Will December sales beat expectations?

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Merchandise planning and strategy expert Steve Pruitt takes a question from a retailer who asks, “Is the success of Black Friday a sign of a good December to come?”

Should traditional men’s specialty stores add e-commerce?

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A reader asks, “Should I be worried about building an online component to my business?” See how our merchandise planning and strategy expert Steve Pruitt answers.

How to get customers excited about fall product

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Steve Pruitt takes a question from a retailer who asks, “What can I do to get customers excited about my fall product?”

To stay on top of the changing economy, update your plan

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Steve Pruitt: You should be doing a major update to your plans once a month and review them each week to make further refinements. And remember, this is not just a strategy for staying on top of a changing economic climate.

Choose marketing over markdowns

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Q: My inventory is high, but only in certain classes and a few sizes. I would like to mark those down, but I don’t want to have a sale or markdown all of my inventory. Any advice? A: That’s an interesting question because a lot of retailers have this challenge and the solution is not […]

Don’t let double-dip fears drag you down

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Consultant Steve Pruitt discusses the possibility of a “double dip” recession and how it might affect retailers. Based on what you’re seeing, how likely is a double dip at this point? When would you expect retailers to feel the effects? A double dip is possible, but not likely. A lot depends on what is going […]

Early fall markdowns

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Q: I’ve seen some of the big department stores marking down early fall merchandise. Is this a promotional trend, or will fall be softer than previously expected? A: There are a few large retailers who ask customers to sign up to buy fall merchandise early for a discount. This is a regular planned promotion and […]

No exciting product?

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Q: I haven’t seen any really exciting product for fall. How can I drive sales with the same old, same old? A: As merchants, we constantly need to be looking for new product because newness drives sales. There will always be new things, but I understand what you’re saying about fall goods not being as […]

How will consumers handle price increases?

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Q: I understand that prices are going up, but how should that affect my buy as we go to market? How do you think consumers are going to react to price increases? A: Their reaction to the price increases will likely depend on whether vendors change price points—meaning they go up by a few dollars—or […]

When is it time to mark down?

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Q: The big department stores in my area have already started to go on sale. Sales are slowing a bit in my business, but I’m not ready to mark down yet. Is this a mistake? A: You should start taking markdowns now. Because we’re at the end of the season, department stores have already begun […]