Deep discounts await shoppers in Southern Arizona as retailers try to dump inventory

KOLD News 6-6:30 p.m. recurring
Published: Nov. 23, 2022 at 8:34 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Been to the mall lately? You’ve likely noticed how much stuff they’re packing in the aisles.

Inventory levels are the highest they’ve been since the start of the pandemic. For shoppers in Southern Arizona, that means better deals.

Warehouses are jam-packed and stores have more merchandise than they can sell at full price.

Economists say without demand, discounts will need to be steeper in order for stores to move all that stuff.

“Their warehouses are jammed full,” said Dale Rogers, a professor of supply chain and logistics at Arizona State University. “Most of them did not guess right about what they’d be selling this year.”

Garment racks are closer than ever, display tables are packed and shelves near cash registers are overflowing with impulse buys.

Rogers says consumer taste has changed since the start of the pandemic. People are spending money on travel and entertainment instead of clothing and footwear.

“Now there’s a lot of sales going on. Because retailers are trying to dump stuff,” said Rogers.

But even with sales consumer demand might not be there. A new survey shows many Americans plan to trim their holiday spending.

Among the top ways shoppers are cutting back? Fifty-four percent of shoppers surveyed said they plan to spend less per person on gifts, 38% said they’re buying gifts for fewer people, and 25% plan to purchase used items as gifts to reduce holiday spending.

Instead of buying new, they’re going to give gifts from a secondhand store. Does that surprise you?

“Not in today’s world. Because I think everyone’s just trying to save,” said Goodwill shopper Celina Martinez.

“I mean you can buy three or four pairs of pants and still be under $20,” said Matthew Flores, director of marketing with 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’re beating our prior year by 10% or more,” said Flores. “And that’s consistent, that’s been the last year and a half.”

“Goodwill is where you can find unique things you wouldn’t find at Target or Walmart, stores that are popular to other people,” said 10-year-old Ella Olson who prefers vintage to new.

She’s not alone.

“Really, I think sustainability and the environment are on people’s minds these days,” said Flores.

In addition to retail locations, Goodwill has an e-commerce shop. It’s 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 fine art,” said Flores.

Even so, when it comes to giving and receiving used gifts, opinions are mixed.

Would you ever be upset if someone got you a used gift, or would you be happy?

“I would be happy,” said Olson.

“Christmas for me is very personal. So, I want them to get something that’s for me. Not something that belonged to somebody else,” said Goodwill shopper 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 have been capitalizing on canceled orders and excess inventory. Meaning even better markdowns for customers.