Deciphering Stores’ Fashion CyclesBy Paula Ebben

BOSTON (CBS) – It doesn’t make much sense when you’re shopping in the depths of winter and the stores are filled with bikinis, but there are no boots to be found.

A number of women on Commonwealth Avenue near Boston University told us they were not interested in shopping for summer fashions when the temperature is below freezing.

“I am just not thinking of that right now, “said one woman.

Advertising executive and Babson College professor Glenn Kelley says there is a retailing strategy involved here.

First, the stores are playing upon our moods.

“Because people are just so tired of the snow and rain and cold and gray for months and months of winter, so there is kind of a psychological factor of people wanting to move it along,” explained Kelley.

If that means that a new bathing suit in the middle of winter can make you at least feel better, then there is going to be competition for that business.

Paula Ebben reports

“They are trying to be the first retailers to get those buyers in the door, so I think that’s why you are seeing earlier and earlier moves,” added Kelley.

Think of it like buying Christmas ornaments in August. Kelley says consumers can make this work for them, even it does seem a bit odd.

“You have the best selection at that point, and if retailers are offering hot prices and hot sales on these items, winter coats in summer or swim suits in winter, the consumer actually has the advantage because you will have a good deal, and you will get the best selection,” according to Kelley.

Another factor is the fashion cycle. It’s based on just two seasons: Spring and Fall. That also creates some overlap with the some styles of clothing.

Comments (14)
  1. Sue Eskenazi Sweeney says:

    I was told that they bring out the summer wear so that people who go away on winter vacation to the warmer places in Feb and March, can what they need, i.e., swimsuites, etc.

  2. Charlie B says:

    Seems like a dumb strategy. How about if Home Depot only had lawn mowers for sale in winter? You think it would make people dream about cutting their grass and evoke a purchase out of them? These retailers are foolish and losing out on sales. Wake up and smell the coffee people.
    Good grief!

  3. Annmarie says:

    when i use to work for dept store long time ago
    we use to ship summer wear in the fall .
    christmas in summer time i dont no why they do this but that
    how they rain there stores.
    i think they are right they should have winter wear in the winter and summer wear in the summer
    but they been doing this for long time and i work in the Dept store wearhouse for years back in the 70s they been doning this
    have good weekend

  4. Lucy says:

    This is old news. Obviously it’s not consumer driven because buying summer clothes in the dead of winter doesn’t make me feel better. I still have summer clothes from last summer if I were going away some place warm. I’d still have to come back here and I think that would be hard. It was hard when we went away in the fall to nice weather to come back to winter here. If I buy a nice outfit that I can wear now then I will feel better. This is what happens when consumers are ignored because others think they know more. They don’t.

  5. Lucy says:

    I can’t wear summer clothes now. That depresses me. If I buy something like a bathing suit that I have to wait to wear. I will forget about it. If I buy something that I can enjoy now then I will feel a little better. Stupid. It’s driven by the fashion industry. They tell us what we should want. We should push back.

  6. Cynic says:

    It’s February…Theres 3000 inches of Snow on the ground…and you still havn’t bought boots?

    1. L.M. says:

      yes, but my boots got a hole in them and i need another pair… now, its February, theres 3000 inches of snow on the ground, I have money to spend, and i cant go out and buy boots. I have to purchase online and wait for them? cant try them on, see if i like…

  7. emom says:

    Yeah but try finding all those summer clothes june and july,,, You will then find fall clothes,, its a mean thing to do,,, and if you dont buy what you want you may not be able to get them when you want….. ROTTEN RETAILERS

  8. Deanna says:

    I think it’s stupid especially this winter you can’t even buy a snow blower and they are not shipping anymore because of the spring line…..I have a snow blower so I’m not concerned but those who never had to have one until now because of the astronomical amounts of snow they can’t get one now until late summer kind of stupid the stores are losing out on money I think

  9. Cynic says:

    I kmow as a fact that the Goodwill Store doesn’t play these games.

  10. mrskbc says:

    Yes, it’s a real pain when your kid grows out of their boots in Feb. and there are no more to be had anywhere. We order online if we need something seasonal that the stores don’t stock anymore. We lost our sleds under one of the heavy snowfalls–but no sleds to be found anywhere at the stores. We finally ordered some of those online too–who knew it was so easy! Beats running around everywhere, especially in this weather. So, they don’t have what I need, I buy elsewhere.

  11. janis says:

    yeah well sometimes things happen to your boots or gloves and you need to replace them…. but with what if they are all gone!!! a bikini isn’t going to keep me warm.

  12. Sammied says:

    Always thought marketing like this was stupid. They miss out on a lot of sales in the current season by doing stuff like this. Someone sold them a bill of goods and they swallowed it hook line and sinker. If they actually asked customers, they would realize it is a dumb idea. Forget the marketing people, listen to the customers.

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