Kai Ryssdal: The discount retailer Daffy’s will open its doors for the last time tomorrow. The chain, with 19 locations in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and is liquidating its entire inventory.
Sally Herships reports on where everything goes when everything must go.
Sally Herships: If you’re a shopper, a sale can be something to celebrate. But at the Daffy’s at 18th Street and Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, looking through the racks felt like going through the really big closet of someone who’d just died.
Mackenzie Granger: Actually I’m very, very depressed that they’re closing. I feel like it’s affecting me personally.
Mackenzie Granger says he’s been shopping at Daffy’s since he was 15. I’d tell you how many years that is, but he’s very cagey about his age. Let’s say you can measure it in decades. Today, he’s keeping his friend Andrea Swaby company while she shops. Because he’s done with Daffy’s.
Herships: It’s too painful?
Granger: It is. It feels like you’re being affected personally because you know all these people are not going to have jobs. Even though you’re shopping, buying stuff. I feel like I’m a vampire almost, you know?
But not all the shoppers are that sensitive. Marcia Wilson is a longtime Daffy’s customer, though she says she hasn’t been in the store in a while.
Herships: And was it the signs that brought you back in this time?
Wilson: Of course. Yeah. I wanted to see what was up.
Herships: You looking at the furnishing?
Wilson: Yeah. I saw the shelves over there for $5. But I have no use for them.
But the store is closing tomorrow, so who’s gonna buy all this stuff? The sweaters, the shoes, the shelving? Well, that’s where a liquidator comes in. They come up with a plan to close the business. It covers marketing, markdowns and staff. Liquidators get a flat fee or a commission of four to 10 percent of sales. The whole point of liquidating the store is to raise cash to pay off Daffy’s creditors.
Bill Angrick: Well, maybe there are some debtors who wear a specific size and have specific fashion taste that would accept Daffy’s sweaters or apparel, but I doubt that.
Bill Angrick is CEO of Liquidity Services, Inc.
Angrick: The reality is, you settle these obligations in cash.
Angrick works with clients like Walmart, Best Buy and Home Depot. He says companies regularly liquidate last season’s goods for cash. It’s part of the normal healthy business cycle. So liquidity services sell goods by the palette or truckload. Their customers own small businesses or re-sell goods on Ebay. And just like the individual shoppers at Daffy’s New York Store, they don’t want to pay full price.
In New York, I’m Sally Herships for Marketplace.