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In our previous posts we have seen fashion design, new product development & production planning processes, now let us put on our thinking caps to decide what merchandise goes into which store and in what quantum . We have already seen the range selection by buyer out of the assortment presented by designer in the fashion design process

The buyer studies the technical and economical feasibility of the range based on the last year’s sales trend and prospective opportunities in the current market.

OTB (Opportunity to buy) is deduced based on a range of factors:

  1. Season window
  2. Budgeted sales for the season
  3. Carry forward stock
  4. Brand focus for the season
  5. Last year sales trend

Buyer can adopt a top-down or bottom up approach to create OTB plan.

Fuel4Fashion blog Apparel Retail Garment Warehouse

Warehouse: Garments are arranged in the most organized manner.
Image courtesy : http://goo.gl/Bnn1cD

This is done at the deepest level possible : From continent to country to region to city to mall to store to category at the store to classes in that category to subclasses in that class.

There are several hits planned for the season stock buying. As per the hits, PO’s are released to the vendor and accordingly stock is delivered to the brand’s warehouse.

As per stock receipt, the warehouse starts initial allocation to the stores blending the OTB plan with the past and present experience/strategy of the planner for that store. Regular replenishment take place to fulfill the gaps created when a particular option is sold out ie stock is pushed from DC to store weekly.

Garment retail outlet.
Image courtesy : http://goo.gl/j4vqZ8

Subsequently consolidation of stocks take place from low throughput store to high throughput store to accelerate sale.

Regular market surveys are conducted of competitive brands to analyse market positioning in terms of merchandise. Regular feedbacks are taken from store on the range offered.

At the end of season a review is shared with buyer –seasonal analysis in terms of color, quality , slow movers, fast movers.

This brings an end to our week-long series of articles where we discussed various processes like fashion design process, product development process, production planning process and the last one being the apparel retail process. Hope enjoyed reading our articles.

Supriya Ghurye is the founder and owner of Fuel4Fashion, the freelance fashion design studio for apparels that caters to new and upcoming fashion design labels with a diverse portfolio of design services. She is a member of the Cherie Blair Foundation’s Women Entrepreneurship Program and has over a decade of fashion industry experience with international labels and start-ups.