By Ray A. Smith
Over the years it seems that winter is taking longer and longer to arrive. However, it does not seem that the clothing retailers have recognized this emerging trend as I still see sales to offload summer clothes and replace them with winter starting earlier each year. This inability of the retail firms to predict the weather is actually costing them money as despite their best marketing plans and promotional pricing customers will simply not buy a product that they do not need. Think of the supply chain, clothing is often ordered months in advance based on what the weather typically is at that time of year. However, temperatures are often different from what was predicted—milder-than-usual winters, cold springs or otherwise inconsistent weather—The result is that clothes that are all wrong for the climate stay on racks and get discounted, hurting sales. So what are the international clothing retailers to do? According to the article The Next Fashion Trend: Weather Forecasting retails have turned to big data to determine the optimal time to change clothing lines to align with the weather. Fashion schools are starting to add into their curriculum classes on advanced predictive analytics. FIT a renowned fashion school launched a new course called Predictive analytics for planning and forecasting in which they focus on case studies with weatherization. The course is geared for students in retail and merchandising careers. Armed with advanced analytics companies like JC Penney and Macys are making smarter decisions regarding how they order products and when to stock their shelves. All of this to ensure optimal sales are met for each season.