How much open-to-buy should I place for spring?

Q: I just got back from the spring shows and the news about the economy is pretty negative. How much open-to-buy should I place for spring, given the possibility of a downturn?

A: You’re right, the news isn’t great, but don’t let it scare you. However, we do know that retail sales tend to decrease after an election year so your best bet is to plan conservatively. Take what you spent last year and dial it back by about 5 percent. So, if you placed 85 percent of your OTB upfront last year, this year you should place 80 percent. This is just a change by degrees, but it should put you in a smart position for spring.

Share / Print

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • Yahoo! Buzz
  • Print
avatar About Steve Pruitt

Steve Pruitt is founder and Senior Consultant of Blacks Retail Analysis and Blacks Consulting. With over 30 years of experience, Steve is one of the most respected merchandise analysts in the industry. His specialty is apparel merchandising and he has worked with clients in every sector of this category. Steve’s approach is highly customized; he tailors his analyses to the particular needs and market of each client. His work ties together the merchandising piece of the business with the client’s overall financial goals to increase sales and streamline operations. Steve is also a trusted general business consultant, known for his ability to help retailers plan growth and manage change.
Ask Steve about merchandise planning and strategy
Note: MRketplace collects promotional fees from site experts.


  1. avatarPeter Rose says:

    No offense intended to Mr. Pruitt, who I’m sure knows his stuff. But I would swear that this advice tries to impart a sense of conservatism. 80% of last year’s receipts, booked in advance, is conservative?

    I can’t find any resonance there. I will be shooting for 40% after Chicago and Las Vegas, and accepting it if I end up as high as 50%. How the heck is anyone supposed to know what’s going to be happening in April and May of 2013? Just book it, and hope for the best? Jeez! I haven’t had that much confidence since the 80s! More power to those that are that sure!

    I’m telling you, we need to be working hard to emulate the women’s model. While Chicago Collective is going on, showing virtually nothing but Spring (all the way out through April and May, right?), STYLEMAX will be showing September, October and November. When I come back to STYLEMAX in October, we’ll be looking then at EARLY spring – – – STILL not fully concerned about April-May-June. For most of us, January-February-March is not the be-all, end-all of the spring season. What the heck is the hurry, the mad rush to tie yourself up as fast as you can?

    I think we need to start pressuring vendors to make a LOT more stuff here, not from a rah-rah go USA standpoint, but a hard-headed business strategy. Figure it out. This model of projecting out this far makes a mockery of running a serious business. Enough, already.

    Add another show in Chicago in October (actually, early November would be better) and April. Take some of the pressure off the vendors for this insane two-time a year all (or none of)-the-marbles orgiastic ritual we keep going through, and take the pressure off of us retailers as we endeavor to be sympathetic to the problems our vendor partners have to cope with in production issues, at OUR peril. I just hate being forced to admit that I’m not smart enough to out-think this conundrum! The pressure keeps getting worse, so MAYBE we should consider changing a few habits?

    Can I consider that a “done-deal”, Mr. Schedler? Thank You! I happen to believe that I’m the ONLY ONE that really thinks we should do this. On either side of the selling tables. I still think I’m right. Even if that happened, I’d commit 30-35% early, another 30-35% at the new shows, and STILL leave TONS of room for re-orders and new items I can’t live without.

Speak Your Mind