Suzanne O’Connor’s Bargains LA

The Premiere Bargain Hunting, Bargain Shopping & Sample Sales Guide for the Los Angeles Area.


Zannee's Blog

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

The Gray Market

By Suzanne O'Connor

Every company that makes a product has to figure out how to clear out past season samples and overproduction. A few, upscale luxury lines actually destroy their product.  Some hang on to product for over a year or two before they liquidate it.  More than a few liquidate to the big Off Price stores like TJ Maxx & Ross. Most though, try to liquidate it quickly & discreetly out of the main stream, so the general public doesn’t see their product at drastically reduced pricing. They don’t want to see their branded product sold cheaply at Ross Dress for Less. Horror of horrors!

Often before manufacturers liquidate product they do a Public Sample or Warehouse Sale. But there are always remaining pieces at these sales and these eventually are sold to 2nd and 3rd party liquidators, jobbers or discounters. Liquidated product found at discount outlets and off price sellers is what is referred to as the Gray Market.

Once product hits the Gray Market lots of wheeling and dealing happens. Some liquidators & jobbers will resell product in much smaller lots to other liquidators and outlets. Some sell overseas where it is sold on the world stage or can end up coming back. Some sell back and forth to each other.  A lot of it ends up a real discount outlets. It’s a trade fest!

Even your so called “discount stores” like Walmart & Target and warehouse outlets like Costco and Sams Club sell their overstock, discontinued lines, customer returners and shelf pulls to the Gray Market.

The Gray Market is where the deals are. It’s where smart bargain hunters shop. But you really have to know what you’re looking at to discern if it’s really a deal.

Once liquidated, Electronics & appliances often lose their manufacturers warranty after initial liquidation. Cosmetics have a shelf life and are often found at Gray Market outlets, close to their expiration date. So you have to look.

Clothing can easily get damaged and be in season samples or several seasons old. Toys can have missing parts or have been recalled. Appliances and furniture tend to be scratch & dent or discontinued floor models.  Careful examination should be a part of every shoppers technique to discern value.

Still perfect items are often found in the Gray Market. Which is why bargain hunting can be so addictive …. It’s the hunt for a steal on a treasure!

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