Should I Land All Seasonal Inventory Early?

by Steve Pruitt

Q: I just read an article on your website on how to flow my inventory throughout the season in order to increase sell-through, but do I run the chance of missing sales by not landing all my seasonal inventory early?

StevePruitt-FEATURED.jpgSteve Pruitt: This is a common misconception that many merchants have. But when you land most of your merchandise upfront, you risk the chance of overwhelming your customers with choice, and losing the opportunity to present an edited selection as “special” and something that they need to buy now before it’s gone. That said, too much inventory upfront usually leads to aging inventory that will only sell at a markdown. So, not only do you have to pay for all your inventory early in the season, you also risk taking a margin hit later on.

When you flow your merchandise throughout the season you have a better chance of maintaining your margin, increasing your sell-through rate, and reducing your markdowns. It also has the added bonus of letting you spread out your invoices so you can pay them off more easily.

One easy way to think about this is that the selling season has natural highs and lows, and so should your merchandise flow. Betting it all at the beginning of the season puts you at more risk.

For more tips on managing your merchandise flow, go here.