Buying Cycle

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The Buying Cycle refers to the key events and the processes in which the fashion buyer is involved in order to buy a garment range for a retail or a mail order company. ‡
The length of the buying cycle varies from company to company. It usually takes a year between reviewing the current season’s sale and delivering the product into stores.

Fashion Industry traditionally splits the year into two main seasons; * Spring/Summer- February- July Autumn
* Winter- August ± January
The competitive and constantly changing fashion business requires a more frequent introduction of merchandise, resulting in most stores introducing new ranges many times in between these two main seasons. The occurrence and the names of sub-seasons vary from company to company.

Sub-Seasons
Seasons| Approximate Durations (with Overlaps)|
Spring Transition| mid Jan - Feb end| 6 weeks|
Spring| Feb beg – Mar end| 8 weeks|
Spring Promo| Apr beg - mid Apr| 2 weeks|
Summer 1| mid Apr - May end| 6 weeks|
Summer 2| mid May - mid July| 8 weeks|
Summer Sale| mid July - Aug beg| 2 weeks|
Autumn Transition| mid July – Aug end| 6 weeks|
Autumn| Aug beg - Sept end| 8 weeks|
Winter 1| Oct beg - mid Nov| 6 weeks|
Winter Festive/Holiday| mid Oct - mid Nov| 3 weeks|
Winter 2| mid Nov – Jan beg| 6 weeks|
Winter Sale| Jan beg - mid Jan| 2 weeks|

PHASES - Various ranges introduced within the season.
TRANSITIONALS - Ranges which bridge the gap between one season and the next season.

The Buying Cycle

Review of current Season’s sales

Budget Planning

Comparative Shopping

Directional Shopping

Sourcing for product development

Range planning

Garment samples sourcing for range

Pre Selection of garment samples

Price negotiation with suppliers

Final Range Selection

Placing orders for ranges

Pre production sampling & approvals

Bulk garment manufacturing

Delivery of products to the retailer

Purchase by customer

Review of current season’s sales
*In the current scenario buyer works simultaneously for three seasons with very challenging workload. Buyer handles three buying cycles which overlaps at one time - Review of sales of on going season, Range planning for the next season & Pre production approvals for the coming seasons.

Review of current Season’s sales
This review often takes the form of presentations to the buying team and the design department team if the company has one with samples of garments from the range which was in stores last season and analysed. QC department may contribute to the meeting by commenting on any technical problems which may explain low sales figure, for instance colour or fit in production differing from the catalogue photograph of the garment. After sales review meeting, Buyer is armed with the knowledge of which styles the customer currently likes and dislikes and a framework of successes to build upon for the new season. So a rough idea of a new range plan can start to be penciled in.‡ This whole exercise is further gets the flavor of current trends, PESTEL influence and affected by Next season’s forecasting. They may also be learnt from other buyer’s sales figures, so if a new fabric or colour has been trialed in another product, the buyer can decide whether or not to run it too. Budget Planning

Merchandisers usually plan budgets in conjunction with buyer. The framework of the budget is based largely on the last season’s performance as discussed at the range review. Comparative Shopping

* Often referred as comp. shop.
* Under taken at the beginning of each season and continues with once a month visit. * Buyers & Designers are involved.
* Starts with the looking at current merchandise in the stores of competitors which sell comparable ranges. * Report will be produced with few sketches & information grid. * Analysis of missing important trends in own range.

Directional...
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