Albert Einstein said: “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.” So, are retailers insane?

Think about it. Almost anytime there’s a buying opportunity, retailers will buy. They buy because they love merchandise. They buy because they don’t want to miss sales. They buy because the reps are their friends. They buy because they love to buy. And they constantly overbuy!

We’re always trying to impress someone. We want to impress our customers with our selection and always having what they want (but that’s a mistake). We want to impress the reps with our buying power (but that’s a mistake). We want to impress ourselves with our buying artistry (but that’s a mistake).

And retailers wonder why they never have any money. It’s because they’re insane. They buy too much, they mark it down, they buy too much, they mark it down. Do you see a pattern?

The cure for this insanity is open to buy planning. Open to buy will help a retailer develop a buying plan based on anticipated sales and desired turn rates that will enable them to sell through, raise turnover rates, reduce markdowns and improve cash flow. And yet, most retailers resist using this process because they think it will take the creativity out of retailing. It will not!

You can continue to express yourself with your buying and merchandising flair, but just with some boundaries. These boundaries will insure that you constantly make money. You won’t believe how much fun retailing can be when you’re actually making money.

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