by Steve Pruitt

Q: It feels like extreme weather on both coasts and the pandemic recovery are changing our traditional seasons. How should I plan for fall/holiday? Do you expect a delay in demand for fall-coded goods?

Steve Pruitt: The weather has been extreme. Will it affect the timing of business? I think the answer is yes, but it depends on where you’re located. Many places are suffering from hot weather now. Aside from vendor delivery issues, a prolonged heatwave into early fall could put pressure on heavier-weight merchandise, such as sweaters and outerwear.

Also, a warmer than usual early fall will keep customers in their warm-weather clothes longer than normal. When you consider the current demand for “buy now, wear now” sales, customers will have plenty of new merchandise to continue wearing.

So, what to do, aside from praying for a cooling off? Continue to focus your receipt plans with fresh “buy now, wear now” merchandise. Don’t get overloaded with early receipts that are not tied closely to the immediate demand.

At some point, the logistics issues associated with deliveries are going to smooth out and vendors are going to want to deliver. Stick to your receipt plan. Too many deliveries will lead to aged inventory and a payables problem. Our merchant stores are enjoying later markdowns and higher margins. Over-delivering will slow your turn rate and that will lead to margin spill.

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