Creatively Cliquey

May 1998


Creatively Cliquey

Close-out wholesaler is cutting costs with cutting-edge technology

A New York City company found a smart technological solution to one of the industry's most frustrating quandaries.

J&T Trading, a wholesaler specializing in close-out merchandise, has built Clique-a-Jewel, an intranet that gives retailers immediate access to low-priced inventory. The system eliminates a third party by allowing manufacturers to list their close-outs on-line for retailers to buy directly.

"Manufacturers can get more money out of their merchandise, and independent jewelers can buy like the majors without having to buy huge quantities," says Thomas Hunter, president of Clique-a-Jewel and J&T Trading.

On average, major chains refuse 20% and return 25% of a manufacturer's line, which the manufacturer can't resell without devaluing its new products. Because it costs more money to melt down the jewelry, the manufacturer turns to close-out companies, which usually buy the jewelry for 40¢ to 50¢ on the dollar. Retailers buy from the close-out companies at trade shows and from traveling sales reps, but often they can't find what they're seeking by the time goods have been picked over.

The Clique-a-Jewel solution: Retailers take a 30-month subscription for a monthly fee to be determined. The monthly rate will drop after the lease expires. The rate includes equipment attractive enough to display in the store: a sleek, frame-like monitor and a mouse for the countertop and a hard drive that fits in a cabinet below.

Then manufacturers post photos, descriptions, quantities and prices of their close-outs on the intranet. Updated information is downloaded to jewelers' hard drives each evening so they can search by category.

Download time is faster than using the Internet because you don't have to connect to a modem, says Hunter. Clique-a-Jewel also uses high-quality video imaging to produce true-to-life pictures of the jewelry. The intranet also has a screen saver that scrolls through the specials of the day.

Clique-a-Jewel, New York, NY; (800) 704-0452, fax (212) 719-2856.

by Stacey King

Copyright © 1998 by Bond Communications.


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