CLOSEOUTNOW OFFERS LATEST AUCTION OUTLET

Byline: Leonard McCants

NEW YORK — Resources say one of their peskiest problems is unloading excess merchandise at values they can live with. But now CloseOutNow.com promises to get manufacturers the best price for their products by allowing parties from around the world to bid on the merchandise in an Ebay-like system of auctions.
It’s latest of several closeout sites to emerge on the Internet in the last year.
“I know the problem of excess inventory,” said Steven Lubinski, chief executive officer of CloseOutNow.com, during the company’s launch party last Thursday that also benefited ovarian cancer research.
“I had that same problem a year ago when I had 1,500 units to sell at the end of the season. When the [outlet stores] told me what they would give me, I was losing 80 percent of the value.”
With this new venture, he said, resources may get as much as 30 or 40 percent of a product’s value — whatever the market will bear.
“What the manufacturers can do is tell me what they think the merchandise is worth, and that becomes the opening bid,” explained Lubinski, who helped launch Escada in the U.S. and more recently was an executive at Associated Merchandise Corp., a buying and retail consulting company owned by the Dayton Hudson Department Stores division of Target Corp.
At the party, Lubinski announced that the site had merchandise listings “in excess of $100 million,” that the firm had secured a site for its first international office in Florence and that he was scouting for locations in mainland China.
At the launch event, held at a West Village loft here, several designers, including Badgley Mischka, Calvin Klein and Anne Bowen, donated clothing for a silent auction hosted by Wendie Malick, a former model and star of television’s “Just Shoot Me.” Proceeds from the auction went to the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund.

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