How Do You Plan for Multiple Retail Stores?

Anyone who owns a retail store will tell you that inventory planning can be complicated. You need to account for your open-to-buy, sell-through rates, sales trends, and of course your financials. So, imagine what it’s like to own multiple stores. Is it even more complicated? Actually, it doesn’t have to be if you have a clear window into your data.

At Blacks, we manage many multi-store accounts. Each client is different, but they tend to do their planning in one of two ways: at the Total level (which rolls up the data from each store into category totals), or By Store.

Unless the locations are very similar in inventory and clientele, we usually recommend a By Store approach to account for differences in inventory, sales patterns, and price levels. Each store tends to have its own rhythm, so accounting for these variances can help you better control costs and take advantage of opportunities.

we We usually recommend a By Store approach to account for differences in inventory, sales patterns, and price levels.

Looking at all of your operations as a Total means looking at less data, but you could miss some nuances. However, if you have a relatively small amount of inventory and very similar operations this could make sense for you.

When we plan By Store, clients look at their open to buy, category totals, and sales trends for each location, and then we roll it all together into totals that help them get a broader view of their business.

But by looking at the different patterns in each store first, we are able to see opportunities such as moving inventory that isn’t selling well in one location to a store where there is more demand for those goods. We can also balance budgets between under-performing and over-performing stores. The clientele of one store may be unique, and require services such as tailoring or styling, whereas the clientele of another store may be more interested in on-the-rack items.

We do have some clients that we plan basically By Store, but who also want to see certain categories from all stores combined together into a total view. This is a bit of a hybrid model and it’s really up to the store owner, and what makes it easier for them to see the trends within their business.

The most important part about planning for one location or many is that the data is reliable, regular, and actionable.

Very few people want to sort through pages and pages of spreadsheets each month. That’s why we have designed Blacks’ Online Portal, giving clients a clear view into aspects of their business, no matter how they operate.

Do you have a multi-store operation? Let us know if you’d be interested in seeing how we could make managing and optimizing your business easier.