Posted by Alex Jackson on 18th Jan 2019
January in retail is a pivot month, the holidays have passed, and retailers are making some last-ditch efforts to entice a few more customers to spend on winter wear options before they are pushed out. Pushed out? Aren’t there a few more months of winter left here you may ask? And yes, you are quite correct. As strange as this may seem to the average consumer or independent retailer most of your big box retailers are now ready to toss out winter and start stocking their shelves with spring and summer apparel. Why so early? Because they have to, it’s a complex moving train of merchandise constantly flowing into their stores, and like a train, it has to stick to a strict time table. Keep the winter stock on the shelves too long, and this train can easily risk going off the tracks. This lack of flexibility can seriously impact a retailer’s bottom line, especially in transition months like January. What happens when mother nature decides to throw an unusually cold February at us? Customers clamoring for winter coats, sweaters and gloves are pretty much out of luck, and there’s not much these retailers can do. They have already dumped their winter wear back into their distribution centers; they can do nothing but hope for warm weather soon so they can start pushing the spring-summer apparel actually in stock.
Now Independent retailers be they brick, click, or brick and click are in a unique and advantageous position at this time of year. When January rolls around you can choose to either go with the crowd of big players and start to transition over to spring-summer apparel, or you can wait it out a bit longer and reap the rewards of winter longer because you have that higher degree of flexibility. Independent retailers don’t suffer from strict timetables you can transition whenever you want or feel is the right time to do so. Those who are really tuned into the pulse of retail will tell you why choose one when you can easily do both? After all being sandwiched between seasons means you have the best of both in terms of inventory options. Savvy retailers accustomed to buying and selling liquidated goods know that January is a great time to reinvest in new merchandise. January offers fall-winter wear of last season, still very much in demand for months to come and spring-summer wear that has not yet hit peak demand. That means lots of great merchandise options to choose from no matter the season. Want to keep a foot in both seasons? Target seasonal sensitive transitional categories like winter coats or swimwear extract those last few good months of sales as you watch the sales of the other steadily increase, remember January is a transition month, and you need to use it to your best advantage as an independent retailer.