Frugal Shoppers

Q: Are we entering a new era of smart, frugal shoppers? If so, how will luxury retailers cope with this? A: Consumers are becoming more frugal, but that’s because they are scared right now. That doesn’t mean that they will continue to be frugal when the economy improves. They still want the things they’ve always […]

Enthusiasm when inventory is low

Q: I know that the current retail climate requires that I cut back on some merchandise and keep in-season open-to-buy, as you suggest. My question is, how do keep my staff enthusiastic about selling when there’s not as much inventory to sell? A: Salespeople don’t just get excited about merchandise, they get excited about new […]

How to Stay Well-Positioned

Q: We’re obviously in an economic mess right now, but I believe it will get better. What do I have to do right now to take advantage of the market when it turns around? A: First, you have to ask yourself what your company needs to look like when the economy improves. Consider what kind […]

Fall Buying

Q: I just came off a terrible season in terms of sales and margins and now I’m ready to go to market again. Business doesn’t seem to be getting any better so how should I plan sales and buying going into fall? A: We are going through an unprecedented time so it’s hard to predict […]

Pre-Market Panic

Q: My sales have been horrible and now it’s time to go back to market. What should I do? A: There are two things you have to remember—you need to flow new merchandise to give your customers a reason to buy, and you have to stick with what you stand for. The customer base that […]

Adding Off-Price

Q: My expenses are starting to move up as sales are falling off, so I’m trying to increase my margin. How can I go about getting off-priced goods? A: Number one, you have to have open-to-buy (OTB) before you can go looking for off-priced goods. Secondly, you need either cash on hand or open credit […]

Using One’s Own Money

Q: How do you know when to stop putting your own personal fortune into the business in unpredictable economic times? Do you let go at a quarter million or a half million, etc.? A: To answer this question you first have to ask yourself a series of questions. For instance, how much money have you […]

Cutting Costs

Q: I own a small store in Westport, Conn. and we have seen a huge drop in business since the financial fallout on Wall Street. In fact, Main Street looks like a ghost town. What should I do to cut costs keep my store in business? In these trying times, you need to concentrate on […]


Q: I’ve started landing goods earlier in the season. Should I adjust when and how I take markdowns? A: The quick answer is yes—you should take markdowns earlier. If you are landing goods early, the merchandise is aging earlier in season and needs to be cleared out. But make sure that you are competitive with […]

Fall Deliveries

Q: Business has been slow for us this summer. Should I delay delivery of my fall merchandise or cancel orders until business picks up? A: Absolutely no – you should not delay or cancel deliveries. You need to land new merchandise so that your core customers have a reason to come in and buy. We […]