

And I did find it telling when one poster pointed out to the "ladies" that an important driver was to get things before Walmart does.

Tee2072 Sun 31-Mar-13 09:07:44

Your numbers are lying to you. Of course that's what people are buying, it's what's in the shops.

My son is rapidly outgrowing his long sleep tops. So I'm buying him short sleeve and doing massive layers as the temp hovers around 2C for the next week and has been for the last month.

If it's in the shops, of course people are going to buy it. And they aren't going to buy what's left of the winter wear, because it's crap.

Is this really that hard to realize? Why don't you talk to people, instead of staring at sheets of number?

We have long sleeve t shirts. Those long sleeve tshirts are staying on the shelves. We have jeans, those jeans are staying on the stands. I have a couple of stands out with a style of denim shorts on each, a short sleeve tshirt, a style of jeans, and a long sleeve shirt (good for layering). Yesterday, I sold 3 pairs of the shorts, and 2 of the tshirts. I sold none of the jeans (which were the same style as the shorts, the jean version of the same design), and none of the shirts.

I have looked at the weather outside, and have merchandised the shopfloor accordingly. At least half of the shopfloor is dressed as layered outfits, with either dresses or short sleeve tshirts with shirts, cardigans, thin coats, macs, jackets. The items UNDERNEATH are the ones that are selling. I have a stand out with cropped leggings and long length leggings literally next to each other. The cropped leggings are selling better (when the long ones are nicer, in my opinion!).

You may not believe me, but we take what stock we have and react accordingly. Why is it not that hard for you to realise that this is actually what people are buying? There are the options, but people aren't taking them!

Mooshbag Sun 31-Mar-13 09:22:57

http://www.muddypuddles.com/ <<<<<< you can get winter stuff here. The delivery is pretty swift and they ve a good sale.

Mooshbag Sun 31-Mar-13 09:23:28

Apols for typing...

Eskarina Sun 31-Mar-13 09:43:08

I'm amazed long sleeved t shirt sales are down. Actually, no I'm not. I'm amazed anyone can find l/s t shirts to buy anywhere. So perhaps its not surprising that not many are selling as there aren't any in stock anywhere. And it's not just in the last month or so. I've been hunting for plain ones for both myself and toddler dd since Christmas without any luck. I don't want naff patterns. I want plain colours in nice cotton. Black or white would do. Haven't been able to buy plain vests with long sleeves for dd since she grew out of age 9-12m from M&S (the only ones that fit a long skinny baby). She fits their age 2-3 perfectly. I know as she has the short sleeve and sleeveless versions. Not a long sleeve one in sight.

DeepRedBetty Sun 31-Mar-13 10:05:33

I think Tee2072 might have nailed it.

I'm grimly hanging on until weather improves before carting dtds up to BigTown to have their quarterly trawl round the shops. Because bitter experience has told me that nothing up there will be any good for right now, and I can't feel inspired by a season that isn't actually there iyswim. And if I allow dtds to choose their S/S stuff now, the little baggages will insist on wearing it and freeze and try to guilt me into turning the heating up.

Sparklingbrook Sun 31-Mar-13 10:16:38

Yes, I am not going near the High Street for the time being Betty. If I can't get it online, I just won't buy anything.

LyingWitchInTheWardrobe Sun 31-Mar-13 10:18:22

Really interesting posts from the professional buyers here.

I can completely understand the rationale behind the ordering. I would dearly love to buy UK/European-made clothing. I really dislike the UK importing everything from China. It's not good to buy everything so cheaply and forego our own economy in place of bought-in, poor quality tat.

I worked in France for a long time; they prioritise their own products over every other country's. I'd say that 80% of the cars are French, 15% German and a few mavericks drive other brands. Why aren't we like that? Demanding our own manufacturing be reinstated - and having the restraint to choose to pay a bit more for our own products as a first choice?

I'm a Boden fan blush, but far less so now that the clothes are made in China. It used to be UK then a little creep to Bulgaria - and now China. angry

whokilleddannylatimer Sun 31-Mar-13 10:20:09

Yanbu. the first time it snowed in January/ early Feb time I went to EIGHT!! stores to get dd a new coat as she was outgrowing her other.

