The last few years have been challenging for all brands in footwear and apparel. Nike announced during their last quarterly report the inventory increased to 44%. When the most prominent brand, with distribution in the hub of shipping for the U.S. is having issues with excess inventory, the reality of retail is that all stores are inundated with too much product which has caused a promotional environment earlier than in other years. Black Friday began in September this season. Sales have been steady through back-to-school and with constant discounts flying into e-mail inboxes, the consumer expects discounts, and they know brands will be quickly discounting new releases and old. This has led to a lack of sales at full price which will have a considerable impact on retailers and brands. If Black Friday is basically more of the same, when wallets are already being clutched tighter due to inflation, what happens for sneaker retail, which is bursting at the seams so much that boxes of shipments are being stored in try-on rooms and there isn’t anywhere in storerooms to add new products?
In the past, brands and retailers have taken the extreme measure of throwing away older inventory. With new sustainability practices in place, simply tossing old, damaged and slow selling inventory contributes to greenwashing for companies touting their commitments to finding eco-friendly solutions. In one of the most informative posts on this problem Tess DiNapoli explains the horrible impact of sneakers in landfills, “Shoe waste ends up in landfills. It contaminates the environment by emitting chemicals into the soil and groundwater. Dyes release harmful heavy metals while soles decompose into chemicals like polyurethane.” With so many sneakers sitting in the supply chain for so long, many of the sneakers are arriving to retailers damaged. One of the biggest releases of the year, the Air Jordan 1 Retro High OG Lost and Found, is being shared all over social media with images of molded sneakers. There are videos discussing the issues with some sneakers being distorted and discolored:
If Black Friday isn’t the rising tide it usually is for retailers this year, there may be more damaged product in the supply chain and in storerooms leading to more shoes heading towards the landfills. Sneaker Impact is ready to assist with the removing of inventory via our purchasing program. We have allotted a substantial amount of funds for the buying of otherwise unsellable products and Sneaker Impact has been working on solutions and is extending our warehousing and logistics strategy to every brand and retailer needing to reduce storeroom and warehouse overload. We are building out our Fulfillment and Shipping system to assist brands looking to avoid overflow container shipping lots which have been getting looted and robbed in some of the biggest sneaker thefts cases we’ve seen because of the slow supply chain. While DiNapoli discusses the problems with burning sneakers, she overlooks the improved services provided by companies like Waste Innovations who we partner with for Curb to Grid solutions.
If Black Friday isn’t the solution, tossing sneakers in the bin shouldn’t be the secondary step. Sneaker Impact is ready to take on its role as a supplementary logistics and solution team. Don’t let Black Friday and Cyber Monday, or a slow holiday season be the reason you break your commitments to sustainability. Sneaker Impact