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  • Writer's pictureCherie Beslich

Monday Retail Trade: How fashion merchandisers can smash reporting to drive profit growth

Use these fashion merchandising reporting tips to quickly prepare for your in-season retail trade meeting, every Monday.

fashion Monday morning retail trade meeting

Sunday scaries. Smonday. Monday blues.

If you work in fashion merchandising, chances are you’ve experienced these night-before symptoms. Monday morning means it’s time for the weekly retail trade meeting, usually scheduled at a time that makes it humanly impossible to pull all your reporting and analysis together.

POV Merchandiser: You arrive at the office early, because you want a head start but… amongst other things, the data hasn’t been refreshed from the previous week. With stress levels peaking, an hour later you eventually begin your day at the usual time. Great.

Slicing, dicing, pivoting and amending endless rows in excel to illustrate your narrative. Hang on, are you even working in the correct version of the file? You attempt to pull the stock information from a separate system to add to your sales data, followed by excel’s dreaded spinning wheel of death… and everything is gone. Once you FINALLY have the data the way you want it… um, what is it you should be looking for again? Sound familiar?

Error message of excel not responding
All the waiting in the world, your report ain't coming back.

Reporting shouldn’t be stressful, scary, or take up your entire day. To reduce your legwork, here we run through what to report within your retail business to alleviate those nerves and present your findings cool as a cucumber.

What is in-season trade?

What is the purpose of in-season trade meetings?

What are the benefits of in-season trade?

What are the common obstacles?

What to include in your in-season trade reporting?

Sales performance

Product performance

Stock management & future orders

Other departments activities

Pulling it all together & presenting like a pro

What is in-season trade?

If you're a newbie to the retail game, in-season trade or retail trade meetings are a key part of the retail merchandising function. They help the whole team understand how your business is trading during the season and usually take place weekly on a Monday morning.

Pending the size of the business, management may provide a top line view of total business performance. Department managers, buyers, merchandisers and or planners report on the previous week's sales and other KPIs used to monitor performance and discuss actions based on the results.

screenshot of Style Arcade app with pop ups for trade report, promo results, and designers

What is the purpose of in-season trade meetings?

There are three main purposes of the in-season trade meeting:

  1. Review trade performance - against set KPIs

  2. Decide trade actions - What items need replenishing? What needs to be added to clearance? A category not performing and you are not sure why? Do you need to conduct a deep dive to see where the issues are?

  3. Align on urgent tasks for the week - This may involve chasing more stock, or pulling items forward to protect the following week’s or month's intake

What are the benefits of in-season trade?

You are essentially keeping your finger on the ever-changing retail pulse. Imagine discovering a trend you invested heavily into switched off months ago and now you are left with a large pile of overstock to clear. Performing a weekly in-season trade meeting will ensure no surprises at the end of the season.

When you arrive at the end of the season and conducting the post-season analysis, your narrative is done for you. After all, you have been talking about your business in trade every week for 6 months, so half the work is already done.

Weekly trade will also help you to:

  • Remain proactive and identify opportunities - if you’re reacting, you’re often too late

  • Identify and mitigate risks early - spot an underperforming style, cut your losses and mark it down

  • Ensure team alignment - one department overperforming and another underperforming? How can the two departments work together to ensure top line goals are met? Shifting replenishment funds from one department to another immediately springs to mind.

What are the common obstacles?

To run a successful trade meeting you need solid data. Using multiple data sources to build reports can be a time-consuming nightmare. But, without solid reporting, your decisions won’t have legs.

Data integrity is one of the biggest challenges faced by retailers.

  • multiple versions of the same document meaning no source of truth,

  • loss of changes from version to version and person to person,

  • or even worse human errors such as accidental data deletion, and bad formulas can cost the business valuable profit.