Unsold jeans – can’t be avoided.  Right?

Unsold jeans – can’t be avoided.  Right?

Recently it was reported, that H&M burned surplus merchandise and sure others are destroying unsold jeans without even talking about it. H&M declared that the merchandise was chemical uncontaminated which seem to be a lame explication.

Our consumers have just a certain limited amount of money which they spent on their clothes and every retailer wants to grab a big part of this budget. Vertical retailers created a bermuda triangle where clothes, shoes, jewellery for – more or less – all occasions are available. If a client enters one of their store and starts  shopping, the money might be gone. But to keep these shopping temples attractive, there they need new merchandise permanently or at least every two weeks. Can You imagine, that all the merchandise will be sold?

So, thats the situation – but what is the solution?

  1. to destroy unsold merchandise feels not to be appropriate.

2.  if the merchandise is sent to developing countries (often the countries, where the jeans have been produced) and sold there, the local industry will be harmed. On top of it, it is relatively expensive to sent the merchandise to Africa or Asia and the local tax office wants it’s share (VAT) as well.

3.  recycling is not jet possible for jeans which are not made of 100% cotton. Theoretically there is a solution to separate cotton, elastane and polyester but – as I know – its not jet workable for industrial volumes.

4.  what about to sell the merchandise in special stores, somewhere in the outskirts of Paris, Berlin, … I have see Inditex stores in touristic areas where they sell left overs for very nice prices.

5.  what about producing less? Concentrating on a bigger share of “basic jeans” or having unwashed jeans stocked in the factory which You wash corresponding to the market’s needs. But this will lead to less supply partners.

I know, it is weird for a sourcing site: “There are already too many jeans in the market!”

What is Your opinion? How can we reduce the risk of producing jeans, which might not be sold? What can the producers offer to assist? I get nuts, when jeans, who have been produced (with an investment in water, chemicals, working force and time) must be stocked somewhere because they can’t be sold.