The Fashion Buying Cycle and Sub-Seasons in the Industry

Last Updated: 31 Mar 2023
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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

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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 ext 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 Shopping Term used for trips to gain inspiration for design concepts. * Trips depend upon the buyer’s product range & travel budget. * Buyer may visit designer RTW ranges to mass market ranges. * Makes note on key shapes, details, colors and fabric for reference. * Buyers usually have budget to buy samples which are referred as bought samples. * Designers may share responsibility of directional shopping with buyers. Sourcing for product development Garment samples are bought from different stores as during directional shopping which resemble the product range of the buyer or some new trend.

Range Planning It is a stage where buyers define the detail of the range that is to be offered to the customer in terms of styling, fabric, design, suppliers and prices. Pre Selection Time after the Range planning stage at the Buyer’s end can be in form of the Line review/Range review meeting.? Garments samples featuring on the Range plan are presented. Participants are the Design, Marketing, Merchandising and QC teams. Range is reviewed vis a vis: * Styling, Colors, Price and Delivery. * Sourcing strategy regarding product and Supplier base. Period after Line/ Range review

Finalization of the Styles , suppliers, prices for the Final Range.? Involves: * Informing suppliers regarding the styles which have been included in the final Range. * Change in styles if any. * Price re-negotiations. * Order Delivery dates re-negotiations. * Styles dropped. * Request for additional samples if required for the final range review meeting by the buyer. Final Order Placement After the Final Range Selection meeting, orders are placed with the suppliers in form of sending Purchase orders /Purchase sheets for each individual items selected to be on the range.

These may be generated by the Merchandising department or by a separate Purchase department. Critical path/Time and Action Calendar for the buyer The key activities and the timelines associated with them, for processes like product development and production of any item forms the critical path or the Time and Action calendar. By virtue of the T&A the various activities involved in the Product development/Production processes and the responsible party is fixed.

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The Fashion Buying Cycle and Sub-Seasons in the Industry. (2017, Jan 21). Retrieved from

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