Q: What should I focus on when I go to market for my spring/summer 2020 buys?
Steve Pruitt: As always, you should start by finding unique products that will keep your customers coming back. But there is another opportunity for you at market this season- having valuable talks with your vendors.
There are a lot of unknowns in the economy right now, such as the trade dispute with China that could soon impact clothing and footwear. You need to take this opportunity to talk about sourcing, and how tariffs could impact pricing. Who will absorb the lion’s share of a potential margin loss– you, your vendor, or both of you?
If the burden could land entirely on you, maybe it’s time to diversify your vendor structure a bit more, as a way of insulating you from margin hits.
You also need to review your deliveries for this spring. Did late deliveries impact your sell-thru rate? If so, you need to address this issue with the vendor. If they can’t guarantee on-time deliveries for next year, maybe it’s time to cut a deal, or look elsewhere. Making these shifts now can really affect your bottom line when it comes to sales next spring, so take the opportunity while you have it.
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