Unsold Clothes in Retail Stores: Where Do They Go?

Ever wondered what happens to that pair of jeans or sexy bra you kept admiring throughout the year – but couldn’t afford?

Well, as a general rule, chances are it could have been bought by someone who could afford it, which is why you no longer see it on the waterfall arms.

However, it could as well be that nobody bought that piece of clothing which begs the question, where did it go? Do clothes die in retail stores?

Join me to find out.


A huge retail store

One of the major options retailers have when it comes to getting rid of unsold and unwanted clothes is disposing them of by dumping them in a landfill.

This may appear a bizarre method of getting rid of these clothes, especially when looked at from the eyes of environmental conservationists. But what else would you do with a worthless piece of clothing filling your small retail store!

Recycling or Repurposing

This is quite an ingenuous way of getting rid of unsold retail clothes. Recycling involves converting the clothes into new and more attractive ones so they can regain their initial appeal.

On the other hand, repurposing involves modifying the clothes so they may be adapted for a different purpose.

This is one of the easiest and the fastest methods of getting rid of unwanted clothes from retail stores, given the high number of hire recyclers who are always on the look for these pieces of clothing.


Just like in the case with disposing of, shredding involves permanent destruction of the clothes. The retailers will often opt for an industrial shredder to help them cut the clothes into small portions for ease of disposal.

Selling to Discount Stores

This is yet another method of getting rid of unwanted retail clothes that ensures the retailer does not come out fully empty handed. The discount stores buy the unwanted clothes from retailers and then sell them in their target markets.

One advantage with selling unwanted clothes to these stores is the fact that they help the retailer preserve their brands and in effect act as a means of publicizing the brands.

Charitable Donations

This is, perhaps, one of the most welcome means of getting rid of unwanted retail clothes. It involves giving away the clothes to a charitable organization.

The clothes may either be given directly to the organizations as a way of championing the cause of the destitute families or better yet, they may be offered as prizes in certain competitions.

Buying Back

When retailers purchase a given number of clothes from the vendors, the general expectation is usually that the clothes will sell after a specific duration. In the event they do not, the retailers may compel the vendors to buy back these items.

This fact is usually inspired by the presumption that the vendors made things that did not sell.

Tiered Approach

This approach involves clearing their stock by discounting and selling them within the retail stores instead of selling them directly to discount stores.

The method works by putting a greater discount to the less desirable clothing until all the unwanted stock is cleared.