When we come out of the holiday season, the stores can look pretty bare. During Christmas shopping, we are so busy bagging and serving customers that merchandise can't get out fast enough. Top that off with clearancing all that Christmas merchandise and winter goods - and that makes for some bare shelves for a few weeks. Well we have remedied that!!! I think we must have panicked and went a little crazy. We went on a bit of a buying frenzy and it's ALL come in. The warehouse has actually cried "UNCLE! We can't take another load!"
At least there is still room to walk between the pallets!
Double-stacked, on the shelves, anywhere you can find!
The truck has been running to the stores on double-time to help get the warehouse back to the state of normalcy. We are filling up those stores as fast as they can take it! The mode of operation right now is "Get this merchandise to the shelves!"
You go, girls!
The goods are getting received in the back rooms and to the shelves as quickly as possible. All hands on deck for pricing and stocking!
Even the cashiers have to be on board to help!
If you haven't been in any of the stores lately - you need to stop in. There is SO much new merchandise in all the locations.
A little insight into our merchandise -
We buy merchandise in a number of different ways. One way is that we buy specific merchandise by attending the ASD (American Surplus Dealers) shows and stroll through hundreds of wholesalers to find the cool stuff that we feel will fit in our merchandise mix. Of course, a huge consideration to that fit is the price that we will be able to offer to our customers. We actually go armed with a "Wish List" from the stores and our facebook page of things that customers have requested. Being a closeout retailer limits us more than your average retailer. We have available to us only those items that are in the closeout world. It is a "take what you get" world. When we buy this merchandise, we buy enough to send an equal amount to all 9 of our stores. Hopefully, we buy enough, because if it sells really fast we might not be able to buy anymore. Again, a factor of that closeout world.
Another way that we buy merchandise, which actually comprises the majority of our merchandise, is through liquidation wholesalers. We deal with wholesalers who liquidate online vendors and catalog vendors. When vendors want to clean out their warehouses, or catalog or online vendors are done running certain items for sale and they still have quantities - they liquidate. It may be that third party vendors have merchandise abandoned in their fulfillment center warehouses or packaging has changed on particular items - they liquidate.
Some liquidation is from brick and mortar stores closing or seasonal pulls. Some of our wholesalers deal with actual retail companies when they liquidate their merchandise that didn't sell for the season or have locations that closed. They just load it all in gurneys and sell it in bulk. When you see holiday merchandise coming into our stores a little early - that is because we have bought so much of this through the year that we have to get it out!"
When we buy this merchandise, many times we don't know what is in the gurneys. We might be able to buy categories, like "Christmas", or "infant items", or "clothing" - but we don't actually know the items. This stuff is so mixed that we can't separate it per store. What we do with this type of load is just random splits. A trailer might come in with 27 pallets of merchandise and every store just gets 3 pallets. The merchandise isn't sorted or sent to any particular store. The next three pallets in line go to the store getting the delivery today. We commonly hear from customers that they feel that "their" store doesn't get the same merchandise as another location. Each store doesn't get the same merchandise, but it gets equal merchandise. It may be though, that one store might get through their stock a little faster and get their pallets faster or they might actually take an extra if another store is too full. Otherwise, each store has equivalent merchandise.
One of the things that we love about Merchandise Outlet, and I know that many of our customers do as well, is that "You never know what you are going to find!"