How does the new centralized buying system help Penney and Levi?
Centralized buying lets Penney react quickly to the marketplace and get product out there in all stores. Before that was put in, it could take four to six months for a product to get to all stores. A few stores here and there would buy a product, and stores in some markets would want it at different times. Last year, Penney decided that it wanted the Superlow jeans [for teen girls] in all stores, and it put in orders in a matter of weeks. Because of centralized buying, it could react quickly as a chain. So all stores had Superlow at the same time. Centralized buying lets Penney have consistent store presentation and a consistent look. Q: How has Penney improved the presentation of Levi’s products? A: It used to be that jeans would be folded up and stacked along a wall. Now, stores are putting Levi’s new young men’s Flyweight jeans, made of a light, flexible fabric, on hangers by the aisle. And it’s using new mannequins: They almost look like they’re alive. The mannequin wears the Flywe