You may have seen the “Christmas in July” sales that retailers currently have in place, complete with ornaments and garland. Get people in the holiday mood, the thinking goes, and you will move more product, as if it’s Christmas.
But are consumers ready to spend? Although I think there’s pent up demand out there, it’s likely we have a ways to go before we reach 2004-2007 spending levels again. Talk about double-dip recession and the summer vacation season does not bode well for retail performance improvement in the short term.
This “great recession” we have been experiencing over the past two years has harkened us all back to our depression era roots and made us realize that the values of frugality and saving that our parents espouse make sense even today. Of course, you need to treat yourself on occasion, just maybe hold off on that imported fur coat, or leisure suit, that you have your eye on.
So what are retailers to do?
Given the low spending trend (and corresponding expectation for discounting), it’s no surprise that vertically integrated, brand name and private label retailers have dramatically streamlined their operations over the past two years to squeeze every last bit of margin out of sales. They have focused on simplifying and unifying the apparel, footwear, accessory, and CPG development process by integrating specifications, calendars, and line plans. They have become more strategic in the material purchases and commitments they make with their vendors, and leverage sales and operations planning information to more accurately predict sales levels for the coming season. Sounds, at least in part, like a job for PLM.
Softlines, hardlines, & footwear manufacturers and retailers are focusing their businesses on what they’re good at, taking the time to better understand customer needs, unifying their global value chain on a single set of information, and becoming more efficient with their new product development and launch processes - across every season. These are all reasons why these companies continue to look to PLM.