Last year’s extraordinarily warm winter had numerous effects on our daily lives. Consider your general thought process when deciding what to wear for the day; it wasn’t until about February that anyone even had to consider large winter coats or really cold-weather fashion whatsoever. Obviously, winter eventually did settle in for all of us, but those extra months of graciously warm weather came with more effects upon the retail world than it did us. This being especially true for Christmas, universally the biggest shopping holiday of the calendar year.
Stores were left with large amounts of overstocked winter clothing, thinking the assumed shipments would be appropriate prior to the season. Clearly, this wasn’t the case, effectively raising markdowns and reduced margins. This year, many retail stores are looking to safeguard themselves from the possibility of this occurring again this holiday season. This means breaking away from most of the holiday themes in favor of more customizable, versatile clothing that are appropriate gifts regardless of the weather conditions come December. There’s no reason to think the traditional Christmas sweaters and holiday-oriented products won’t be available, just that it will not be seen in the same massive availability this year that many have been accustomed to in years prior. It is safe to think that there will be a strong emphasis on technological purchases, given that their appeal isn’t very reliant upon the holiday season specifically compared to the ways in which fashion must adapt to each season.
It also forces many retailers to be more conservative in their pursuit of profits, thinking more towards lower gains from tighter inventory. In many ways, it could backfire if demand returns with colder weather, making last year’s turn of events much more of an outlier than the new rule. That would result in a substantial loss in profit from the inventory unavailable to interested consumers. Still, last year did occur and many retailers would rather prepare for the chance of it happening than gamble with the possibility of it not.
While many may be using internet mediums to purchase their holiday gifts, the effect of websites like this may actually have a positive effect. This might be the case when considering the the added focus on the retail stores that have been able to survive through internet-driven shopping movement of the past half decade. Even so, it seems that the pricing will still be a strong determinant in where consumers bring their business as the tradeoff between cost and convenience continues to play a factor in the market. It seems that being cautious between both competition and expected inventory may be the smartest play for retailers just looking to stay in the positive come this November-December shopping season.