How are retailers adapting their purchase planning?


Drop-off delays, cancellations of trade fairs, postponed collections,
the question of purchasing planning is at the heart of the disruptions
brought about by the crisis. Added to this is the digital transformation –
that of fashion weeks but also of showrooms and trade shows – to which
fashion professionals are still trying to acclimatise. To cope with this
rapidly changing landscape, buyers of concept stores and e-tailers are
adopting different approaches, some with more confidence than others. In
order to get a feel for the situation, FashionUnited contacted five
retailers. Their responses provide a heterogenous panorama of current needs
and adaptations.

Overview of post-covid impacts on purchasing schedules
:

  • Purchases that are stretching over time,
  • Dropping with fewer items,
  • Themes from AW20 are sometimes carried over to SS21,
  • The agility of retailers specializing in eco-responsible brands,
  • Importance of pre-collections.

Zeineb Chaouch, co-founder and creative direction at Le DiX

Le DiX is a young Parisian concept store, inaugurated in January 2020 in
the 8th arrondissement. It offers young brands and pieces created in
collaboration with artists. Since May 2020, the location also has an e-shop.

Could you explain your purchase schedule in normal times and how it has
been adapted to the impact of Covid-19?

Zeineb Chaouch : Our purchasing schedules are quite particular: for
major brands such as For Love & Lemons or Sister Jane, we place seasonal
orders for deliveries in very limited quantities but at high frequencies
(every month).

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Other established brands such as House of Sunny and By Malina follow the
usual calendar with two collections per year (Autumn/Winter and
Spring/Summer).

However, many of our brands are part of an eco-friendly supply chain and
are therefore less frequent. Many of these brands make less than one
collection per year.

Although supporting this type of supply chain is a disadvantage nowadays
because it does not fit in with “fast-fashion” – which is still very much a
part of consumer demand – it’s an advantage in the post-Covid era, because
it does not disrupt our calendar.

When will Le DiX be purchasing for the SS21 season?

We remain in constant communication with all our partner brands and
support each other in these times of crisis. Therefore we will place orders
when our partner brands are ready to take them.

We have very little visibility at the moment, mainly due to the fact
that a large part of our partner brands are very young with few structures
and means and are thus the most affected by the crisis.

Will pre-collections and capsule collections still be of the same
interest for Le DiX?

Due to the size of the structures we work with, these collections are
not applicable for us. However, for capsule collections, we collaborate a
lot with artists to create unique pieces based on the fusion of art and
upcycling. Therefore we will decrease the quantities produced but will
continue to support young artists.

Maud Barrionuevo, purchasing manager at 24S

24S is Le Bon Marché’s e-commerce platform, formerly known as “24
Sèvres”. Introduced by LVMH in 70 countries in 2017, it was created to
participate in the growing market of luxury digital commerce. The site
offers items from more than 200 brands, the majority of which belong to the
LVMH group.

What is your purchasing schedule under normal circumstances and did you
have to adjust it?

Maud Barrionuevo: The women’s summer pre-collections belong to the vast
majority of purchases and are normally made between mid-May and mid-July
for delivery from November to January. Then fashion weeks start in
September with shows in New York, London, Milan and Paris at the end of
September.

When will 24S be purchasing for the SS21 season?

This season is very special and we are considering several brand
strategies: a smaller drop or sometimes a capsule presented later. AW20
themes are sometimes kept for SS21.

Finally, other brands only offer a single drop in September. As for the
fashion shows, we don’t know yet what will happen. The men’s calendar is
tighter and the pre-collections take place in May/June, with catwalk
purchases being made in July. So most brands have showcased their
collection in a single presentation, mostly digital.

Will pre-collections and capsule collections still be of the same
interest for 24S?

Yes, we are interested in presenting these products at the end and
beginning of 2021, as expected by 24S customers. It’s therefore very
important to preserve these.

Post-Covid: How are retailers adapting their purchase planning?

L’Exception – Paris

Régis Pennel, founder of L’Exception

Located in the heart of Paris, under “La Canopée du Forum des Halles”,
L’Exception is a concept store featuring creative brands for men and women
and also has an e-shop.

Could you explain your regular purchase schedule and then how this has
been adapted according to Covid-19?

Régis Pennel : Normally, the schedule is very busy: we make four to five
appointments per day. For this season, we’ll probably slow down the pace
because the purchases will take longer.

When will L’Exception make purchases for the SS21 season?

Our SS21 purchases start at the end of June and go on until October,
with many more appointments in July. Before, we used to finish menswear
around July 10-15, but now we have appointments until the end of July.

Will pre-collections and capsule collections still be of the same
interest for L’Exception?

For the pre-collections, yes. We’ve already spent a lot of time and
budget on them. It’s important because they’re delivered very early in
November/December.

Post-Covid: How are retailers adapting their purchase planning?

Macaplace – Nantes

Claire Rocher Caillard, co-founder of Macaplace concept store

Macaplace is a Nantes-based concept store, which was launched in
November 2019. The location is distinguished by a layout similar to an
apartment, on the first floor of a building in the city center. The store
offers high-end fashion made by international brands (such as Modetrotter
and Suzie Winkle) and also has its own e-shop.

Could you explain your regular purchasing schedule and then how this
has been adapted according to Covid-19?

Claire Rocher Caillard : We partner with brands and designers who work
on collections ahead of time, but not a year ahead of time. For example,
this summer, we made our purchases at the end of 2019, beginning of 2020.
Covid-19 has unfortunately impacted some designers who will no longer be
able to deliver their entire collection…

When will you make your purchases for the SS21 season?

Not before the end of 2020.

Will pre-collections and capsule collections still be of the same
interest for Macaplace?

Pre-collections, no, but capsule collections, yes. The principle of
creating exclusives in limited editions (also in time) is perfect for us
and proposes different things.

Tiffany Hsu, fashion buying manager at Mytheresa

The Mytheresa e-commerce site offers clothing, bags, shoes and
accessories from more than 180 international luxury and designer brands
such as Balenciaga, Burberry, Alexander McQueen, Stella McCartney and Saint
Laurent. Since recently, Mytheresa also offers men’s fashion.

Does the way you are currently preparing for SS21 differ from your
usual procedure?

Tiffany Hsu: In terms of planning, we are working and planning as we did
in previous seasons. Currently, we are buying via digital showrooms and
video call appointments if they are based in another city. We have visited
a few local showrooms where security measures have of course been applied.

Will your purchase for next season differ in terms of timing and
budgeting?

No, we plan to place our orders as usual to ensure that deliveries
arrive on time. We are increasing our budgets, compared to last year.

This article was originally published on FashionUnited.FR,
translated and edited.

Photo Credit: Le DiX, L’Exception, Macaplace

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