NONE of them had a warm coat or even jumpers, Gap/Next/selfridges/Debenhams/John Lewis/Asda/Tesco and TK Max

It was all spring little thin jackets and summer tops and hats, I can kind of understand them having spring in now it is nearly April but it was January!

Even now it baffles me why on earth it the UK with our changable weather you can not get a warm coat inbetween January and September.

Do buying teams not buy in the services of a seasonal weather forecast provider then? <curious>

Sparklingbrook Sun 31-Mar-13 10:23:05

Yes, for coats you have to go to Millets/ Cotwold outdoor Store type places after January. sad

Sparklingbrook Sun 31-Mar-13 10:23:39

OYBBK do you fancy a career move? grin

SirChenjin Sun 31-Mar-13 10:31:00

Agree Tee et al. Buyers - my children's wardrobes are full of clothes for the next season, and I'm already buying summer dresses. It is not because I want the house to be overflowing with clothes that aren't being worn, but because my advancing years experience tells me that if I wait until July to try and buy a pair of shorts for my 6 year old I won't be able to, because all you will be stocking is school uniforms and winter coats angry

Your sales figures will show that I am buying summer stuff, but it's not because I want to, it's because I have to. We're in Scotland, and really, our summers do not necessitate that many t-shirts and flip flops.

Longfufu Sun 31-Mar-13 10:31:24

I wonder if I know the other buyers and merchandisers? everyone knows everyone!

Well I'm thinking of starting up my own business next year after DS2 is born, Cold weather bits all year round then grin

Punkatheart Sun 31-Mar-13 10:32:02

Saw an American lady in London this week - she had come over without any warm clothes, not expecting it to be so cold. She had three big sons with her. She was buying up loads of clothes from a vintage store in London. Rokkit in Covent Garden. Jumpers, padded coats...the lot. Smart.

Alibabaandthe40nappies Sun 31-Mar-13 10:33:26

Everyone buys what is on the shop floor because they know that if they don't then there will be bugger all there in July when they actually want it.

No wonder the British High Street is in such dire straits if the 'professionals' who have the power to transform its fortunes go <lalalalalalala not listening> to what would make a very good focus group.

sparkling whilst tempting to offer my services, I fear I would just be making it up as I don't have access to seasonal forecasting models.

though maybe my answer should be: Yes, I think I can offer a lot to the industry!


Sparklingbrook Sun 31-Mar-13 10:34:52

We need to ask Mary Portas what's going on.

Talking of her, I bet the charity shops are reaping the rewards of maybe having winter stuff in. wink

SirChenjin Sun 31-Mar-13 10:35:11

Agree Ali

Sparklingbrook Sun 31-Mar-13 10:35:35

Just do it*OYBBK*, you couldn't make it any worse. grin

SirChenjin Sun 31-Mar-13 10:36:22

Oh god no, Mary P would just suggest layering polyester - her stuff is really naff <veers off topic>

openerofjars Sun 31-Mar-13 10:36:36

When baby DD outgrew her snowsuit in January I had a bugger of a job finding a replacement. There were a couple in the wrong sizes in most shops and already in January the summer stuff was appearing on the shelves. It is bloody stupid and infuriating.

Weirdly but gratifyingly, I finally found her one at half price in Boots, which had clearly decided that all the winter coats needed to be got rid of (and pronto) so had a huge sale of winter clothing on. In January, I repeat. Because it's never, ever cold after then. hmm

Dh reckons I can offer an accuracy of about 40% on a seasonal forecast compared to the met office accuracy of (I believe) 65%. What do you reckon? Worth a job?

I have four pairs of spare mittens if anyone wants them. PM me your address and I'll send you some. They are suitable for age 1-3ish.

Sparklingbrook Sun 31-Mar-13 10:37:53

I think you are in OYBBK. grin

To the poster who said that sales of girls shorts are up and jean sales are down

People are buying shorts because its a fashion trend at the moment to wear shorts especially denim ones over thick tights or leggings. My dds both love this fashion as do the teen mates of my ds. I am to old and fat to get away with this or I would be too!

They (and me as a parent) are not buying these shorts because it is hot!

CruCru Sun 31-Mar-13 10:58:08

Yes, I love MuddyPuddles. They do great warm stuff.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Sun 31-Mar-13 11:04:28

Oybbk, yes, I think very large retailers do buy in seasonal forecasts.

