Wasteland of material goods
June 4, 2010 10:52 AM Subscribe
Our stores are full of billions of items. What percentage of these things actually get bought and used? What happens to it all in the end?
posted by serena15221 to shopping (10 answers total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
As a person with little experience working in retail, but who has often felt overwhelmed while shopping in malls and huge stores, I have always wondered this. Say you're a high-end clothes store. What you don't sell in your store, you might put on clearance or send to another store in your chain. If it still doesn't sell, it might go to an outlet store. If that doesn't work, maybe it goes to Goodwill, or to some organization that simply gives clothes away. Still, do all these clothes really get worn? All the reams, bales and tons of ugly or strange looking stuff that doesn't fit everybody and quickly goes out of style? Do clothes get recycled much? Does a lot of it wind up in landfills? Do the people whose job it is to fill stores (buyers, I guess) know full well that only a percentage of the items will be sold, but since they don't know for sure what will sell, they overstock on purpose so that their customers have a variety of products to choose from? How much do they overstock? How much of it do they expect will sell? Are they doing OK if they only sell, say, 75% or less? What percentage of inventory does an average store sell at full price or discount and still make a profit?
I know the answers to these questions probably vary greatly from industry to industry, and even from store to store. But it would be interesting to get an idea.