As a supply chain management initiative, category management has to date been the almost exclusive preserve of the grocery sector and, within that sector, limited to food categories. This paper proposes that the fashion industry might usefully follow the grocery industry's lead and implement category management. A comprehensive review of the literature on category management highlights the opportunity for fashion marketing to consider the potential of category management, and the specific research gaps. In operationalising the subsequent research objectives, the paper reports the results of exploratory, in‐depth consumer research for a particular category of intimate apparel. The managerial implications of these findings are then discussed in the context of the established eight‐step category management process. The overall tentative conclusion of this study is that as a consumer‐oriented joint planning tool, category management offers retailer‐supplier partnerships in the fashion industry an important adjunct to the industry's quick response methods. The paper closes with an agenda for future research.
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