Anyone looking for a cheap sugar fix this week can go to any retailer that sold Easter candy. It's likely to be discounted 30 to 50 percent less. Target, for example, is discounting all Easter candy 30% on Monday. Merchandise such as baskets, Paas egg coloring kits, and fake grass are 50% off. Walmart is clearing out its Easter supplies at half off. As the week goes on, supplies will dwindle and the discounts will rise to 70%, possibly even 90%.
What happens to the stuff that no one buys, even at 50 to 90 percent off? Major retailers are unlikely to store it until next year, especially candy, so some sell it to liquidators such as Event Sales in Minneapolis, SkyGroup Closeouts in St. Paul or Jacobs Trading in Hopkins, who then sell it second-hand retailers, dollar stores, surplus and thrift shops. Salvation Army and Goodwill Easter Seals purchase some overstocks and returns from Target before and after Easter. "We get quite a bit of Easter merchandise before Easter and after," said Tom Canfield, district manager for Salvation Army's nine stores in the Twin Cities metro.
What doesn't sell after Easter, especially candy, may go to a homeless shelter or a kids camp. Non-food items live on for another day. "Whatever doesn't sell by the weekend after Easter will be taken off the shelves and stored until next year," said Brent Babcock, chief sales and marketing officer at Goodwill Easter Seals Minnesota.
Charities such as Goodwill are allowed to purchase new goods but are limited to stocking no more than 15% of their inventory with new merchandise.
B Stock Solutions in Boston buys overstocks and excess inventory from retailers such as Costco, Lowe's, Target, Walgreens and Walmart. Their merchandise is then auctioned to small businesses or companies. Easter retail goods, for example, may be auctioned off by the pallet or the truckload, A pallet of plastic, bunnies and other related items may sell for $1,000 to $2,000, but it depends on condition of merchandise, where the buyer is located, and seller restrictions.
"The more time that goes by after Easter, the less valuable it is to liquidators," said Eric Moriarty, vice president at B Stock Solutions. "It picks up a week or two after the holiday and trails off a couple months later." As for candy, its value plummets as it nears the expiration date. Still, it's not illegal for any retailer to sell candy near or past its freshness date. Regulars at Mike's Discount Foods in Anoka, Fridley and Hilltop can attest to that.