Your Holiday Gift Returns May End Up With This Bethesda Business


Liquidity services will play an important role in redirecting gift returns this post-holiday season.

A Liquidity Services warehouse where overstocked and returned goods are organized and distributed. (Courtesy liquidity services)

Bethesda, Maryland Liquidity services has been helping retail, industrial and government customers capitalize on returned merchandise, overstock and excess inventory for over 20 years. And that will be a big part of the reuse of gift returns this season after the holidays.

Liquidity Services, whose online auction sites include,, and, is large and growing. The company, which has more than 650 employees, including 100 locally, recorded more than $ 244 million in gross cargo volume in fiscal year 2021, a measure of the amount of product moved, up 24 % compared to the previous year. Its short-term goal is $ 1.5 billion in annual gross cargo volume.

This requires a lot of storage space between buying and selling, and Liquidity Services currently has over a million square feet of total warehouse space.

In November, Liquidity Services opened a 100,000 square foot warehouse in Pittston, Pennsylvania, just to keep up with the growth of its retail segment. Retail trade now accounts for 25% of the company’s gross merchandise volume.

At the end of the holidays, the return of gifts will be strongly impacted by the increase in online shopping in the era of the pandemic.

“Last year about 10% of all in-store purchases were returned, so that’s a pretty big volume. What’s interesting is that as e-commerce grows, the returns from e-commerce are even greater. E-commerce returns are at a rate of 15% out of 20% or more, ”according to Jeff Rechtzigel, vice president and general manager of the retail division of Liquidity Services.

And for retailers, resellers like Liquidity Services are usually the best option for returned merchandise.

“More often than not he doesn’t return to the set,” Rechtzigel said. “Usually the box has been opened. The packaging has been damaged in some way. And it’s not perfect.

Returned merchandise is most often redeemed by discounters, online resellers, and even Mom and Pop stores.

It is estimated that $ 114 billion in sales of holiday merchandise will be returned this season, and companies like Liquidity Services and others in so-called reverse logistics are also preventing a party from simply being thrown away.

Returned and surplus goods create an estimated 5 billion pounds of landfill waste each year, according to DC-based reverse logistics company Optoro.

Liquidity Services has also recently expanded to include sales of surplus direct to consumers, All excess sales, sort of eliminates the middleman, selling returned and overstocked items at significant discounts directly to consumers.

These sales are made through an online auction format, although the merchandise itself is only available for pickup at the company’s new 85,000 square foot warehouse in Phoenix, but expanding to others. markets is the plan.

“Most of these items start at $ 5 and then competitive auctions result in a sale,” Rechtzigel said. “Consumers then collect their purchases, often getting offers at 80% or 90% off retail value. “

Even with its rapidly growing retail segment, the majority of liquidity services business falls outside of this segment, and they move an eclectic mix of items.

“We have a vertical industrial sector that sells biopharmaceutical equipment, energy equipment or agricultural machinery,” Rechtzigel said. “We also have a government services company that has some interesting stocks. So we will sell airplanes, helicopters, restored automobiles. We recently sold an island.


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