Sunday, May 13, 2012

Daffy's is a True Retailer

As much as I criticize the menswear selection at Daffy's, the one thing they do right consistently is pricing.  The items are, more often than not, priced correctly from the get go, and if any merchandise does not sell quickly, it is marked down to effectuate an expedient sale.  Daffy's, more than most of its competitors, has its pricing model, including initial pricing and subsequent markdowns, down to a science.  The point is to move merchandise quickly and efficiently so that new items can consistently be brought in for higher turnover.

The reason I'm pointing this out is the experience I had last weekend at a local Saks Off 5th store. I needed some brown shoes, and tried on one pair that I had seen there several times, going all the way back to last summer.  It turns out the shoes (Saks brand - decent but nothing phenomenal) had been sitting in the store since June of 2011.  Literally, sitting on the store shelf for close to a year.  But here's the key point - the shoes had never been marked down, and the only discount would be the 30% off that the regular priced shoes were receiving.  So I asked a manager to check on the price of the shoes for me, to see if what was coming up was indeed correct.  That took 20 minutes, after which he confirmed that they were simply the regular price less the 30% off.

In the meantime, another sales associate stopped by to use the register for something else. I mentioned about the shoes being on the shelf for a year, and she said that was nothing - she has dress shirts in her department that have been there for almost two years with no markdown. I was in utter astonishment --- what is the purpose of keeping an item on a shelf for two years? Is this a clothing gallery to display clothes, or a retail outlet meant to sell merchandise?

So when the manager came back and confirmed the regular price, I showed him that the register indicated the shoes came in in June 2011, and that they were the last pair; clearly they should have been on the clearance rack w/the 50% discount. Begrudgingly, the manager said he would give me a 40% discount (between the 30 and 50). It seemed painful to him that he should even give an extra 10% discount.

So the point of this drawn out story being -- while the merchandise at Daffy's may sometimes be spotty, they are a solid retailer and because of that, I sincerely hope, won't be going anywhere anytime soon. But stores like Off 5th, Neiman's Last Call and Nordstrom Rack have another thing coming. Their merchandise is generally overpriced from the start and markdowns are sometimes non-existent. Any retail business should have its primary goal to be moving merchandise. It is quite a simple principle, but some don't seem to understand it for some reason. Daffy's does. Now we just need to fix a few things merchandise-wise and we're ready to go.

On related note -- if you find a suit from last season sitting around (look for season code E on the hang tag) --- they are all marked down to a final sale price of $31.49. I helped a colleague at work find an Ortenzi suit at this price (fully canvassed, made in Italy), which is completely insane, but shows how much Daffy's simply wants to move its merchandise.  Saks Off 5th --- the same suits that received their first markdown in Feb/March are still sitting there at the same exact price some three months later.

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