Three Season Retail May 02, 2016 18:38

                                             Windy day for Retail

This is the new word on the street….my street….in my store…..

Three Season Inventory 

OK, it is three words. I am reaching out to all the clothing retail businesses. Is this crazy weather affecting your seasonal inventory buying?

A Few years back, I started taking notice of “three season inventory”,as I call it. My store sort of did this buying plan to help stretch out inventory dollars, but now it was rising to another challenge.

 The challenge is our weather.

My customers are making an effort to stretch their clothing wardrobes over two or three seasons, squeezing more value from their dollar. What I hear from my clientele is, ‘ I really don’t need a specific seasonal wardrobe anymore’. This is such an important statement! We are all keeping  different weights of clothing in our closets to accommodate our Bipolar weather. I was so mad at myself just 10 days ago , because I had stored my winter gloves and I my hands were freezing. Maybe next year, I won’t even pack them up until I want to go to the beach!

Obviously, this is greatly affecting the buying patterns of consumers.They are not rushing out to buy a nice summer wardrobe because they are guessing, just like myself, what and how much they will need and wear.

A few  years ago,  I started a little snooping around. I prowled other stores and noticed their early winter inventory was being offered in lighter fabrics. How clever of them! Now I know, in the US, there are two different weather-focused consultancies, Planalytics and Weather Trends International. Their job is to determine how our warming weather is affecting retail sales. It doesn’t look too good. Not for retailers! Consumers, on the other hand, are getting use to marked down items because stores are stuck with huge amounts of inventory.

Honestly, I don’t know how many times I could not get a customer to try on a winter garment

 because it didn't feel like winter.

"When consumers are walking across the mall parking lots... without coats and sometimes in shorts and short sleeves, browsing for winter apparel just isn't top of mind," said Scott Bernhardt, president of Planalytics, a consultancy that helps companies understand the impact of weather on their businesses. CNN Money

As a small boutique owner trying to make a living selling women’s clothing, I have become acutely aware of the this crazy weather. It is now the beginning of May and I had to put a sweater and scarf over the linen dress in the window, again.

I attend the apparel show this week in NYC and place my orders for Fall/Winter. I know ahead of time, I will be looking only for Cotton Sweaters, very few coats, and colors that can be spread over a few seasons.

It is getting a little tricky out here in retail land.