But as you say, the met office is only 65% accurate. You know more than me but would the forecasts really say "cold weather will persist till first week of April, including snow" or more like "thus winter will be x% colder than last year"?

As the buyers on the thread have said, there are so many factors in the supply chain that actually even near perfect forecasting of the weather a year out might not be enough. Posters are saying they are not listening to what the customer wants. The customer has price as a key driver and with constrained price comes a lot of other restrictions eg no excess warehousing space.

Retailers run an awful lot of focus groups as well as an awful lot of numbers.

greenhill Sun 31-Mar-13 11:11:07

My DD is 6 and I buy age 7, 8 or even age 9 when there are sales. My DS is nearly 3 and I buy age 4-5 or age 6-7 in tops or coats so that when they need them, I already have them. I rarely buy full price for anything, unless it is an 'emergency'.

I found it very difficult to buy school uniform in DD's size once the term had started so had to buy in two sizes (so she could fit either) in July. Her trousers are now getting to be too short, but no local shops have plain grey, heavy cotton trousers at the moment. I do not want to buy girly ones in legging style fabric with embroidered flowers on them. They would rip apart in the first week. Why aren't girls uniforms practical?

Also why is so much of the foot exposed in girls school shoes? My DD has to wear wellies on the school run, then change into the impractical shoes for the classroom. Nothing is geared up for the changeable/ wet / cold / windy British weather.

It is as if we have to buy what the shops want to sell us, rather than what we want to get.

Picturesinthefirelight Sun 31-Mar-13 11:48:33

I was one of the ones buying t shirts and shirts last week. In fact I really struggled to get nice girls shorts for dd. I've ended up buying two pais from Zara out here in Lanzarote where it is 21 degrees!

I wouldn't buy long sleeved t shirts at this tone if year because we have so many I bought in the autumn. They are getting a bit small how but I know if I buy more now they won't be worn. Instead ill buy the ruin cardigans that are out.

I also struggled to get a summer coat/jacket for myself as due to the snow I hadn't really thought about it until the day before we flew.

I couldn't find any nice swimming costumes either.

These same retailers who are ignoring customers will be the ones blaming the recession when their business goes to the wall and they are out of a job. Fed up of seeing poorly run companies putting it all down to the recession when actually it is down to poor management and not adapting to the customer's needs quickly enough. Adapt or die, it's as simple as that.

Picturesinthefirelight Sun 31-Mar-13 11:51:51

The school uniform people are after is available year round but people won't pay the prices at the school uniform shops you can get them from. I guess the prices reflect the type if stock they have to carry. You can also order Snything in M& S year round to collect in store. It was annoying last autumn that Asda do not make a long sleeved girls school shirt (3/4) not allowed at dd's school) any more.

Sparklingbrook Sun 31-Mar-13 11:57:48

Yes, I will have to order school trousers to be delivered to M&S. Then get DS1 to try them on. sad

Our school uniform shop is brilliant but the trousers are too big at the waist for DS1.

Doctrine it is done as a probabilistic forecast: there is x% chance it will be drier than usual y% chance that it will be wetter than usual and z% chance that there will be average precipitation etc. you could use it to weight decisions on what stock and when to have it in, but it would be very much a dark art.

This is utterly fascinating and I seem to be gathering its down to the old adage 'you get what you pay for'.

AuntieStella Sun 31-Mar-13 12:02:11

I paid more than supermarket price for the navy jumper I was after last week, and ended up going on line, as I didn't have time to traipse. And bought more than the one item - all lost business to the supermarket.

And it wasn't just a case of space on the shop floor: there was a uniform section in the supermarket, but alrhought they found space for girls cardigans in a range of colours, there was only one colour (not used in any local school) in unisex. So perhaps 'low' sales have several causes.

