TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) — Have you been to the mall lately? You’ve probably noticed how much stuff they pack into the aisles.
Stock levels are at their highest since the pandemic began. For buyers in southern Arizona, that means better deals.
The warehouses are packed and the shops have more goods than they can sell at full price.
Economists say that without demand, discounts need to be higher for stores to move all these things.
“Their warehouses are overstocked,” said Dale Rogers, a professor of supply chain and logistics at Arizona State University. “Most of them didn’t properly assess what they were going to sell this year.”
Clothes racks are closer than ever, checkout counters are packed and shelves near checkouts are overflowing with impulse buys.
According to Rogers, consumer tastes have changed since the pandemic began. People spend their money on travel and entertainment instead of clothes and shoes.
“Now there are a lot of sales. Because retailers are trying to throw stuff away,” Rogers said.
But even with sales, consumer demand may not be there. A new survey shows that many Americans are planning to cut back on vacation spending.
One of the main ways shoppers save? 54% of shoppers surveyed said they plan to spend less per person on gifts, 38% said they are buying gifts for fewer people, and 25% plan to buy used items as gifts to reduce Christmas spending.
Instead of buying new, they will give gifts from a thrift store. Does that surprise you?
“Not in today’s world. Because I think everyone’s just trying to save,” said Goodwill buyer Celina Martinez.
“I mean, you can buy three or four pairs of pants and it’s still under $20,” said Matthew Flores, director of marketing at Goodwill of Southern Arizona.
Flores says Goodwill stores have seen an increase of about 100,000 shoppers year over year.
“Pretty much every month we are up 10% or more year-on-year,” Flores said. “And that’s consistent, that’s been for the last year and a half.”
“At Goodwill you can find unique things that you wouldn’t find at Target or Walmart, stores that are popular with others,” said 10-year-old Ella Olson, who prefers vintage to new.
She is not alone.
“Really, I think sustainability and the environment are on people’s minds these days,” Flores said.
In addition to retail stores, Goodwill has an e-commerce store. It is Goodwill’s fastest growing segment. Flores took us to a Tucson warehouse full of used treasures sold exclusively online.
“So like a record or a piece of art,” Flores said.
However, opinions differ about giving and receiving used gifts.
Would you ever get angry if someone got you a used gift, or would you be happy?
“I’d be happy,” Olson said.
“Christmas is something very personal for me. So, I want them to get something that’s for me. Not something that belonged to anyone else,” said goodwill buyer Gilda MacBain. “But I could see where people would do it.”
If vintage isn’t your thing, Rogers says off-price retailers like TJ Maxx and Homegoods are benefiting from canceled orders and excess inventory. That means even better discounts for customers.
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