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Up until the last decade, the warehouse was the Cinderella of retailing. It was the place where top management put the least able and charismatic. But these days the warehouse has to be Cinderella the star.

In today’s retail world, Merchandise Planning is dynamic and continuous. Too many external forces are affecting the retail environment. These include 


• More knowledgeable and more fickle consumers 
• More intense competition on the High Street 
• Longer and more erratic opening hours
• More seasons and faster merchandise turn round 
• More complex sourcing from low cost countries 

In addition, external events (wars, terrorism, protest marches, travel disruptions) are regularly impacting the daily and weekly retail routine.


In this scenario, although the sophistication of computer systems to 'crunch the numbers' is vital, what is paramount is an intelligent approach to the human side of merchandising, and the decision making process. This applies both pre-season and in-season.


Speak to MALCOLM NEWBERY CONSULTING Ltd. about conducting process and systems reviews of your buying + merchandising department


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How much money are you losing through poor merchandising?

Fashion retailers do not know how much, BUT they know it must be quite a lot 


The loss is composed of

• Lost sales caused by being out of stock
• Lost gross margin from forced markdowns caused by
   excess stock
• Interest paid on excess stock caused by poor intake


This can hurt your profit by half -  50% profit reduction. Do you want to find out more about

• What you are losing?
• How to fight merchandising loss?





If only it were as simple as baked beans. Decide what you can sell at an average rate of sale per week. Set a target stock level. Buy to that level and manage your stock on a one for one replenishment basis.

But in fashion, everything changes

• Fabrics
• Garments
• Pricing
• Timing
• Promotion


Planning regimes are needed to cope with

• Pre-season ranges
• Sales forecasts
• Buying budgets
• Timing issues
• Supply chain management
• Receipts (intake)
• Allocation to stores

Then the planning becomes an in-season control system monitoring

• Intake
• Sales
• Stock in store
• Stock at warehouse


Speak to MALCOLM NEWBERY CONSULTING Ltd. about conducting process and systems reviews of your buying + merchandising department




Seasonal merchandise planning is an essential requirement of all fashion retailers. Failure to get the plan right will result in lost sales from out of stock situations, and lost profit from forced markdowns.

Central to the control of seasonal merchandise planning is the Range Plan. Starting from a financial money budget the merchandisers need to make decisions on

• How many ranges in each product category
• How many styles in each range
• The balance between breadth (many styles with a few
   units of each SKU) and depth (a few styles
   with many units per SKU)

The Merchandise Plan will need to consider

• Sales in £s
• Sales in units
• Stock in £s
• Stock in units
• Weeks stock cover
• Space required to present the ranges

This is usually done using store groups to illustrate the look of each range in stores that vary from large to small




At a further level of detail, individual Store Profiles can be developed. These turn the Range Plan through ninety degrees and show the “operational look” of each store group across ranges.

The type of information displayed for each store group includes, by sales period and for each range within the department/product category

• Sales
• Stock
• Margin %


The Range Plan allowed the merchandiser to develop sales, stock and space for an entire season. The Sales plan then explodes that season into a number of sales periods. Sales periods can be whatever the business uses

• Months
• Weeks
• Type of sale (full price, promotion, marked-down)

The Sales Plan outputs allow the merchandiser to view the range plans by period and re-model sales and stock if the results are not satisfactory. The sales plan will also compute vital management information, all of it from the original Range Plan assumptions. The planner must make comparisons between the original plan and the re-modelled figures in money and units.


As the Sales Plan delivers results by period, it produces an automatic view of likely warehouse as well as store stock, and production delivery requirements.


The stock in the store in each period enables the merchandiser to look at the balance of ranges in stores of different sizes to check whether the assortment is presented correctly and fills the available space adequately.






• Units oft sales
• Units of stock
• Sales by option
• Stocks by option
• Intake by option
• Items per linear or square ft
• Display stock
• Stockroom stock

Colour coding is often used to show what are input figures and which are automatic outputs



Aquascutum International Ltd., UK

Interim Operations Director

Merchandise Planning: Reviewed and restructured department

IT Systems: Implemented new integrated computer systems [1996]

Merchandise Planning: Merchandising system for upmarket UK chain Aquascutum [1988]


Boston Consulting Group, UK

Comparison of their client’s approach to merchandising with that of a UK department store [2012]


Collectif Vintage Clothing, UK

Buying + Merchandising processes, systems + organisation review [2018]


Greenwich Group, UK

Merchandise Planning Manager; Implemented new integrated computer systems [1998]


House of Shanghai, China

Range & Merchandise plans for internet marketing start-up [2008]


James Meade, UK

Review and implementation of mail order catalogue planning [1999]


Laura Ashley, UK

Reorganisation of buying and merchandising operations [1992]


Liberty PLC, UK

Commercial Director responsible for merchandising and logistics

IT systems Implemented new integrated computer systems store wide [2001 - 2002]

Merchandise Planning Restructured multi-channel planning system [2001]

Supply Chain Decreased warehouse and distribution costs [2001]

Improved own brand supply planning [2000]


London Red Hot Fashions, UK

Product development & merchandising principles for Chinese clothing start up [2007]



Macys, Canarias

Merchandise Planning system for an expanding retailer of upmarket brands [March 2010]

Design & installation of a WSSI retail system to manage and improve control of sales and stock plans


Marks & Spencer, UK

Supply Chain Logistics; International sourcing cost comparison study [1993]

Merchandise Planning; Buying and merchandising training for the UK’s leading clothing retailer [1987]



Strategic positioning study for a US young womenswear brand with strong links to Chinese manufacturing [2014]


Peacocks, UK

Buying and merchandising review for UK discounter [1995]


Retail Technology Limited, UK

Merchandise Planning for footwear retailers [2008]


TM Lewin, UK

Supply Chain Review of warehouse replenishment procedures [2004]

IT Systems Epos and head office systems search for this shirt retailer

Merchandise Planning Principles of systems to plan both new and replenishment styles and fabrics for own label retailing [2003]


Wear Art, Scandinavia

Expansion into the UK market for a branded supplier of art themed casualwear [2015]


Woolworths, UK

New product group start-up for UK variety store [1994]


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