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Excess Holiday Inventory

Jan 1, 2009
by Christopher Heine

With the holidays receding in the rearview mirror, retailers from all niches will need to send back pallets of excess merchandise inventory. For buyers, now is the time to hop on the opportunity to purchase evergreen items at remarkably low prices.

Many sellers at secure online marketplaces like and will be slashing their normal bulk prices anywhere from 20 to 80 percent. However the best items will not last long. Even after the holiday rush is over, the business world still moves at Internet speed. The buyers who react in the timeliest fashion can cherry-pick the best merchandise.

What kind of excess inventory items are available? Red hot video games, great sunglasses, garment hangers, gift bags and clothing merchandise galore, just to name a few. Distributors will also offer unbeatable deals.

"In our niche of skateboards, we have been seeing a lot of shoe products available as closeouts," said Nathan Maisenbach, Sales Rep, VK Skate Distribution, located in Santa Ana, CA, and at "We also see a lot of skate-related clothing, so we will be looking into those areas. We want to take advantage of closeouts on select products to improve our margins. It is an excellent time of year to boost sales."

Red Lion Interactive

In the post-holiday product buying environment, perhaps no other niche offers such a profitable selection of items as the youth demographic.

One of those niche marketers, Red Lion Interactive, will offer a bounty of greatly sellable products in video games and accessories. The Vernon, Calif., based wholesaler offers brands like Nintendo, Sony PlayStation, Microsoft Xbox and Apple iPod, among many others, at

"This year, we are going to have everything from video game controllers to Nintendo Wii sports kits," said Tom LaVoie, President, Red Lion Interactive. "Manufacturers produced much more than was needed for the holidays, causing us to have a lot of excess products to move. The markdown will be anywhere from 50 to 70 percent off the regular wholesale prices."

LaVoie points out that his firm receives its excess inventory items back from the manufacturers themselves, rather than from retail chains which may have damaged items from either the shipping or shelving processes. This helps Red Lion maintain a high level of product quality.

LaVoie explained. "Moving forward, I believe, it is going to be a year of closeouts."

Traditionally, in the gaming industry, January is a huge month in terms of sales because consumers are out using their gift cards, making exchanges and doing more shopping. And despite the economy, video games sales are up 25 percent for 2008, compared to last year. Obviously, there is a great opportunity for closeouts in this niche. In other words, for general gifts or toy retailers who have not yet ventured into the video game niche, this is the year to test it on your customers. LaVoie also mentioned high-end controllers, racing wheels and various other kinds of licensed products as items that are going to be available at

"Our buyers can start small and see what happens," he said. "They are not required to buy large orders of closeouts from us in order to get a good price. From one unit and up, a closeout is a closeout for us. We dominate video game closeouts, therefore we are able to pick and choose and then grind down the price. We always ship within 24 hours, and a customer will get the items in five to seven business days, depending on location."

Additionally, Red Lion has launched an unusual buy-back program, that lets retailers and distributors recycle used or returned software and defective hardware, in exchange for credit on current or future video game-related products.

"We are offering the ultimate recycling program," LaVoie explained. "At any time, day or night, our business partners can log on to our live database, enter a product's UPC code and instantly discover the product's credit value with us. It is fast and easy."

Associated Distributors

Other companies are going to be offering excess inventory products that sell year round. For instance, Associated Distributors will be liquidating sunglasses and cell phone accessories this month.

"If someone is looking for practicality instead of style, we have a lot of solid inventory available at great prices," said Meredith Heist, Marketing Director, Associated Distributors, Baton Rouge, LA. "We offer excellent customer service, and will get you the products that you need. We can sell specific items by the dozen, or the customer can buy assortment bulk for a lower price. When it comes to cell phone accessories, we have old and new models. We have older cell phone cases that your customer base may be looking for."

To get a clear look at what Heist has available this month for sunglasses and cell phone accessories, be sure to log on to On the cell phone front, she and her team feature the WaveLength brand, which has its own website at

"We sell to wholesale buyers, flea market vendors and chain convenience stores, among others," she explained. "We are coming out with a new higher-end sunglasses line called Images Premiere. We are very excited about getting them out to our customers. We ship internationally and welcome calls to our toll free number."

Sometimes retailers have a narrow focus on what they are looking for. In some cases, they will turn to Braiform, which specializes in plastic garment hangers and has buyers that range from independent shops to big department store outlets.

The multinational company prides itself on a thorough understanding of its customers' supply chain needs. Most importantly, perhaps, the firm offers exceptional products at great prices for its core customer base, whether it is January or June.

"After the holidays, we typically will have hangers available in a variety of sizes," said Nancy Reynolds, Director of Global Customer Service for Braiform, Asheville, NC. "It depends on what has been released to the marketplace, though I know we will have a pretty diverse selection and ought to be able to fit anyone's hangers needs."

Pricing for the hangers hinges on the quantity purchased, Reynolds explained. Roughly, the hangers typically cost between six and seven cents apiece for small retailers.

"We are very competitive for customers' needs, no matter how big or small. This makes our company unique. We recognize the opportunities to work with larger retailers, but we also understand the importance of the independent store owner and distributor."

Also, the company has a strong green initiative and offers a reuse program which is discussed in depth at "We offer 'virgin' items, which have never been used," she said, "but we also have reused products that have been collected back from our retail partners, recycled, sanitized and then sent back out to the marketplace."

Wuhou New Century Textiles

Meanwhile, Wuhou New Century Textiles offers a wide range of clothing items, including sportswear, leisurewear, sleepwear, underwear, children's wear, T-shirts, polo shirts, vests, shorts and pants. These items are available via and

While the company is headquartered in Brooklyn, NY, it is able to offer some of the lowest prices available due to its manufacturing plant in the Fuzhou Konggang Industrial Zone in China. Edward Liu, manager of the Brooklyn operation, said that his company's post-holiday closeout offerings will be bountiful.

"We will have a lot of gift bags that retailers and wholesalers should be interested in for the next holiday season," Liu said. "Since the products are evergreens, people will want to take advantage of the price points, and then use them when gift-buying rolls around again."

Mom-and-pop gift stores, regional chains, discount stores and other retailers who sell small and medium-sized holiday items are typically the buyers of the gift bags. Liu said that the items in January and February are usually marked down to move at and, as much as 50 percent off the regular wholesale price.

"We offer excellent customer service," he explained. "Customers should receive the order about one week after it gets placed, and are welcome to call us if they need additional information."

For more information, contact:

VK Skate Distribution
1940 E. Occidental St.
Santa Ana, CA 92705
Tel.: 800-427-1278
Fax: 714-258-8094

Red Lion Interactive
P.O. Box 69159
2829 50th Street
Vernon, CA 90058
Tel.: 888-432-8707
Fax: 888-432-8826

Associated Distributors
13434 Greencastle Ave.
Baton Rouge, LA 70816
Tel.: 225-752-6640
Toll Free: 800-553-5197
Websites: &

Spotless Enterprises Inc.
60 Mills Gap Road
Asheville, NC 28803
Tel.: 828-274-7311
Toll Free: 800-738-7396
Fax: 800-963-8521

Wuhou New Century Textiles
1177C Flushing Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11237
Tel.: 718-326-3751
Fax: 718-326-3752

Topic: Product Trends

Related Articles: holiday  seasonal 

Article ID: 881

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