Discuss the concerns of suppliers (i.e., garment makers) and retailers in the apparel channel of distribution. Is it fair that retailers should expect suppliers to respond so quickly? Is it fair that suppliers should demand long lead times?
Tension is escalating between apparel retailers and suppliers during the economic recovery. Retailers previously placed orders almost a year in advance, and suppliers produced high volumes cheaply. Now many retailers are placing small initial orders, and if styles take off with consumers, they quickly reorder—a tactic known as “chasing.” Teen retailer Aeropostale has been buying conservatively and chasing for items that are hot with buyers. Appropriate inventory levels in the apparel industry have always been difficult to predict, but it appears that retailers are pushing this worry back to suppliers.

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January 21, 2012

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