We have a lot more merchandise coming in these last few weeks. This means that our customers are seeing loads of brand new items getting the shelves as quickly as our crew can get them out. We will discuss a bit about our supply process to show you how this happens. Merchandise Outlet is a liquidation retailer. We have discussed in earlier blogs some ramifications of being a liquidator. The biggest thing is just that we are very much at the mercy of what is available in the market. Not only WHAT is available in the market, but WHEN it is available in the market. One trend that we have recognized in our market is the seasonal cycle. Many of our sources of liquidation are also dealing with their own retail market. One thing that this means is that when we are in our busiest selling market - fourth quarter - and need the most merchandise; our sources are too busy selling their retail market to deal with their liquidation.
We pretty much knew that once Christmas was here and gone, December has passed by where everyone has done their inventories for the end of the year, and wholesalers, manufacturers, and suppliers are now done with their rush-hour traffic - the floodgates of liquidation will be released.
We do our own buying - selecting specific items with our market in mind throughout the year. We place an order and have a timeline in mind of how long it will take the wholesaler to pick the items from his warehouse, find a shipper, and ship it into our warehouse. Most of the time, these orders are 6 to 24 pallets of merchandise. We actually have a schedule board knowing when these orders are coming in.
Where the monkey wrench comes in - is when the liquidator calls and says " I have 2 trailers of liquidation that just left Philadelphia. 1 should be there around 9:00 tomorrow morning and I can delay the other one until about noon. Does that work for you?"
Multiply that opportunity by about five to handle all of our different liquidators and we have quite a high probability of surprise loads. As I have stated, we were waiting for the floodgates to be released. All of our liquidation brokers were saying the same thing in December, "There are loads being prepared right now. They are too busy shipping their own orders. We are expecting it to break loose after Christmas."
Well, it broke loose. Within 3 days, our warehouse took in 8 loads of merchandise.
We had a couple of days to put them into our truck to deliver to the 10 stores and have a little bit of room in the warehouse to bring in the next loads.
Remember how I said we were kind of at the mercy of our suppliers. We have to take the merchandise when it is available. We have no idea of when there might be a dry spell. There is also the problem of the fact that if we don't take it, someone else will. It has taken years to develop contacts and relationships with wholesalers so we can't risk someone else getting into our line to make our slice of pie smaller.
Needless to say - our warehouse crew has had to work a bit of overtime for a couple of weeks. We are still working through getting all of the merchandise split out and sent out to all of the stores. As soon as we make a little space, another one of those surprises are honking their horn in the front yard.
This is all good news for our customers though. What a great time to browse through the aisles of the store. Make sure you stop in at any of the ten locations. There are going to be some great deals on some great merchandise and more is coming out every day.