Retailers Adopt a ‘Wear Now’ Approach
It used to be that when August came around, you could walk
into a clothing store and find plenty of options for the fall. If
you needed something to wear right then and there, you’d be able to find a
very limited selection, typically on a clearance rack near the back
of the store.
Perhaps it was the Great Recession or maybe just a better understanding
of consumers but, whatever the reason(s), a number of chains are bumping up
inventory of current season lines for people to wear now.
Eric Cerny, a spokesperson for
Abercrombie & Fitch, told MarketWatch, "When
you think back-to-school, you think jeans and fleece. But it’s high-90 degrees
outside. We want to have weather appropriate items mixed in."
"Retailers have been very focused the past 18 months in managing their
inventory," said John Long of Kurt Salmon Associates. "That doesn’t
always mean reducing it. That means looking for opportunities to get the best
sell-through at the highest margin possible."
Some see potential pitfalls
to the wear now approach.
"Shops need to excite customers with new product," Claire Hamilton,
an analyst at WGSN, told MarketWatch. "Summer clothes are in sale
mode. Fall coats and sweaters move the consumer on to the next big thing, and
that also means purchasing at full price."
Discussion Questions: What do you think about the "wear now" approach
being taken by clothing retailers?