Travel is an integral part of Jeanswest's business all year round, with Stage and Screen managing flights, accommodation, car hire and transfers for Jeanswest. And while most of us are winding down for the Christmas break and long summer holidays, spare a thought for those in the retail industry who are on the front line of the seasonal shopping frenzy.
Over the frenetic Christmas period last year, Australian’s spent more than $46 billion. So how does a retail business prepare for the onslaught of Christmas? We asked Jeanswest for their insight into this crazy time of year, which presents both opportunities and challenges.
The planning starts around 11 months out from Christmas. Essentially the whole year is heavily skewed towards developing the summer and Christmas range, training and prepping staff, planning logistics, preparing marketing and then regularly fine tuning the plan to make sure the entire business is ready. According to Jeanswest’s General Manager for Retail, Daniel Le Roy, “the busyness builds throughout the year. But it really is 11 months of preparation for one month of peak sales; we do 15% of our total sales for the year in December”.
With stores across Australia and New Zealand, and international buying trips three times a year, travel is a big part of their preparation. Senior management can travel up to a whopping two weeks of every month, while BDMs, state managers and area managers also spend many days criss-crossing the country.
Of course some things can’t be planned for, such as customers delaying spending until last minute or competitors deciding to go on sale early. The fashion and clothing sector can be especially fickle – and they rely heavily on warmer summer temperatures arriving on cue. But for the team at Jeanswest it’s all part of the challenge. “It’s a very reactive period for retailing in general – and that includes us,” explains Daniel. “We have to monitor the market closely to gauge consumer confidence - and sometimes that means reacting very quickly to sales results, which may be via a new promotional strategy or adapting marketing communications.”
The Christmas period impacts on every department in the Jeanswest business. The customer care team, for example, usually receive around 200 calls a day. However in the lead up to Christmas they take over 4000 calls per day. Stock and inventory levels also have to be managed with military precision. “Up to 100 boxes of new stock can arrive in store in a single day,” said Daniel. “We need enough staff on board to take delivery and unpack, while still delivering on our commitment to high customer service. So managing staffing levels is critical, especially with longer trading hours and public holidays.”
What does Jeanswest suggest putting under the Christmas tree?
Jeanswest has a strong tradition of dressing their customers and their loved ones for the holiday season. Their casual menswear and womenswear resort collection is very popular, as are their 100% Australian made Homespun Tees. “We plan our range carefully for our climate as we are very proud of our Australian Heritage. It is also important to us that we offer an inclusive, realistic and flattering range for all shapes and sizes,” said Daniel.
This summer Jeanswest has launched a 100% Australian made and designed menswear collection that showcases 6 winning Tee designs by local students, all based on the theme ‘home’. Jeanswest is becoming increasingly known for its contribution to Australian fashion in the areas of local manufacturing and education.