Retail assortment planning is a topic that has increasingly gained attention and momentum within retail executive suites and merchandising solution vendors’ future development and enhancement plans. With the wider interest and use of “big data” and analytics – as well as more robust tools for supporting these capabilities and increasingly demanding and fickle customers – wider attention to assortment planning is inevitable.

On October 29 in New York City, Parker Avery is partnering with Apparel Magazine in sponsoring the publisher’s acclaimed Apparel East conference. Themed “Intelligence & Solutions to Innovate Your Business,” the conference welcomes apparel brand and retail executives who are interested in market-leading intelligence and business strategy inspiration, as well as technology and solution insights to create competitive advantages.

As Title Research Sponsor, Parker Avery will deliver the general session, “Unraveling the Mysteries of Assortment Planning.” During this lively presentation, Clay Parnell, Parker Avery’s President and Managing Partner, will shed light on mysteries and truths about retail assortment planning, discuss findings from the firm’s latest research study on the topic, and provide insights on how to leverage assortment planning tools and industry leading processes to achieve success in driving alignment between assortments and customer demand as well as enhancing profitability. The study is open to retail merchandising and planning professionals through Friday, August 28. To participate, please visit

During the Apparel East conference, Parker Avery will also feature content from the firm’s recent publication, “Retail Clustering Methods: Achieving Success with Assortment Planning.”

Clustering is a foundational element of effective assortment planning – appropriately clustering stores and channels enables retailers to maximize sell-through and margin potential. However, this key capability is rarely given top priority – often viewed as a mundane, analytical effort and is assumed to be “built-in” to the assortment planning solution.

Effective clustering provides the ability to unleash the true potential of assortment planning capabilities, bringing with it significant financial benefits in terms of sales, margin, and inventory utilization – as well as improved customer satisfaction, due to being better able to provide the “right” mix of products for customers, across locations and channels.

In this latest Point of View, The Parker Avery Group discusses how clustering for assortment planning is an intricate undertaking with a variety of approaches and elements to consider. Granted, there are simple, straightforward clustering methods, but these tend to have significant shortcomings, and typically fail to create assortments that drive meaningful results. Conversely, more sophisticated approaches usually require more skilled resources, solid data integrity, and appropriate supporting solutions to take advantage of the potential these methods can deliver. We explore ten different clustering approaches in depth and highlight the advantages, disadvantages and circumstances each should be used. This understanding, coupled with clearly defined assortment planning objectives, will help retailers understand which clustering approaches are most appropriate to employ.

If you have any questions about assortment planning, clustering or any other merchandising topic, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

– Josh

Published On: August 20, 2015Categories: Assortment, Events, Josh Pollack, Merchandising, Research