Sunday, 20 December 2015

The eighty twenty rule

The eighty twenty rule

A point of consideration that should never be ignored is the eighty twenty rule, also known as the Pareto principle where it is acknowledged that eighty percent of the result is delivered by twenty percent of the effort or participants.
In the context of stores it is probable that twenty percent of the stores deliver eighty percent of the sales and deserve the proportionate dedication of energy and focus, as does the thick middle sizes such as medium and large and therefore should always be in stock. Core base colours such as white, black, naturals and greys also contribute largely to the sales and should always be evident in volume. It is clear that certain styling features will likewise guarantee the bulk of sales and should be finalised first and certain peak trading periods such as holidays or special events will contribute largely to the total seasonal sales and must be managed very carefully in terms of production planning and delivery scheduling.

It should be qualified that it is not necessarily exactly a ratio of eighty versus twenty as in certain cases it could be a ninety to ten or seventy to thirty relationship but nevertheless the principle still holds true.

Saturday, 19 December 2015


One of the common requirements of each role that has been outlined is that in order to achieve the highest degree of proficiency there should be a structured methodology of training which will include on the job training where the incumbent is mentored by a qualified and experienced more senior specialist who in turn has had exposure to effective training methods and performance management techniques. Ideally as the trainee progresses they will take on the responsibility for a small section of their department in order to gain the confidence and skills that will stand them in good stead going forward and also serve as a contingency in the event of the loss of senior personnel.
Coupled to on the job training is the formal classroom style lecturing as is necessary and can be performed by either internal or external tutors who will provide the theory that is matched to that which has been learnt on the job. This is of great importance as it is not uncommon that with on the job training exclusively the poor habits of the trainer are frequently transferred downwards.
Equally important is for new appointees to have an understanding and appreciation of the roles of their counterparts in other areas of the business. In order for this to be achieved they should spend adequate time attached to specialists in other fields. An example would be where a buyer in training would need to spend time in stores interacting with customers, at suppliers, with merchandisers, technologists, the marketing team and packaging specialists, in the warehouse and with the logistical experts including forwarding agents. These attachments should be well thought out with specific objectives in mind and followed up in formal reviews in front of a panel of experts from each area who test their understanding. An independent representative from human resources should also be present to ensure that the consistency of standards applied across the business is maintained and the assessment is objective without any personal bias of trainers subjectively influencing the conclusions either positively or negatively.

Overall, in order to guarantee the creation of professional teams is that the training needs to be consistent and that the outcomes deliver broadly the same standard of qualified appointees. An outstanding illustration of this is where the customer enjoys the same high level of service from sales personnel in whatever store they frequent or suppliers enjoy similar levels of proficiency across different buying teams.   

Friday, 18 December 2015


The book outlines the fundamental principles and mechanisms that are applied in fashion retailing and illustrates as to how the major tasks and roles intertwine from the conceptualisation of the product through to the presentation of a finished garment to the customer and in doing so demonstrates how the key functions such as design, buying, merchandising, technology, production, logistics and selling each with their unique specialised operations manage to achieve this.
It will be particularly beneficial to students and those who are maybe considering a career in the industry. Individuals who are already part of the fashion buying and merchandising community will find this book to be invaluable in that it provides a complete simplified overview of all the integral activities and roles that go to make up the topic and thereby will provide a broader insight into their own career.


CHARLES NESBITT graduated with a degree in Economics specialising in Business Economics from Stellenbosch University, South Africa. He spent thirty five years at a leading retailer in Southern Africa where he was exposed to all the key disciplines of retailing during this period.

Check it out at