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Why not sell what people want to buy?

March 3rd, 2009

I was reading yet another article about the going-out-of-business sales at Circuit City stores.  Even though they’ve been trying to clear out the merchandise for several weeks — heavily discounted, no less — there’s still a bunch of junk sitting around.

Sure, it’s difficult to predict what will sell and what won’t.  It can be even harder to find the appropriate price.  Regardless, Circuit City seems to have done a rather poor job on both accounts.  Might the fact that the stores carried large amounts of undesirable merchandise have had something to do with the failure of the chain?  Might the fact that the stuff is still around indicate that even the lowered asking prices are still far too high?

It’s not just Circuit City.  The same phenomenon can be seen in after-holiday clearances.   Bags upon bags of disgusting Halloween candy, 50% off.  Hideously tacky Christmas tree ornaments.  Revolting Easter-themed sweatshirts, invariably in size XXXL.  I can’t fathom what must have been running through the store buyers’ heads.  Were they stoned?  Stuck in the 1980s?  Doing a favor for a mob boss?

The mind boggles.

  1. March 3rd, 2009 at 23:01 | #1

    They must have misunderstood the concept of supply and demand. I’m always appalled by the wastefulness of mass produced crap merchandise. I wonder what the emission levels are for a revolting Easter-themed sweatshirt factory, and how much space revolting Easter-themed sweatshirts take up in landfills.

  2. Brian
    March 4th, 2009 at 16:30 | #2

    Circuit City does not heavily discount, as most liquidations don’t. It is a sales pitch. They increase the price, and then reduce it 40%, 50%, or even 70%. But they increased the price to account for that. From the article:

    Circuit City employs the sneaky technique of screaming “huge discount!” while jacking the original sticker price to exorbitant amounts.

    If you compare prices between Circuit City and Amazon, the prices are within dollars. Circuit City is not wasteful, but acting in its own best interest by marketing to consumers that do not comparison shop. I would not be surprised if the other examples you provided (candy, ornaments, clothing) fall under the same category of marketing by increasing original prices so that you can discount them heavily (read: advertising) to ignorant consumers.

  3. Hachfeld
    March 5th, 2009 at 22:11 | #3

    There are some exceptions to the rule. I was able to purchase an Ocean’s 11/12/13 Blu-Ray Box set for $36 ($52 on Amazon) and a Monster HTS 950 for $45 ($104 on Amazon). Of course that was the only thing I found for a reduced price there.

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