Whatever it takes to move inventory

Shoppers at Tysons Corner Center in suburban Washington

TEXT OF STORY

Steve Chiotakis: Still, retailers are hoping for a post-Christmas bump. And they're offering deep discounts to clear out year-end inventory. But prices, well, they've already been low, low, low. And that means there are some good deals to be had. Here's Rico Gagliano.


Rico Gagliano: Sarah Loveland bought the annual inventory for her snow-and-skateboard shop last February. She couldn't have predicted no one would be buying much of anything once the holidays rolled around.

Sarah Loveland: In certain categories, we're sitting on 60 percent of what we started with, and we should be getting down to 30 percent.

What she doesn't sell will be taxed as an asset. And she needs to sell snowboards before the spring thaw. So the day after Christmas, she'll be discounting items she's already discounted.

Loveland: Discounts that you would actually expect to have next fall in anticipation of the next year's equipment coming out.

That's right -- this sale is nine months early.

Retail expert Nancy Armendinger of the Wharton School expects many retailers to follow suit. And she says shoppers with the guts to haggle may be able to almost literally name their price.

Nancy Armendinger: I've even heard about national chains haggling. You know, larger companies giving their store management the authority to make calls on prices to move inventory.

Snowboard seller Sarah Loveland is already doing that. She says if customers ask for something reasonable, they'll probably get it.

I'm Rico Gagliano for Marketplace.

About the author

Rico Gagliano is the host of Dinner Party Download.

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