The original meaning of a fire sale was exactly that. If a warehouse burned due to a fire, literally, the way to get rid of all the remaining inventory was to have a “fire sale”. The building owner would contact wholesale liquidators and excess inventory buyers to come out and examine the damaged merchandise. The goal is selling liquidation stock and getting rid all the damaged inventory.
Today, the term “fire sale” has taken on a broader meaning as the term is more loosely used to reference any deep discount sale to sell liquidation stock. It could also be called a warehouse sale, a tent sale, or an excess inventory sale. The idea is to promote a sale that will bring in buyers for wholesale closeouts and sell excess inventory or and other overstock.
Fire sales or overstock sales are often necessary to help a company thin out its inventory. It is a great way to sell liquidation stock of closeout housewares, closeout sporting goods, excess toy inventory, or any other obsolete inventory of general merchandise that needs to be liquidated. The term wholesale closeouts and wholesale liquidators can be applied to any large inventory of merchandise that is liquidated because it is no longer needed.
Buyers for wholesale closeouts often have a particular niche in which they operate. For example, some of the companies only sell liquidation stock overseas, the they look for larger quantities and prefer name brands. Other buyers of excess inventory sell liquidation stock to small local discount stores, so they prefer to buy smaller lots perhaps from local wholesale liquidators.
Wholesale liquidators are always looking for new opportunities to buy excess inventory and overstock. Companies don’t have to have an all out liquidation just to sell liquidation stock. Very often, companies simply need to relieve a small overstock by liquidating only a handful of products or a single product line. It is not always necessary to have a major inventory liquidation.
Selling excess inventory is an important part of running any retail business. There will always be reasons for having to get rid of extra inventory. Whether you call it a fire sale, discount sale, distressed inventory sale, etc, these terms all mean the same thing.