how does the NOOS model work in uncertain times?

Timeless fashion items that can be sold at any time – the idea seems tempting for retailers and brands, especially in times of pandemic. But in practice, fashion companies differ significantly in the way they never-out-of-stock offer items. In this series, three brands from different segments talk about their NOOS system and how it worked during the pandemic.

At Cecil and Street One, two women’s clothing brands of the CBR Fashion Group, NOOS items are an integral part of the business model. The turnover share of the sister labels with NOOS even accounts for 30 to 45 percent of the total turnover. In contrast to the classic image of NOOS, CBR uses a very fast approach to the never-out-of-stock system.

The brands of the German clothing group launch twelve collections every year. Each of the twelve collections contains new NOOS items; at Street One these are called QR. The amount of ‘always in stock’ items per collection is between 20 and 40 percent. What is special is that, in contrast to what people are used to from the old trusted NOOS system, the CBR Group does not only focus on timeless classics in its collections.

Photo: Marco Schneider, Sales Director, Cecil and Street One | CBR Fashion Group

Cecil and Street One accelerate the classic NOOS model

“More than three and a half years ago, we radically changed QR and NOOS. You can still find basics in our stores such as a white t-shirt or a white blouse, but we now also work with many QR and NOOS articles that have a very modern look. have,” said Marco Schneider, head of sales at Cecil and Street One, in a telephone interview with FashionUnited. At best, NOOS or QR articles should not even stand out within the collection, the brands claim.

The runtimes of QR and NOOS articles are also considerably shorter for the two women’s fashion brands than for the classic NOOS model. Instead of a fixed part of the offer over a longer period, as is usually the case, the availability of NOOS articles at the CBR Group is limited to a few weeks. Most of the so-called “TOS” (temporary in stock) products at Cecil and “Limited” items at Street One have a duration of between four and six weeks.

By improving and speeding up the classic NOOS process, the brands aim to bring more excitement to the sales floor while also enabling retail partners to reorder items. “This promotes point-of-sale success, cash flow and faster inventory turnover,” explains Schneider. The risk to the supplier is greater with trendy items, he adds, but the attraction to the customer, and thus the success on the part of the retail partner, is significantly greater.

“A partner who passes QR or NOOS will not succeed in our business model,” says the sales manager. The “tried-and-true favorites”, as advertised on the brands’ website, are a key success factor for the company and very popular with female customers. Regular customers know the QR and NOOS articles through and through. “The customer comes into the store and asks her favorite saleswoman, ‘I’d like the Toronto, which one is the new one?’ Because she knows that the Toronto (a jeans model by Cecil, ed.) fits her and that it always comes in a different color and a different wash,” says Schneider.

Photo: Cecil (left) and Street One (right)

Remnants in times of pandemic: “That’s a risk we have to take”

“Because we have such short cycles, we have to pre-produce everything,” says Schneider. Eighty to ninety days before delivery, retailers have to decide on budget and quantities. Retailers don’t have to commit 20 to 25 percent of the budget; this is planned for NOOS and QR customization. “Normally we have the requirement that every QR or NOOS item is also adjusted at least once. There are partners who work with this so successfully that the NOOS or QR selection is reordered two to three times in this short period of time Schneider says.

For example, it can happen that the alleged never-out-of-stock item is suddenly no longer available: “If the item is really hot, you sometimes have to sell ‘no’ after two to three weeks. This means that the article is no longer available. can be shipped because unfortunately it has already run out,” says Schneider.

But what does it look like if goods sales suddenly come to an abrupt halt due to the pandemic, as has been the case in recent months? As in much of the fashion industry, Cecil and Street One had visibly more merchandise than usual due to the high NOOS inventory. “If the item has been misjudged by us, it could be the item itself, or if a store is closed, it will remain in our stock. That’s the risk we take, and our own points of sale are the first channel through which we sell goods. redirect,” explains Schneider. Due to the unpredictable pandemic situation, the production quantities of QR and NOOS articles in the seventh and eighth collections for the months of July and August this year have been reduced as a precaution.

Despite the high merchandise risk, Cecil and Street One want to stick with their NOOS system for the short term. When shops were open regionally or between the first and second wave, they could have achieved good results relatively quickly and partners would have immediately switched on their QR and NOOS cars again. “We believe we will have pre-Covid success post-Covid,” concludes Schneider.

This is part two of a series about NOOS. Click here for the first part. Click here for the first part.

This article has been translated from German

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