Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Tuesday’s Rant: Rushing the Seasons

I really hate the fact that my local Target is already phasing out swimsuits in favor of wooly wraps. And this started a week ago, when the calendar was still at June. This is a familiar rant of mine, which I write about at least once a year; go back here, here, and here if you’d like to read my past rants. And the other day, I found someone who shares my point of view. The following article is from Stylist (with photo courtesy of Getty Images):

Swimsuits are on sale and it's only the beginning of July. Retailers like Old Navy and Gap will be fully merchandised for fall in the next two weeks, and department stores will be stocked by the end of the month. Then, back-to-school garb will be marked down before you even send the kids off to camp.

We know retailers jump the gun on the seasons, but it seems to be getting worse. You'd think technology would allow for retailers and manufacturers to work closer to the season, not further away.

"Once upon a time, designers and apparel brands delivered four collections per year (fall, winter, spring, summer) and most stores were successful and happy with that delivery schedule," retail trend expert Tom Julian tells StyleList. "Then came 10 collections per year in which designers and brands added resort, pre-fall, holiday and more, which helped to bring in inventory and more transitional goods."

It's the fast-fashion retailers like H&M and Zara that are making things move more quickly these days, because they can. And if one does it, they all follow suit. However, there have been some concessions made to this insanity. Designers do show things like shorts and swimsuits for some early fall (aka summer) deliveries, and leather pieces always seem to find their way into early spring selections.

"In the apparel world, designers and brands are always working about two years ahead, committing to fabrics and themes," Julian continues. "The only way to stay competitive is to embrace this model and give retailers what they ask for -- even if the shopper is not asking for it."

In other words, you can buy a swimsuit on sale while you get a head start on your fall wardrobe.


Tina said...

I agree, this is a big pet peeve for me too. But it's not just Target. It's the clothing industry as a whole rant.

Christine said...

what about the summer furniture section gone before the 4th of july and back to school stuff out 1 week after our schools got out !!!!!!!!!
i don't get it !

Elizabeth said...

I think we should just embrace it and be thankful that there are sales in July, when it is still hot, and you can wear the stuff you got at a good deal.
I wonder though, why no one seems to complain much when the swim suits come out during Christmas time. I always feel like I'm the only one.
Since summer is not my favorite, I love getting a sneak peak into fall in July.

CDS said...

YES! This bothers me so much! Nothing worse than walking into Target in August and seeing Halloween items...or being in there in October and seeing Holiday cards...its Out of Control! Stop the madness!!

K10 said...

OMG, THANK YOU!!!! I'm in Texas and it's SOOOOOOO Annoying because - like you all said - sweaters are starting to come out, and we really won't need them here until about ... Mid-October/Early November? But the truly terrible thing if you actually want to find something fall or winter in your size and try it on in all 30 colors, you have to go out now, when you first see the collection hit the shelves, but it's still 105 outside and we're inside trying on bulky sweaters; talk about a stinky fitting room!!! Oh, and if you need new short-sleved items mid-summer, you virtually can't find them because it's all "lets make way for fall" --- what fall?!?! Texas only has TWO tempratures, scorching hot and not scorching hot. (And like elizabeth said - the swim stuff in December - I do NOT want to try on swim suits after I've been stuffin' it for a month eating all those wonderful holiday foods.)

Ugh. GREAT post, T.A.!!!

helencounters said...

i was just about to say the same thing as christine--we went to target this weekend and was greeted by large hanging banners at the entrance for back to school. we were like, what? isn't it just the start of summer? school just let out! poor kids!

Georgia Kent said...

Unfortunatly thats the nature of the beast.... I've worked for Target for 8 years and every year its the same.. Swimsuits come out in March, Sweaters come out in July, and Leave it to Target to put up Back to school signing on July 1st....Not sure what they hope to accomplish but its always been this way.

paasamson said...

This is an unrelated question to your post, but as an expert on Target, do you have an idea of when they start marking down their jewelry online? I have been watching the Vintage Sea Life enamel bracelets online and wondering if it will take several months to mark them down.

What do you think?

Target-Addict said...

Paasamson: I have no real insight into when Target marks down their summer jewelry. But a "loose rule" is that if it's been out for 6 months, they should start to mark it down. In other words, if this bracelet debuted online in March, it is likely to go on sale in August. Your best bet is to just keep watching it!

Target-Addict said...

Thank you to everyone who weighed in on this; it's nice to know that others feel like I do! As for those who mentioned the "Back to School" stuff being out already: the only thing I can think of is that they're catering to the "year round school system". Here is CA, some year round schools go back at the end of July. So with that theory, putting BTS stuff out on July 1 starts to make some sense.

BUT, this causes another problem, because then when "regular school" starts (at the end of August) I've often found that Target is SOLD OUT of certain school supplies my boys need. Very frustrating!

NIkki said...

I'm a little late to this post, but here goes. There are a few dynamics at work here. One, national roll out of BTS gear and clothing. In the southeast, schools generally start end of July through end of August. A lot of parents buy everything (clothes and school supplies) now instead of waiting until it gets colder. That was common where I grew up, GA. We don't usually buy coats this time of year, but we will spend money on long sleves shirts and other clothing that can work well to transition into fall. Another thing is the sales tax holidays. Most states offer one mid-summer, so getting fall merchandise early allows consumers to save now rather than later. Another factor is BTS is a big sales season for retailers. They spent years trying to determine a good start date for the buying season. Most chose mid-July. Since Target likes to turn over stock as quickly as possible (I heard to keep the stores looking fresh), they start discounting summer items in early July.

It's really about marketing. If so many of us didn't want or need to buy right now, no stores would bother putting out merchandise early.

NIkki said...

One other thing I want to point out, but this largely applies to my area: My closest Target is a Super Target located on the border of two states. The other state has no Super Target and is the closest grocery store and department store for a lot of people. Things sell out very quickly here. So I have to buy holiday cards in October to beat the rush.