Markdowns should be top-of-mind for retailers, since they negatively impact gross margin and ultimately hurt profitability. For example, in May 2015 Macy’s Inc., a $28 Billion dollar retailer, forecast lower Q2 profit due to markdowns caused by late shipments. There are many reasons for markdowns -- some factors cannot be controlled, while many others can be controlled. The fact is that markdowns could be mitigated if more resources were devoted to assortment optimization, buy quantification and allocation efficiency at the beginning of a season. By addressing these core operations at the beginning of a season, rather than at the end of a season, gross margin and profit would increase.