Mia4 Sun 31-Mar-13 12:27:24

YANBU however with this change the knitwear usually gets reduced so you can scoop up some bargains for now and next year. So every cloud...

sayithowitis Sun 31-Mar-13 12:38:29

I understand that adult sized clothing is ordered and sold so far in advance of when it is actually needed, since, barring disasters, adults tend to know what they will need in advance. eg, I know that I will need a new winter coat next winter as the one I wear now will not last another year. So, I can look for a new coat in august or September when they appear on the shelves. If I was desperately in need of one now, I could trawl the internet and probably find one. But I really don't understand why children's clothes are marketed in the same way. Children have growth spurts which are not predictable. Sometimes, like mine, they miss a size completely, so buying the next size 'for later' wouldn't have worked for me and in any case, how many of us have enough money available to 'double purchase' on that basis? I know I never did. When DC1 was a baby (under a year), due to a sudden growth spurt, I needed to buy some t-shirts in July. Not one shop in my local, big town had any. Even Mothercare, the supposed 'specialist' babywear shop, only had autumnwear on its shelves. I ended up buying some poor quality bits from the local market as there really was no alternative - no internet back then. So, as I say, adults clothes - yes, I can see the arguments, even if I disagree, but children's clothes? Really?

Changebagsandgladrags Sun 31-Mar-13 12:46:53

I went to Next yesterday to buy DS some long sleeved T shirts. None, not one. They are fucking spring items surely?

WallyBantersJunkBox Sun 31-Mar-13 14:00:26

When I made my comment to the "ladies" I was referring to the other two posters in the same profession as me btw, not a derogatory statement to the customers so I apologise for that.

I was using Walmart as an example, the factories I use are actually competing with Tommy Hilfiger, Ralph Lauren and Guess production. I have seen some Debenhams clothes on the storage rails there too, on my last visit. It's just the well repeated fact that 1 in every 4 containers on the sea at anyone moment us for Walmart (which as most of you know, includes Asda).

I know Debenhams invested in a weather predicting system, but that really isn't going to tell you when Spring is going to start in 2014 is it? It can be helpful in prioritizing your allocations and intake into the DC but as someone else mentioned the stock is on the water and if you've hopefully had a good season you will have sold out of previous seasons stock.

I have had my team delay and delay on sending out SS product, I have held back on my coats in store, my sweat stock mix is around 190% higher quantities than ly, with a lower ASP and better size runs, yet I am only selling around 80 more units a week than LY when it was 10 degrees warmer across Europe. I have put all of my winter accessories into a basket on 3 for 2 and sold about 10% more over plan. So I lost more money than if I hadn't bothered. My sales are suffering because I made the decision to try and extend Winter in line with the weather, and god am I hearing about it!

For the customers on here who want a long sleeved tee shirt, on the chance it may be cold, I would have to stock at least 2 of each of your size range in my stores so on average I have to buy let's say 24 units just to sell you one. And more than likely in a few colours. Not only that, I may have 150 shops so I would be expected to stock 24 in each of these are I don't know where you are. So I have to stock 3600 units at a likely cost of around 8000-9000 pounds to sell one t shirt at £12.99. If the weather changes next week, and you change your mind, I am left with 3599 long sleeve tee shirts.

We have to put our money where the least risk is, and that is in definite seasons. This is why I mentioned that transition is the riskiest season to predict, and you tend to put less of your money there. The spend has reduced based on historic customer patterns. I go back and look at 4-5 years history and calendar patterns to see which seasons and product have the best mix. If the customers aren't buying in an historic pattern, we have to move the money.

We have a limited budget to spend and targets on the stock we have to close the season on, so we have to put our money where the least risk is.

I'm not saying whether it's wrong or right, I think people in the industry have come on and tried their best to explain how the business works. I am a customer and a mother too. I do oftern buy an age in advance but only in the end of season sale when I see a cheap snow suit at a knock down price for example.

I am constantly reminding my team of the view point of the customer, to my husbands frustration i used to spend all my free time competitive shopping and analyising customers in shopping centres,and yes when I did work in a retailer that made a lot of floral dresses I was the loudest voice for a capped sleeve. grin

And who said we're not listening? Of course we are, but I can't turn around a customer requirement in a large retailer in a matter of days. It's because we listened to customer trends on transition that we have the situation we see now.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Sun 31-Mar-13 14:37:24

Those of you buying online - are you buying from online only retailers or from those with a high street presence also?

Wally - cap sleeves aren't sleeves smile though they do reduce sunburned shoulders and enable bra wearing. Can you wave your wand and get us something mid bicep or below? Thanks flowers

EostreChaoticResurrEggtion Sun 31-Mar-13 14:51:05

This time lasy year ( heat wave) did you want a coat?

