// UK clothing and fashion firms are now holding 57% more stock compared to pre-pandemic levels
// Research found that businesses are being forced to stockpile huge quantities of goods as they navigate delays
Clothing and fashion companies in the UK are now holding 57% more stock compared to pre-pandemic levels.
According to Unleashed’s Manufacturers Health Check report using analysis of over 4,500 SMEs, UK businesses are being forced to stockpile huge quantities of goods as they navigate delays and shortages amid rising inflation.
The report looked at four key indicators: the value of stock on hand, Gross Margin Return on Inventory (GMROI)*, fulfilment days, and the price paid for goods purchased.
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Clothing and fashion manufacturers saw the seventh biggest increase in stock on hand levels of any sector when comparing Q3 stock levels in 2022 v the same period in 2019 – up 57% on pre-pandemic levels.
Plastics manufacturers saw the biggest increase (up 180.8%), with manufacturers in the energy and chemicals sector just behind, recording an average increase of 174%.
In fact, all industries featured in this research were holding an increased value of stock this year compared to 2019, with the exception of manufacturers in the building and construction sector.
Clothing manufacturers are feeling the impact of holding more stock, with the majority of firms seeing a drop in overall profitability when looking at this metric specifically.
The research comes after it was reported that fashion retailers are sitting on piles of unsold clothing due to a hangover of last year’s supply chain delays.
An easing of supply chain disruption has led to a pile up of products in warehouses as lead times from east Asia have shortened. This means that retailers faced with clearing last year’s delayed stock are receiving new stock quicker than expected.
Marks & Spencer has asked suppliers to postpone deliveries to its warehouses and has delayed finalising its orders for next year.
Asos is sitting on £1.08 billion of unsold stock, up a third on the year before.
Next has returned “a very small” amount of stock to its third party brands, although inventory was at planned levels.
Meanwhile, Tesco’s clothing suppliers are preparing for delays after the grocer wrote to them to remind them of its stock holding policies.