How Does Costco Handle Leftover Items

Yesterday, I realized that I’ve never seen a display at Costco that isn’t nice and full, and I’ve never seen them selling anything on clearance.

So what do they do when they have clothing or Christmas chocolates or sets of dishes that sell down so much that there isn’t enough product to fill out a half of a 4-foot section or whatever their minimum merchandising space is?

(I’m obviously talking about things that they have for a limited time and not items that they stock regularly.)

Does anybody know?

They must send it to the Costco by me because the one I was in yesterday had a few displays that had only 2 or 3 items. I see it all the time at mine.

Example: in a toy section we saw the last box of a marble maze construction set. It was sitting there on top of a box of other toys. And I’ve seen their holiday gift baskets selections all collapsed into a variety type section.

There are stores lower on the food chain that buy other stores’ overstocks and resell them.

Yep. In my region, I see overstock from a lot of different stores at stores like Gabriel Bros. and Big Lots.

Lots of items can be sent back to the distributor, too. I know that in the case of pop and bread, the store employees don’t even really touch the stuff - the Coke guy comes in from Coke and takes care of all the Coke. If it’s time to get rid of Christmas Themed Coke Cans, then they leave with him and he replaces them with Regular Coke Cans.

I have a friend who works in middle management at Wal Mart, and he says that with DVDs that don’t sell, they just send them back to the distributor who re-prices them and sends them back to Wal Mart. If there’s too many new Tyler Perry DVDs in the Tulsa Wal Mart, they probably send a few extras over to the Atlanta Wal Mart, and send a few back to Tulsa for the bargain bin.

Seasonal stuff can always sit in a distributor’s warehouse until it’s time for next year’s run.

And, as Tom Tildrum points out, there are plenty of stores that grab up all of that extra stuff and sell it. When I worked at Marc’s (an Ohio-based overstock store), we’d occasionally run into stuff that had the original store’s sales tags still on it. We’d just put our price tag over it and be done with it.

Green Bean, when do you shop? Most of the families I know prefer to shop on Saturdays or Sundays. Our Costco is stocked to the gills for those two days because so many people do their shopping at that time. A lot of my shopping gets done during weekdays, because so many of my Costco purchases are for business. In the middle of the week, I often see displays that are down to a few remaining items.

At the Costco by me they put stuff like that in the front of the store right when you walk in and sell them for a even better discount than normal.

Another thing big-box stores (including the Club ones) do: they sell stuff by truckloads to wholesalers. If you are on a wholesale mailing list (as I was for a while when I was hot ‘n’ heavy into eBay), you’ll see ads like this:
Return and overstock items from C*stco; $1,500 per pallet; larger purchases negotiable"

Don’t know what kind of legal issues keep them from printing the entire store-name when obviously everyone knows who/what they’re talking about, but I saw those ads all the time.

Thanks for the answers. I didn’t really consider the overstock store angle because I figured stores were more likely to do that after doing their own clearance sale. But running a clearance area comes with its own costs.

I’d bet that my local Costco (Union, NJ) is one of the busier/more profitable locations, so it definitely makes sense that they would make sure that every foot of display space is being used as effectively as possible.

And yes, I do usually shop at Costco on weekends.