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Back-to-School Season Results Weak for U.S. Retailers; Excess Inventories Expected

Posted by bstocks on 09/03/2009

The nation’s stores missed the grade as the usually lucrative back-to-school season failed to lift sales in August, according to Stephanie Rosenbloom of the New York Times in her article dated September 3, 2009.   In her report, even though target sales for August exceeded expectations, the overall sales decline the industry posted is 2.9 percent.  A handful of some chain stores posted results on Thursday that were slightly better than July, attributed in part to tax-free shopping days. However, overall, most reported significant declines, the worst coming from teenage clothing and gear store chains.  

Empty shopping malls: The born-to-shop generation seems to have desserted the malls where if they could get frequent flier miles, they would have been eligible fo rmillions of miles.

Empty shopping malls: The born-to-shop generation seems to have deserted the shopping centers where their buying activities as well as social, family, meals and enterntainment past times were conducted in one-stop mega malls.

The retail industry posted a 2.9 percent sales decline compared with a year ago, Thomson Reuters reports, making August the 12th consecutive month of negative growth. The August decline comes on top of a 5 percent drop in July.

Despite signs that the economy is stabilizing, consumers remain reluctant to spend. That does not augur for a good holiday shopping season, a crucial time for retailers.  << Read the Full Article >>


The result of this continuing sales decline will of course, be excess inventories.  Before the retailer is faced with the eventual challenge of disposing them, it is best to plan strategically and to be ready for the future ahead. 

Retailers facing sales decline are already drowning in inventories and the year's season's are not even over yet.  Segue Corp. can act as these stores remarketing and reverse logistics partner by providing return center/refurbishment services and excess inventory disposition solutions.

Retailers facing sales decline are already drowning in inventories and the year's seasons are not even over yet. Segue Corp. can act as these stores remarketing and reverse logistics partner by providing them return center / refurbishment services and excess inventory disposition solutions.

As this summer, fall and holiday periods trudge ahead,  retailers must be prepared with an action plan to avoid unmoving  inventories crisis.  What business would want a warehouse-full of  last season’s, out-of-fashion, out-of-date inventories?  Let us not forget merchandise returns as they may be a whole lot of them.  Analysts at AT Kearney noted in a recent back-to-school report: “thrift is settling in as a habit for consumers across the board.”  So retailers, expect a volume of returns coming from buyers’ remorse.

To survive this challenging economy and avoid the same fate that did not spare the doom of some of their counterparts, Retailers, at best, should seriously consider utilizing the full turn-key services of  a reverse logistics company like Segue Corporation .  The company, with facilities located in Orange County, California, Waco, Texas, among others in different parts of the country, provide return center management, in-house refurbishments, inventory management remarketing and distribution management. 

These listed stores have all recently reported sales declines:

  • Abercrombie & Fitch, decline 29 percent
  • American Apparel, decline 20 percent
  • Zumiez, decline 12.1 percent
  • Wet Seal, decline11.2 percent
  • Hot Topic, decline 8.1 percent
  • Children’s Place, decline 8 percent
  • American Eagle Outfitters, decline 7 percent
  • Limited Brands, decline 4 percent
  • Gap, decline 3 percent
  • Old Navy, 9 percent decline last year
  • Wet Seal, decline, with undisclosed number

Department Stores:

  • Saks, 19.6 down
  • Neiman Marcus & Bergdorf Goodman, 9.6 down
  • Dillards, 12  percent down
  • Stein Mart, 8.9 percent down
  • Macy’s, 8.1 percent down
  • J.C. Penney, 7.9 percent down
  • Nordstrom, 7.6 percent down
  • Bon-Ton Stores, 5.1 percent down


  •  BJ’s Wholesale Club, 6 percent down
  • Costco, 2 percent down
  • Target, 2.9 percent down
  • Wal-Mart, stopped reporting sales figures

Outsourcing reverse logistics, refurbishment and remarketing services addresses the most typical and pressing concerns of retailers: how to get a fair market value for these assets, while making certain that the movement of these products does not negatively impact current sales and distribution channels, the cost of operations in dealing with their excess inventory and reducing these costs and last, but not least, protecting house brand.

Steve Vertun, the company’s managing director says he would welcome the opportunity to dialogue with retailers who are facing the excess inventory challenge.  “We customize our services according to our partner’s requirements”, he adds.  “Segue is a full reverse logistics and remarketing partner specializing in CE products (market knowledge/channels).  We can offer turn-key solution for processing, packaging and support of refurb products.”  Retailers looking for solutions can find these following list of Segue Corporation services:  

  • Returns center authorization/management /refurbishment depot
  • Warehousing /Inventory management
  • Processing of open box, damaged goods, E & O  
  • Repacking 
  • Repair:  screening, sorting, cleaning, testing, rework, quality inspection, kitting
  • Custom disposition / Re-Marketing
  • Fulfillment & Order management
  • Distribution / Freight / Transportation
  • Customer service 

Outsourcing the above services could may well help unload excess inventory problems and add cash for a struggling retailer’s books, so for questions and more information, contact the company at:

by Maria Lim                                                                                                                                                                                                        Contact the writer at:  (949) 589-5040      


Retailers See Back-to-School Sales Slowing 

Back-to-School sales’ mixed grades

Big Retailers Scaling Back     

Poor December at Retailers; Most Report Drops in Sales      

Retailers Face an Ominous Holiday Sign


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