Why is a product in the catalogue if you are completely sold out?
We know it's disappointing when items are out of stock and we really do try to make sure this doesn't happen. Having good stock availability not only means happier and better-dressed customers but also more sales and a happier accounts department. We have a team of staff dedicated to trying to predict sales and how much we should order of a particular product. But sometimes we do get caught out if an item proves more popular than expected. In addition, since everything is made exclusively for us, it often takes three or four months to get repeat deliveries. We do sincerely apologise if an item that you want to order is out of stock. We hate this problem as much as you do.
Why don't you order more stock?
The most common cause of bankruptcy among retail companies is holding too much stock. Even if we wanted to, we couldn't order much more stock than we do currently as we couldn't afford it. It would also mean much more ' Sale' activity - nice for you, but ultimately suicidal for us. In addition, it wouldn't really solve our stock problems, which are dominated by a few styles outselling our predictions (and historical trends), often by a factor of as much as 5! We therefore try to order a realistic amount, but as mentioned above, certain items shoot out of the warehouse far quicker than anticipated.
Why does it sometimes take so long to get more supplies of an item?
If it looks like an item will run out, we do try and re-order in plenty of time but clothes can still take some time to arrive with us. As well as having to have the garments made, checked, delivered, and checked again, we also often have to have the fabric especially woven for us, which can take at least 2 months if the mill is busy. For example, we launch our Autumn catalogue in July. After 2 weeks we have quite a good 'read' of what is selling and we place top-up orders of items which we predict we'll not have enough. In most cases, these items will not be delivered until November - four months later! As we grow we get more clout with factories but sadly (for this reason if not others) we're still a very small fish.
Why can you not guarantee the item is in stock if it is showing there is 1 or 2 in stock?
We advise our telephone operators to warn customers there's a chance that an item might not be available if there are fewer than three showing as "in-stock". Although we do regular stock-takes and the level should be accurate, there is occasionally a small discrepancy. Human errors are sadly unavoidable in this area. We feel that it is important to warn customers about this at this stage rather than a few of them being disappointed (to say the least) later on.