Last updateTue, 16 Apr 2019 9pm

Retailer Roundtable: What have been your most effective ways of reducing aged inventory?

Q: What have been your most effective ways of reducing aged inventory? 

RR McKinley“We run inventory reports using The Edge to determine our aged inventory. Like most jewelers, when inventory hasn’t sold in the store for one year, it’s considered aged inventory. In the past, we’d label the item as a ‘clearance’ piece in the case it was originally displayed in. We still do that. But in July, we created a new clearance case. To give the case more attention we moved it from the back of the store to the front. Response to the new case has been faint so far, but this is still a very new way of addressing old inventory for our store and a lot of customers haven’t had a chance to see it. We’re currently discussing ways to bring attention to the new clearance case. Also under discussion is the possibility of hosting a one- to two-day estate jewelry sales event. We got this idea from another retailer at a summer IJO [Independent Jewelers Organization] Show. Our store buys jewelry from the public, so the proposed estate jewelry event would showcase these items plus our aged inventory. If we go ahead with the estate sales event it will be scheduled before the holiday season.”  

Christy McKinley, assistant manager
Gwen’s Fine Jewelers
Richmond, KY 


RR Maycock“I’ve used a couple of strategies, both of which have proven pretty effective. For inventory that is one year or less, and not selling as quickly as I would like, I’ll usually just move it to another display case. But two times a year I do what I call a ‘dramatic rearrange’ of the store. This work could include displaying jewelry in a completely different way, from black forms and risers to white, or even bringing in new display materials to change things up. A while back, I was on my way to work when I came across what looked to be a 10’ x 10’ slab of really nice green marble countertop on the road. I’m assuming it fell off the back of a delivery truck and the driver left it. I had to move some pieces to continue my commute to work, and while doing so I discovered some larger pieces were in very good condition. I put several of them in my trunk, cleaned them up and put them in my display cases. After that, I had one of my best sales months in recent history. When I make these changes, even customers who come in weekly and know the store well will ask when I got the new jewelry. Rearranging things or using new display mediums makes the jewelry more eye-catching. Another tactic I use is taking a piece that isn’t selling, lock it in my safe for six months, and then put a higher price tag on it. I’ve done this with 16 pieces of jewelry since I opened in 2010, and have sold eight of them this way.”  

Christie Maycock, owner
Christie’s Jewelers
San Marco, TX


RR Holt“Two times a year, for the last three years, we’ve worked with an estate jewelry contact of ours to host an estate jewelry event. It’s a storewide sale, but the estate sale is the main part of the event. The estate sale helps bring in people of all ages, but it’s mainly the older customers that like the estate pieces and our old inventory. These estate events have been a successful way for us to host an interesting event while selling old inventory, which is discounted during this event. Also, whenever we hold trunk shows with designers, we discount other merchandise in the store, including aged inventory. This helps bring in sales for the designer event, our other finished jewelry, as well as the aged inventory. Lastly, we have a showcase that is filled with old inventory and some estate pieces. It’s located near the repair center. Customers tend to linger around the repair center while they’re waiting, which brings attention to this case. On average, we’ll discount around 40 percent depending on our cost of the piece. We’ve even priced items in this case just a few hundred dollars over our cost. It’s not much of a profit, but it’s something and the item gets sold.” 

Alexandra Holt, store manager
Holts Diamond Jewelers
Wautoma and Neenah, WI


RR Benter“If jewelry isn’t selling after a year or so, we discount it 50 percent and move it to what we call the estate case. This display case is near the entrance of the store next to the diamond cases. The store configuration is like an ‘O’ so people either see the estate case first or last depending how they’re walking the showroom - so it gets viewed. This doesn’t interfere with other sales. In fact, a good share of the items in this case are priced at a point that it’s an easy add-on sale. We’ve also had good luck reducing inexpensive aged inventory by donating them to charities and non-profits. After attending some recent trade shows, I’ve also been thinking about having our own trunk show featuring mainly old inventory. Tag it. Bag it. Set it at a certain price and see if it sells. I literally mean a sale in a trunk. Mix in some other inventory to make it interesting. It could create some good buzz in the store. Jewelers I’ve talked to have tried this. I’ve also just put aged inventory in my safe for some time and then pull it out for customers who have seen everything in the showroom. I present it as part of a new shipment that just came in. I’ve sold many pieces of jewelry this way.”

Chad Benter, owner
Van Denover Jewelry
Oelwein, IA


“We’ve experienced mixed results with the usual online auction websites such as eBay and Craigslist. We did everything right with lightbox-produced product shots at every angle, detailed product descriptions and pricing the pieces, on average, about $40 above scrap. Some pieces sold, but many didn’t. Although we’re constantly thinking of ways to address this pressing issue, our best method of reducing aged inventory is our Ladies’ Night event. Scheduled for the second Thursday of every November, it’s a Ladies’ Night event but everyone in our market knows it’s the one sales event we hold every year. It’s scheduled before the Black Friday sales. The aged inventory moves by virtue of pulling in large crowds for this event. It’s not like other Ladies’ Night events with wish lists and parties just for the ladies. It’s just an annual sales event when we attract many different age groups from young ladies with their mothers to seniors and everyone in between. The aged inventory sells particularly well that night because a buyer is in the store and makes a connection with a piece of jewelry. Aged inventory is mixed in with our estate case offerings. When aged inventory moves into this case, we typically discount it by 15 percent. This gives us a little wiggle room to negotiate. In the future, we’re considering working with local auction houses to see if they can help us reduce our aged inventory.” 

Ryan Legg, manager
The Diamond Studio
Gahanna, OH