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Sales Growth - Career Growth

                                              Columbia Sportswear Takes a Ride

                                    Dramatically Increase Sales

I was thinking back to the years I worked as a manufacturer’s rep. for Columbia Sportswear and reasons for their stellar growth at the time.  Of course they had great designs, pricing and color in the jackets, pants and accessories but there were a number of other significant factors contributing to this dramatic increase in sales.

We were selling our line for the next season earlier than our competition.  We were on the road selling in November and December for deliveries the following August.  Our competitors were selling in late January, Feb. and March for the same delivery period.  We had a deadline, to get the best terms on the Earlybird portion of the line the order had to be booked by Dec. 31st.  By doing this we locked in our customers open to buy taking it away from our competitors.

We shipped Early, Early, Early!!  We started shipping some of this winter sales  merchandise as early as late March with the customers approval to take early shipments.  This lessened the strain on our warehouse capacity by flowing the goods through quickly. The customers became our warehouse and had the goods in hand months earlier than they had our competitors.  The astute customers put some groupings on their sales floor immediately and sold it throughout the spring, the demand from the consumers was there so they were able to capitalize on that.  Goods that normally wouldn’t hit the sales floor until August were selling in advance starting in April and continuing through the summer.  This doubled the selling season for this merchandise.

Re-orders came much sooner!  Not only did re-orders come in more quickly but the size of the re-orders increased in part because of taking advantage of the longer selling season.  The retailers were selling earlier making full margin.  The commitment of the retailers floor space dedicated to Columbia kept growing helping to fuel the sales growth.

It’s a fun time when a product line takes off!  Really time to enjoy the ride!

                                                                                                          Tom


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