TK Maxx - The Poster Child for Short Order Fashion
In the midst of the global pandemic, with a second wave threatening and further lockdowns looking ever more likely, retail experts have been championing the importance of e-commerce in order for businesses to survive the crisis. Industry heavyweights have been rethinking their E-tail strategies to create a seamless online/offline experience, and it's clear that many small independents have taken this advice and created their first online store – share prices of e-commerce platform provider Shopify have more than doubled since March alone. Yet the discount retailer TK Maxx chose to close its online store for over a month during the height of the crisis, and implemented daily order limits when it did eventually reopen, in order to protect the health of its staff and customers.
Surely these extreme safety measures must have taken a toll on the company's fortunes? Unsurprisingly the company made a loss in the first quarter of the year with sales falling by 31%, but while other retail chains are studying administration procedures, TK Maxx have risen to become the UK's sixth largest retailer, taking over from the giant that is Arcadia Group's Topshop. Company directors are reportedly looking forward to the second half of the year with confidence and are even looking to expand their high street presence with more store openings in the near future. So how did this discount chain store buck industry trends and come out of the crisis stronger than before?
The secret to its success, it seems, is in the company's agile buying approach. Unlike other major retailers which purchase their stock months in advance, TK Maxx follows the short order purchase model, buying “little and often” according to current industry trends. So while other major retailers were stuck with warehouse loads of bikinis and holiday fashion which was no longer of interest to a consumer base whose Summer holidays had been cancelled; TK Maxx was able to reduce its purchasing during the enforced closure of high street stores and quickly react to customer needs, concentrating on more popular product ranges such as homeware and childrenswear upon reopening. Every item purchased goes directly to the shop floor, so there's no guesswork or forecasting required – the purchasing team can react directly to immediate sales and plan the next investment accordingly. As other stores are looking for ways to offload unwanted stock, TK Maxx is now in the enviable position to be able to snap up deals from retailers around the world and pass these reductions onto their customer base which, in the current climate, is looking for bargains more than ever.
The Coronavirus crisis has clearly shaken up the fashion and retail industries. Major fashion houses are looking to move to more “seasonless” designs, and away from the relentless five season a year fashion calendar which until now has been at the heart of traditional sourcing methods. The bi-annual fashion weeks predicting trends months in advance, the never-ending trade show seasons around the world, the forward ordering of stock based on what the industry assures us will be popular - these methods are no longer relevant, or even possible in some cases. TK Maxx's short order purchasing model has allowed it to continue to grow even in these unprecedented times, and the benefits of this agile technique are clear as we move forward into an uncertain future. Fortunately, it's not only industry giants that can take advantage of this innovation – with wholesale fashion marketplaces like TradeGala, retailers of all sizes can purchase short order fashion from international brands in just a few clicks. From purchase to store within less than a week in most cases, independent retailers can adapt to their customers' needs and update their stock without the financial risk. With the best fashion, shoes and accessories brands from around the world TradeGala offers buyers womenswear, menswear and childrenswear at the touch of a button. Make short order purchasing the reason for your retail business success – register for a buyer account today at TradeGala.
Written by Amber Domenech Patey