All I remember from last year is it rained. Rain, rain and more rain. I have a winter coat with a hood and I wore it constantly while walking the dog.

Sparklingbrook Sun 31-Mar-13 14:52:00

When was the heatwave last year?

WallyBantersJunkBox Sun 31-Mar-13 14:53:15

Ha ha I am not in the same business sadly. I'm in sportswear now.

I have very often copied and emailed threads from here that are particularly scathing to a certain retailer to the buying director of that particular retailer.

So hopefully next season, or at the end of this one, if there is enough OTB you might get your wish.

Fatface used to be pretty good at the 3/4 sleeve tops and dresses - or is that not your style?

WallyBantersJunkBox Sun 31-Mar-13 14:56:37
Sparklingbrook Sun 31-Mar-13 15:01:14

Ooh I love Fatface.

WallyBantersJunkBox Sun 31-Mar-13 15:01:52

Incidentally one of my team members told me that the wettest town in Wales is the top selling store in the country for wife beater vests and flip flops in the Burton company.

Not impressed because I actually come from that town. hmm grin

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Sun 31-Mar-13 15:25:01

I like fat face, but in general there doesn't seem to be many sleeves between cap and 3/4 - except on tshirts and even those you sometimes have to buy a small men's to not get cap sleeves (eg Olympics merchandise last year)

EostreChaoticResurrEggtion Sun 31-Mar-13 15:25:29

Yes, I do remember the one week in March. The rest of it was a total washout...or very nearly.

Thumbwitch Sun 31-Mar-13 15:30:14

It's the same in Australia - as soon as the dictated season change occurs, the next season's clothes are in stock. We've just had an unseasonably hot week for the time of year but the shops are mostly full of autumn knitwear (and still some summer stock on sale, thank goodness!)

I particularly don't understand this in relation to small children who grow so fast - I want to be able to buy what I need for my baby at the time I need it, not 3m in advance when I'm not entirely sure how much he'll have grown by when I need the clothes (if you can follow my logic).

YANBU. It's very silly. And akin to stocking hot cross buns the week after Christmas is over.

BikeRunSki Sun 31-Mar-13 15:35:00

it's really peeing me off. I lost weight on ml in order to get back into my work clothes. Went a bit further, and work trousers now like clown pants, looped up with a belt. I have been trying to buy new ones since I returned to work in Jan, but nothing is in shops!

WallyBantersJunkBox Sun 31-Mar-13 16:09:23

The heat wave was just a week but as you can see the March weather historically is getting warmer. www.metoffice.gov.uk/climate/uk/actualmonthly/3/Tmax/UK.gif so if you were using a weather prediction system based on these statistics next year would be based on the most recent years curve.

Research I have read has also told us that customers make a coat purchase decision in Sept/Oct and won't be likely to invest €100 euros in something that they will now get 8-9 weeks wear from before putting it away for September.

Personally I have seen lots of long sleeved tops in Gap, I haven't checked out Marks's but I imagine they, and other more classic retailers would invest more in a transition "wear now" range, as opposed to the High Fashion end of the market who base their collections on catwalk trends that have little to do with practicality.

greenhill Sun 31-Mar-13 17:10:06

wally thanks for your posts, they have been really informative. It is good to hear retail logistics information based on insider knowledge.

BoffinMum Sun 31-Mar-13 17:22:34

I can't understand why basics aren't available all year around, as they don't date very much. I am thinking classic designs, simple styles, like plain jumpers, plain wool coats, slippers, wellingtons, plain t-shirts with different sleeve lengths, basic swimsuits and so on. This is probably what Marks ought to be aiming for as one of its ranges.

WallyBantersJunkBox Sun 31-Mar-13 17:48:47

No problem Greenhill. It's also interesting for me to listen to customers, even if mine aren't really UK any more. sad

There is a huge difference in profile between a UK customer and say a German one, who shops very traditionally and therefore drives a different retail range.

I think our volatile UK weather also has a lot to do with it. it's the same argument with salt on the roads, snow closing everything, and airport delays. The weather is so changeable and radical there aren't the resources to plan for all eventualities, in government, retail and many other aspects.

