Forget “Winter is Coming” – For Retailers it’s Staying Long Past its Welcome

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Filed Under: Business Trends

Enough already with the winter of 2013. The fact that we’re still wearing coats, boots and all things warm when we should be thinking about short sleeves and sandals is of grave concern.

For retailers and manufacturers that already have spring products in stores, this presents quite a challenge. Word in the aisles is that everything lawn and garden related, from tools and seeds to statuaries, is sitting. Even though the calendar may say “spring,” everything that’s actually going on in the great outdoors is shouting “stay inside!”

While the impact of this weather may not have hit manufacturers quite yet, it’ll be there in coming months when retailers aren’t seeing the sell throughs and the reorders.

My top bits of advice for retailers:

  • Consider Winter Over – Notwithstanding the mercury level, markdown the merchandise significantly. No one wants to wear it and in this economy everyone is looking for a bargain.
  • Drive Store Traffic – Advertise and promote the heck out of spring merchandise. Everyone wants spring to come, so encourage customers to stock up early. For instance, weekend warriors in the home improvement category will still do those outdoor projects or work on their “honey-do” lists whether it’s June or May. They may as well come in to get the materials now. A new pair of shorts coupled with a rake, hoe and new gardening gloves will give them a good look and early mindset for spring.
  • Be Ready – Warmer weather will eventually arrive. The better a retailer is positioned, both in publicity and pricing, to move their product, the better they’ll do.

Despite every precaution, it’s very likely that we’re going to see very deep and long-lasting, discounts on replenishable items (i.e. sunblock, garden products, etc.) that need a good day in the sun to see drive foot traffic in store aisles.

How are you planning to manage your stock?

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Anita Garrison
Anita and her global team are responsible for evaluating, purchasing and reselling all general merchandise inventories for Active’s clients. Anita joined Active in 1993 as a Merchandise Sales Representative, focusing on soft goods, HBA and luxury goods. In 1995 she was promoted to Vice President and, based on her contribution to the growth of the department, was named Senior Vice President in 2012.

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