by Stephen Garner

Q: I feel the economic mood changing. What’s your advice for retail planning for 2019?

Steve Pruitt: You’re right. We are seeing the beginning signs of a slowdown and the dramatic stock market swings and continued trade tensions aren’t helping. But, in reality, the biggest factor we face next year is the natural slowing of the economic cycle that we have been in for the last nine years. In fact, this is the longest growth cycle we have ever seen and it will inevitably come to an end.

With that in mind, the first thing you need to do is look at the spring ’19 buys you already made to see if they need to be adjusted.

And, when you go to market for your fall/winter ‘19, try to keep in mind that we are not expecting to see much growth. Instead, plan conservatively with the goal of maintaining your business equal to this year, if possible.

There’s a lot of uncertainty as we head into next year— both political and economic—in the U.S., and abroad. Given the circumstances, be ready to pull back and make small adjustments when needed as we move along. Don’t lock into a plan and just live with it. Avoid carryover and big spends that aren’t strategic.

In the meantime, make the most of the next couple weeks. It should still be a strong holiday season.

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