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In all the years of my life spent in specialty retail, I truly thought I had “been there, done that” and knew everything about retail. I did the purchasing and pioneering of brands before any other store in the nation. I came up with grandiose concepts for fixtures and displays, which won me awards along the way if you can believe that! I always had my sales staff involved in the actual usage of the products we carried. And so on and so on... There was a time when the competition was minimal; we could buy and for the most part spend what we wanted (at least that’s what we thought). It would sell because we were the one, if not one of the few that had these gems in the apparel and hard goods specialty industry, those were the days! Well, that ended in the early 90’s! You go from “shooting from the hip”, buying what you and maybe your staff thinks is cool and hip  for your demographic, actually making cash, turning your goods, buying and selling more and sleeping pretty darn good. Now everyone is jumping on the bandwagon and the pie gets slashed! We are all rolling the dice (guessing) and hoping to get it right, but end up not turning the goods, and holding onto products because of course it’s going to sell at one point or another! I bought it and it’s a great item I spent $300 on. There is no way I’m going to let it go for the price I paid; it will sell! Then the reality hits hard. You got a few hundred of these floating around yours store and no cash to pay the bills or yourself.

In retail you have to have two essential ingredients. One is that you have to be a good “picker”; you have to buy the right stuff. This is the art of retail! The second and most important ingredient is to have an accurate inventory plan, also known as “Open to Buy”. Open to Buy is the science of retail! Inventory is not just comprised of numbers you put in your point of sale system showing that we sold 10% less denim last year so let’s just order 10% less this year, in turn cuts out the 10% and gives you a monthly budget based on last year, now denim is “On Fire” and we don’t have any! This method will not put you on the offense and help generate substantial profits, it will not help you grow, and is likely to damage your ability to survive. Remember that tomorrow as you read this: styles, trends, economy, virtually everything will change. Last year is over and done with! LET IT GO AND MOVE FORWARD!

My team at Retail Smart Guys is honored to have the science of inventory planning that is and has been 95% accurate for years. We only focus on helping independent retailers thrive in this retail world of big boxes that surround us. Our accuracy in planning cannot be contested! Every plan that we produce is based on time-tested algorithms which include how your store(s) are trending, real time live sales of stores just like yours, with price points and brands similar or identical to what you carry in your store, and many other factors. This planning is based off of the competition and the actual bell curves of what to have and when. With that said, we pick up on the trends in your specific niche in order for you to get in and out of an item within a class or department, make higher maintained markups and turn goods faster.

You have to have a budget and accurate purchasing plan or it will catch up and bite you . If you want to be ahead of your competition and take the stress out of guessing how much, when to land it, when to mark it down, and truly make the money you deserve, then we are here for you.

A majority of the independent retailers in our nation are barely making it. They are either upside down cash-wise, just breaking even but can’t understand how to put any more cash in their pocket after busting their hump for years, and completely burnt out.  On a brighter note, there are retailers that are doing a pretty darn good job at “shooting from the hip”. These are the retailers that we take to a cash level they never thought they could attain. Whether you are struggling, need guidance, and simply would like to make more cash, call us at Retail Smart Guys. We don’t sell you something and say good luck and walk away! We earn our way in your front door each and every month with an accurate action plan becoming part of your team. There is no other group in the nation that is as passionate as we are, nor is there another group that has the necessary firsthand knowledge with unique inventory planning technology.

We will gladly build an inventory analysis for you at no charge, and with no expectations attached! It will shine a light on your business and show you the problems and opportunities that you have never seen before.

We love independent retail. I look forward to hearing from you!

Audrey Watson


Damon Richards, Senior Consultant

Retail Smart Guys LLC.
“A Proud Affiliate of Management-One”

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