2.2 Review last year’s lessons

If you don’t have last year’s data, go directly to step 2! Of course, it doesn’t hurt to know how to compare historical data.


A few key questions to answer when looking at past data:

1) How did last year perform against forecast plan?

2) Were there any missed opportunities over seasonal or festive trade periods?

3) Which sales channel was the most profitable and why?

4) What were the best-selling/slow-moving categories and items? What were the hits and misses on trends/styles?

5) Were there any under-potentialized sizes?


By addressing the above questions, you form key lessons learnt to influence future strategy and forecast planning. Below, we’ll be providing samples on how to review last year’s lessons by:


  • Sales channels
  • Category


Sales Channels

Table 2.22: Actual vs Forecast Sales S/S 2018


Table 2.23: Actual Sales S/S 2018


Table 2.24: Forecast Sales S/S 2018


Citing a simple example on the importance of reviewing past performance, refer to the 3 tables above which focus on actual sales performance for the period of S/S 2018 against forecasting.


In an overview, the brand closed S/S 2018 with a marginal 3% uplift vs. forecast (refer to Table 2.22). Despite the positive achievement, there were significant areas for improvement:

  1. The month of Mar ‘18 observed a miss in sales vs. forecast (refer to Table 2.22) coming from both channels. Could this be due to the delayed launch of Spring newness?
  2. Channel B had a smaller contribution to the growth of sales and observed 2 consecutive months on a decline in Mar and Apr ‘18 (refer to Table 2.23). What could be the cause of the double-digit decline over 2 months?


These questions could be further answered when deep-diving into category performance by channel, which will derive insights and key findings to inform the course of actions for the next season.



TY = This Year, LY = Last Year


As seen in this table, the top 3 categories combined outperformed last year’s sales by 4%. Surprisingly, Pants & Leggings managed to lift 6% vs. LY with 11% fewer stocks – an indication of a missed opportunity.

This could mean that some key styles in Pants & Leggings were in higher demand TY vs. LY. To illustrate, we looked at Boohoo Spring 2018 Wide Leg subcategory against the same time last year:


This year’s trending styles, snake prints and neutral colours, were huge hits.



Last year’s trending styles were split opening and sports trim but less successful: