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Unexpectedly Saddled with Inventory? Strategies for Capital Recovery

Financial institutions profit from lending money.  Therefore, when something goes wrong with a borrower, there is a tremendous amount of pressure when money needs to be recovered.

If the recovery involves monetizing merchandise inventory, three common concerns for any institution suddenly faced with dealing with surplus inventory are:

  • Can we make money off of this merchandise?

  • How can we sell off the merchandise?

  • How long will it take?

With inventory driven businesses, aside from real estate and specific equipment, it is not uncommon for inventory to be the most valuable and desirable asset.  Therefore, it is fiscally prudent for the financial institution or owner of the merchandise to determine whether the ultimate goal from the inventory disposition is to generate a high recovery value or sell off the merchandise quickly.

Recovery through Liquidation

If generating the highest possible return is the goal, then orderly liquidation of the inventory assets through a high-impact sale to the public is the best strategy.  When marketed effectively, selling to the end user will yield the highest price for finished goods merchandise.  In fact, when executing a high-impact sale to the public, it is not uncommon for sales returns to reach levels as high as 90%-110% of the original cost of the inventory. However, to reach any significant level of returns, there are common challenges which prevent a financial institution from executing a liquidation sale, and these must be overcome.  The most common obstacles are determining an effective location and the length of time to execute the sale program.

Options for accommodation for a location to execute a sale are not as limiting as is generally thought.  Because of the additional income from rent during the sale and the increased exposure to the location, landlords are often accommodating and open to a sale being executed from: 

  • The original location of the business

  • A “pop-up” store retail location with a short-term lease

  • A warehouse location

Another challenge financial institutions face is determining the sale term for the liquidation process.  Although sales can be accelerated or extended, the ideal sale length for an orderly disposition will range from 6.5-8.5 weeks.  However, no matter what the ultimate determination of the sale length, the most crucial factor to consider is that the longer a sale can run, the higher the recovery value and scalability of costs to execute the program.

It is understandable that financial institutions consider inventory the least desirable asset to monetize, and they often accept whatever they can get for the merchandise.  However, it is prudent to determine the ultimate goal, consider the options that are available for quick disposition or high recovery value, and determine if the conventional challenges can be capitalized upon and used in the institutions favor.  

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