Incidentally I set up a "Never Out of stock" range when I took over this side of the company I'm on. We started with a clean sheet, listing all the basic product out customer feedback told us they'd want. Black, grey, white etc.

When we added up the styles we were x2 over budget! And there would have been no room in store to repeat best sellers, add seasonal colours etc. Who would really shop a store full of black and grey jersey? It would look hideous.

The problem is, one poster on here saying they want a basic long sleeve tee would imagine a very different basic log sleeve tee to another. Ribbed, jersey, lycra, round neck, boat neck, v neck, fitted, loose, thick, thin. If you onlyhave room for 4 styles of basic in that category how do you make each customer happy?

Anyhow we planned 50% of our "buy" on this NOOS range. Two years later I am selling about 10% of the original range. The performance just didn't earn a continuity place. Worst performing was the kids range of grey, black and navy sweatpants. Safe as hell, based on our best selling shape. We kept them all year round with a realistic sales plan (2 in every store, every week) and only managed to achieve 45% of that plan.

Our best selling kids product is a powder blue jogging suit at the moment.

BoffinMum Sun 31-Mar-13 17:53:46

White Company sell basics all year round - wonder how that works?

WallyBantersJunkBox Sun 31-Mar-13 17:58:56

Not very well judging by their outlet stores who sell the same product in volume,mas their full price and online sites, in the same season.

They aren't basic to the average customer either. Not with an average selling price of £45 for a long sleeve tee.

minesapackofminstrels Sun 31-Mar-13 19:16:04

I live in the middle east and here there are a lot of Uk and international chain stores. I have the opposite problem where I am trying to find a T-shirt and shorts as its 45degreesC outside and all there is available is long sleeved tops and shirts, jumpers and european winter weight trousers. I do understand that they are tied to the same constraints as the UK stores with their stock all being produced at a specified time but surely someone high enough up to actually make a decision can surely specify they keep some clothes suitable for hot weather.

Oh and while I'm having a rant, the prices we are charged are obscene. I saw in Mothercare a T-shirt marked full price at 9pounds, now reduced to 7.50. Was going to buy it till I saw the UK sticker showing it as 2.50! They are normally very hot on removing the uk prices - can see why. Could have got my mum to buy it and post it out for less.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Sun 31-Mar-13 19:22:13

Minesa, but keeping stock would cost warehousing space, mean other stock would be bumped out of stores etc etc. over-ordering in case weather was better or worse than expected. All of which add cost.

Your mothercare top may well have been air freighted amd may be sold under license, depending on their presence in your market. How much would postage alone be for your mum?

minesapackofminstrels Sun 31-Mar-13 19:44:22

TheDoctrine the weather here doesn't really get colder than low 20's so keeping "summer clothes" in stock would always be a winner. Even if there was a cold spell it would only be a few weeks rather than there being a period of 6 months where most of the clothes are completely unsuitable. I do get that the stores just get the same as their other stores as that is what is produced for them.

Ok slight exageration about being cheaper for my mum to post it but even considering air freight 200% is a ridiculous mark up. Its not all that much of a mark up but a recent shopping trip failed to find a young boys t -shirt for less than a tenner and most nearer to the 15 mark. This was Mothercare, Next, M & S and Debenhams. We're not all on great expat packages.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Sun 31-Mar-13 20:17:43

Sure, but mothercare's target market where you are probably is different to its UK focus.

The Middle East Mothercare stores are franchises,, and may have an element of choice about pricing and stock selection.

RenterNomad Sun 31-Mar-13 21:08:07

LongFuFu, Khaleese and WallyBanters, is slow steaming adding a lot to lead times?

magentastardust Sun 31-Mar-13 21:19:41

Tell me about it-we are in Scotland, we get a few sunny days in May and that's us. We need jackets and wellies and woolly little girls tights and umbrellas all year round .It is a nightmare trying to stock up months in advance and guess what will fit your children.

