When You Have to Cancel Orders

AsktheExpertsQ: The cold weather has really taken a bite out of our spring business and I think I’m going to have to make some cancellations, but I don’t want to jeopardize my relationship with my vendors. What should I do?

A: Many buyers are uncomfortable canceling orders, understandably, but part of being a good buyer is managing your on-orders and making sure that they are in line with your current business trends, so it’s your responsibility to make sure that you do not have more inventory than you can sell-through. Have an honest conversation with your vendors. Since this is just part of the reality of doing retail, they should understand, especially if you communicate with them honestly and directly.

You may need to have a conversation with yourself first, and ask how much can you really sell. In the future, you can try to prevent this by always holding back 20% of your OTB up-front. Then, if you need more inventory, you can order it later, once you know how your business is trending. I hope this helps.

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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.
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