How to Shop Excess Inventory From Retailers

How to Shop Excess Inventory From Retailers
Photo: akamakis, Shutterstock

For more than two years, there has been no shortage of well, shortages. From toilet paper to hand sanitiser in the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, supply chain issues and labour shortages have made some essential products difficult to find.

But while retailers are experiencing shortages of some items, the combination of rising inflation and the lifting of some pandemic-related restrictions (and, as a result, people actually leaving their homes) have left them with an excess of some products, including clothing and big-ticket items like furniture and appliances.

In those situations, some stores looking to recoup their costs and clear their shelves before new merchandise arrives are having some serious sales this summer. A recent report from DealNews includes some tips for making the most of the discounts resulting from retailers’ excess inventory. Here’s what to know.

Don’t expect dedicated ‘inventory reduction’ sales

Sometimes, retailers will publicise “inventory reduction” sales — designed to move older merchandise before new stuff comes in — towards the end of the year. But don’t expect most stores to announce this type of sale right now: Instead, pay more attention to what appear to be the usual seasonal sales, as they’ll include the discounted, overstocked items.

Look for sales on in-season items

Typically, a store’s seasonal merchandise goes on sale as the season is ending, and people are more interested in buying stuff they can use right away (or soon, at least) than items that they’ll need to store for almost a year. But given the excess inventory situation right now, some retailers are offering in-season products at off-season prices.

Check out off-price retailers

Some stores have a business model based on buying goods other retailers were unable to move, and selling them to consumers at a discount. Given the current situation, we can expect to see more inventory and, potentially, prices even lower than usual, at stores like TJ Maxx, Marshalls, Burlington, Ross, and Gabe’s, and websites like Overstock.com.

Don’t spend money you don’t have

If something you want is on sale now, but you don’t have the funds to make the purchase at this moment, it’s not worth going into debt. According to DealNews, these aren’t never-to-be-seen-again discounts, and sales with similar reductions will likely happen in the future as well.

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