As the seasons change, your merchandise will change. As the months change, your sales will change. As your departments trend up or down, you need to make changes to your buying plan. Are you doing that?
Once of the reasons retailers get into trouble is they don’t watch trends in sales and even if they do, they seldom react in any organized way (until it’s too late). And even if you’re charting your monthly sales from year to year and seeing increases or decreases, the question is: what are you doing about it?
The changes you need to make are to your buying plan so you can increase orders if sales are trending up and decrease them if sales are trending down. Of course, it is important to try to determine the causes of the trends. Is it from inside your store or outside? Is it something you can change or something you must react to. Either way, once the signs are there, you must do your part so you keep things positive. And by things, I mean your bottom line.
Many retailers feel they can only taste success if sales are increasing, but that’s not true. There are many factors that drive sales, many of which you can impact, but many you can’t. Consequently, the most important thing you can do is to make sure your buying is in tune with your selling and that you continue to increase your turns and your bottom line. If you do that, you will always come out a winner.
So, the first step is always to have a solid buying plan based on anticipated sales and desired turn rates. This is an open to buy plan and is driven by sales and turnover (just like your store). With sales and turnover, ideal beginning inventories can be calculated for each month and a buying plan devised.
At the end of each month, your OTB plan should clearly show what you have accomplished in terms of sales, beginning inventory, and turnover – actual vs. projected. With this information you can determine if things are moving ahead or going backwards and with that information and your determination of what caused the changes, you can make revisions to your plan. If you do this, your buying will always be on target and you will be able to constantly improve your turns. That’s a combination that will lead to financial success whether your sales are up or down.