Here's a trend that keeps coming up:
- A new CEO is hired because a brand isn't performing well.
- The new CEO brings in a new Merchandising leader.
- The new Merchandising leader "hates" what has been sold the past few years.
- The new Merchandising leader discontinues or de-emphasizes the stuff sold the past few years.
- The new Merchandising leader introduces merch that is "brand appropriate" for the new direction prescribed by Leadership.
- Invariably, new merchandise doesn't perform to expectations.
- Because the existing assortment was largely discontinued, there is now a merchandising hole.
- New merchandise (weak) becomes Existing merchandise (which by definition is now weak because the new stuff didn't work well and better existing merchandise was discontinued).
- The brand suffers a multi-year hangover.
There's an art to transitioning your merchandising strategy. You must hang on to the old winners, even if you don't like 'em, until you have enough winning new merchandise that links to winning existing merchandise.