Peak season sales numbers for 2009 moved in a positive direction overall and are encouraging retailers to continue their proven strategies in the coming year, according to a recent Tompkins Supply Chain Consortium survey report, Lessons Learned from a Tough Market.
To get a snapshot of best practices for the 2009 peak season, the consortium polled top retail companies on the supply chain strategies they used to get the most out of people, processes and technology.
The top four retail inventory planning strategies used by respondents were:
• Reduced inventory levels
• Increased emphasis on forecasting
• Improved planning processes and tools
• Increased reporting and information
The survey also shows that reducing inventories did not negatively impact sales volume; inventory levels remained high enough to decrease the chance of stock-outs. Nearly one-third of those surveyed did not see any lost sales due to reduced inventory, and two-thirds lost less than 5 percent of sales due to inventory reductions. Ten percent had improved sales numbers.
Another factor that played into the successful peak season for retail companies was minimal price discounting. In general, survey respondents used less price discounting in 2009 as compared to 2008 and compared to the amount of discounting that was anticipated.
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