Anyone ever tried going abroad in the October holidays? I benefited by getting a load of summer clothes in the sales in July but had to just hope they would fit the dc's in October and hope that feet didn't grow. (snowboots on the beach isn't a great look)

Euphemia Sun 31-Mar-13 21:25:12

Magenta We're going to Florida in October - I plan on travelling in one set of clothes, with empty suitcases, and buying everything we need when we get there. grin

Lockedout434 Sun 31-Mar-13 21:29:29

Just add cap sleeves are not flattering to arms that aren't rock hard strings of muscle, the make normal arms look awful never mind arms with the potential of getting a muffin top.

Changebagsandgladrags Sun 31-Mar-13 21:29:51

Ok, I get the warehouse space argument. But where the bloody hell do you think I am going to keep all the bloody summer stuff if I bought it now?? I don't have a warehouse, I have a wardrobe. not designed for multi-season. Hence, I buy less clothes as I have less choice...

RenterNomad Sun 31-Mar-13 21:35:15

BoffinMum, www.landsend.co.uk/ more or less folliw a year-round basics model. By and large better quality than the flimsy jersey I've had from TWC. However, Lands' End is a catalogue-only retailer.

Lockedout434 Sun 31-Mar-13 21:38:17

Harping on about the overseas long lead times and factory runs As the weather is so unpredictable in the uk you are guessing half the time so therefore you are left with loads of sale stock which must add to the costs. As less profit is made also understocking on the more popular stock. Therefore if you have a shorter lead time you can be more reactive to prevailing climate and trends therefore less wastage, less transport cost less risk of piracy falling in the docks etc.
so surely with the rising labour cost in India , china etc it should be better for the customer and profit margins to source in at least Europe.

Lockedout434 Sun 31-Mar-13 21:41:45

Also decathlon is great all year round for t shirts jumpers long sleeved layers sandals and snow boots.
Due to me shopping like a bloke ie when it's needed that shop has got me out of lots of seasonal holes

Alibabaandthe40nappies Sun 31-Mar-13 22:20:09

Whoever asked about where people are buying online.

I buy a lot from specifically online retailers. I use Muddy Puddles a lot for things for the DCs. Pure, Wrap, Boden - I know they have a couple of shops but they are mostly online.

Increasingly though I find that what I buy for myself is a lot of what would be called 'transitional' items. Layering vests and tops, scarves, cardigans etc. Long sleeved cotton tops.
I buy very few specifically summer clothes, because they get so little wear. So it seems bonkers to me that they are in the shops for so long.

Used to buy from White Company but the quality is increasingly rubbish. Ditto FatFace.

treesntrees Sun 31-Mar-13 22:27:01

It takes very little time to knit mittens for a small child or in an emergency use socks

Lockedout434 Sun 31-Mar-13 23:01:25

It would take me a life time to knit a mitten never mind two that MSG he'd in size and shape.

Socks are the best I have used socks in the past and was very pleased with my ingenuity

Lockedout434 Sun 31-Mar-13 23:02:14

That matched in size and shape

How did the iPod get MSG for gods sake

WallyBantersJunkBox Mon 01-Apr-13 00:42:01

The lead times I have been given for Turkey and Romania this year are only 4 weeks shorter than the Far East and the MOQ's are pretty high. This does not enable me to react very quickly to trends in season. Add to this a pretty big increase in margin and that capacities there are also pretty rammed in Europe too. Most customers would not be happy to pay the extra costs retailers would pass on for this flexibility. They also have shareholders to support (including pension investments etc).

Slow steaming isn't a problem for me, what I've faced in the past when I've worked for mid size retailers is the issue of container priorities at the dock side, and container stuffing to reduce costs adds delays and leaves small firms at the back of the queue with the dreaded Walmart at the front.

For overseas questions shipping for me adds approx 23% to the cost of the item, for air freight you add a dollar an item. Each item costs 15p to handle through the DC then I get charged for storing, transportation to store etc.

For the Mothercare question, the company is a franchise run I think by the Al Shayah group. So there are a group of people in Kuwait making the decisions on what to buy for their own market and when to bring it in. They are responsible for knowing their customer requirements but part of their franchise agreement might be that they have to have commonality of the range to some extent. They also tend to set the prices for their own markets.

I once helped build a franchise package for a UK chain opening stores in the Mall of the Emerites and Waafi Mall. I had pulled together a package of linen and summer clothing but they rejected it and even took some knits, so I imagine they are catering to an Emerati customer and perhaps not enough to the expat market?

