For more than two years, there has been no shortage of well, shortages. From toilet paper and hand sanitizer in the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, to baby formula and tampons now, supply chain issues and labor shortages have made some essential products difficult to find.
But while retailers are experiencing shortages of some items, the combination of rising inflation and the lifting of some pandemic-related restrictions (and, as a result, people actually leaving their homes) have left them with an excess of some products, including clothing and big-ticket items like furniture and appliances.
In those situations, some stores looking to recoup their costs and clear their shelves before new merchandise arrives are having some serious sales this summer. A recent report from DealNews includes some tips for making the most of the discounts resulting from retailers’ excess inventory. Here’s what to know.
Pay attention to news involving retailers
The issue of retailers having excess inventory made headlines about a month ago, when Target warned its investors of an upcoming short-term hit in profits following markdowns to clear out extra inventory. And the big-box store isn’t alone: Walmart, Macy’s, the Gap, and Kohl’s are also reporting higher-than-usual inventory levels, and having sales to get it off their shelves.
Don’t expect dedicated ‘inventory reduction’ sales
Sometimes, retailers will publicize “inventory reduction” sales— designed to move older merchandise before new stuff comes in—towards the end of the year. But don’t expect most stores to announce this type of sale right now: Instead, pay more attention to what appear to be the usual seasonal sales, as they’ll include the discounted, overstocked items.
Look for sales on in-season items
Typically, a store’s seasonal merchandise goes on sale as the season is ending, and people are more interested in buying stuff they can use right away (or soon, at least) than items that they’ll need to store for almost a year. But given the excess inventory situation right now, some retailers are offering in-season products at off-season prices.
Check out off-price retailers
Some stores have a business model based on buying goods other retailers were unable to move, and selling them to consumers at a discount. Given the current situation, we can expect to see more inventory and, potentially, prices even lower than usual, at stores like TJ Maxx, Marshalls, Burlington, Ross, and Gabe’s, and websites like Overstock.com.
Don’t spend money you don’t have
If something you want is on sale now, but you don’t have the funds to make the purchase at this moment, it’s not worth going into debt. According to DealNews, these aren’t never-to-be-seen-again discounts, and sales with similar reductions will likely happen in the future as well.