​5 Tips to Sell Excess Winter Inventory

It's easy to panic when seasonal inventory doesn't match the needs of the season - especially in winter, since most stores have the largest amount of inventory on hand from November through January.

With such a warm start to winter and the holidays behind us, it's hard to know whether merchandise like coats and snow sport gear will sell by the end of of the season.

So what to do? Start marking things down now or wait until the end of season?
There's no perfect solution. But as the owner, buyer or inventory planner of your company, it's important to set an inventory goal and put together a plan to make it happen.

Here are some ideas to use as you make inventory plans for the rest of the season:

1. Return To Vendor
Do you have any pre-negotiated terms with vendors to send things back, especially slow movers? If you don't have anything worked out, find out what each vendor would be willing to do. They may offer credit, or they may swap out product for something else you can move through.

2. Markdown Cadence
Increase it! Start flowing seasonal or holiday inventory into clearance areas as soon as you can. This helps avoid the mass sale in the end if done right.

3. Blanket discount
If you need to have a blanket discount, have it for a small period of time. If you run a blanket sale for too long it could lessen the effect and send the wrong message to your customers. People won't be as motivated to come in and make a purchase if you run them all the time. Or worse, they could begin thinking of your shop as a discount store instead of a premium retailer.

4. Revise open orders
If you have any winter apparel on open order, cut whatever you can.If you have spring items coming in, only bring in what you need to freshen up the merchandise stories. You only have so much room on the sales floor and only so much cash you can tie up in inventory.

5. Make room in the clearance area for in season products
We all have items in this area that we should have unloaded a long time ago. Now could be that time. If you still have a lot of shorts and tanks in the clearance area in December you might want to let go of them. If you can make room for in season items, you'll move through them faster.

Hopefully these ideas give you a place to start as you consider inventory planning for the rest of the winter. If planning, promotions and clearances still leave you with too much inventory and not enough cash, BoxFox can help. Learn how here.

Never miss a resource for your business

Sign up to receive updates twice a month on new retail university lessons