Australia for franchise packages is a nightmare to build! They are completely opposite in seasonality, so they find it hard to select from a UK retailers range. Their quantities are so small that they can't reach minimum order quantities by themselves in a lot of cases so can't generate a seasonal buy without a lot of risk. Usually retailers end up holding back the previous seasons stock to sell to them the following season.

Right - I am on holiday now and off to enjoy some downtime. Hopefully the weather will turn a bit for everyone, statistically last years weather in the UK was off the charts compared to average years. I landed in Manchester airport this evening and everyone was in shorts and flip flops! We Swiss passengers looked very dowdy in comparison.

I've always found the UK customer enjoyably free of worry about the sensibility and practicality of fashion compared to our European counterparts where there are rules for every age, size and occasion. It's very boring on this side of the channel.

Thumbwitch Mon 01-Apr-13 01:34:08

Thanks for all the info, Wally - really useful! smile Have a nice holiday.

I will be in the UK by the end of this week, so I expect that all the snow will have gone by then, at least.

RenterNomad Mon 01-Apr-13 11:25:48

Bon voyage, Wally!

greenhill Mon 01-Apr-13 12:03:52

I hope you enjoy your break wally

cumfy Mon 01-Apr-13 13:10:15

Try Ebay

Khaleese Mon 01-Apr-13 16:27:59

Ohyoubadkitten, sorry missed your post, yes i have seen some of the most exspensive long range weather forecasts. I always booked my holidays around them :-)

Not that reliable. Did ok for my wedding thankgod

Waves back to ladies.

JassyRadlett Mon 01-Apr-13 18:36:17

I get the seasonal stock planned months in advance argument, I really do. But my branch of John Lewis had summer stock for kids on the racks in the last week of January. January.

This is in a store that cut baby/toddler boys (not girls) clothes space to make room for maternity, so my chances of getting a jumper or hoodie for DS in February? Low. Ignoring the fact that this is Britain and you'll probably need those items in July.

Retailers have been putting out their seasonal stock earlier and earlier for years, and kidswear seems to be most affected (maybe because more is own brand? Many individual grown ups' shops eg Hobbs seem to be slightly more sensible).

Sparklingbrook Mon 01-Apr-13 18:41:25

Ooh and don't forget the 'there must be at least a third less stock made up of boys clothes than girls'. wink

SchnitzelVonKrumm Mon 01-Apr-13 18:41:43

I was in M&S on Jan. 2, they had Easter eggs in.

Sparklingbrook Mon 01-Apr-13 18:42:49

Did you buy some Schnitzel. I will be next year, because of this year's 'no Easter Eggs at Easter' merchandising rules.

freerangeeggs Mon 01-Apr-13 19:00:54

When have we EVER needed flip flops and maxi dresses in March??

Euphemia Mon 01-Apr-13 19:39:52

When do we ever need flip flops at all? grin

Sparklingbrook Mon 01-Apr-13 19:41:18

I am not a flip flop fan. On the beach ok, but not anywhere else.

moonstorm Mon 01-Apr-13 20:11:53

I hate the argument that buyers make he buying trend with what they want/ don't want. Buyers are forced into buying trends based on what's available in the shops...

Ps read 2/3 o thread. Don't have all day to read more, sorry if bread has moved on, but not sorry to those who hate thread skippers wink grin

ouryve Mon 01-Apr-13 20:13:15

YANBU. My winter boots ave no tread left on them. Can I replace them? Can i heck.

SchnitzelVonKrumm Mon 01-Apr-13 21:03:08

Yes I did Sparklingbrook, having fallen victim to last year's no Easter eggs at Easter rule grin

EndoplasmicReticulum Mon 01-Apr-13 21:13:06

No, you must absolutely not buy Easter Eggs in january because that validates the stupidity that has them on sale then in the first place.

we should make an agreement not to buy any until March.

I'm another one who was looking for the mythical long-sleeved t-shirts in Feb this year, only to find shorts. I wasn't being fussy about colour or design, I actually could not find any on the high street so bought from ebay instead. Sales figures cannot show all the customers who went away disappointed because they could not buy jumpers in February or School uniform in August.

Lockedout434 Wed 03-Apr-13 15:04:59

Thanks for all the info wally
Happy hols

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