What does ‘A-Stock’, ‘B-Stock’,
‘C-Stock’, ‘D-Stock’, ‘Refurbished’ / ‘Used’ Stock mean?
Firstly a 'disclaimer'. Below refers
primarily to the terms as applied to the 'Retail / Distributor' relationship
aspects of the product supply industry, to answer the question, "What is
the meaning of 'A-Stock', What is
the meaning of 'B Stock?
What is the meaning of C-Stock?
What is the meaning of D-Stock?
also, What is the meaning of
BSTK'? What is the
meaning of CSTK? What is the meaning of
does not necessarily apply to the 'Factory-Distributor' aspects. It could
apply, however to a 'factory direct to the public' or
'Factory-Direct-to-the-Public-Wholesale' situation. I have written this
by drawing on almost 30 years of retail experience, primarily in the consumer
electronics, music instruments, pro audio and lighting sales industry. I
have purchased and sold thousands of products from many, if not a few
A letter, followed by the word ‘stock’, in the ‘retail industry’, refers to
the degree of 'newness' of an inventory or specific product item. Inventory
items can be referred to as A, B, C & D-Stock conditions as well as 'Demo',
'Refurb', 'Close-out', 'Overstock', 'Second', 'Blems', 'Factory Overruns',
and more. The application can vary somewhat from retailer to retailer or
distributor to distributor, but generally indicates a similar condition
'A-Stock’; What does 'A-Stock’ mean for retail products?
means 'NEW'! Refers to units / items / products that are ‘New in the Box’, never used,
right off the 'line' (other than any cursory un-boxing / re-boxing at a
distributor / retailer level for quality assurance inspecting / checking)
with the full manufacturers warranty and applicable ‘return’ policies.
‘A’ stock can further mean that a purchaser will be entitled to a ‘higher
level’ of customer support / service after the sale and in the case of Oak
Tree Enterprises, LLC. This is the case. We come from an ‘old school’
lineage of coupling sales, with practical and extensive product knowledge.
We are reachable by phone, and it is possible to speak with a person, both
prior to and after the sale. We are here to offer practical assistance /
advice on set-up, use and features of a product. We are
here if you need assistance 'down the road' with connections, applications,
additions or troubleshooting with the item you purchased from us, in some
cases years prior. We are also a ‘phone call
away’ if needed to ‘go to bat’ for you in the rare case you need warranty
assistance with a product, distributor or manufacturer. Many of the ‘Big
Box’ outlets, cannot offer that at ‘cut to the bone’ pricing.
‘B’ Stock or 'BSTK';
What does 'B-Stock’ or BSTK mean for retail products?
It depends on where the 'B-Stock' label is attached (not physically 'where',
but where in the supply chain). If it's at the retailer level, 'B-Stock’
is nearly the quality level of ‘A’, but may have been a 'retail store' demo
/ floor model, but still likely has all the original packing, accessories,
manuals with only slightest to no wear. It may simply be an ‘out of date’
model that was never sold (although in some cases ‘A’ stock can still apply
to a model that is simply ‘out of date’). Occasionally 'B-Stock' can simply
refer to a 'flaw in packaging' committed at the factory level. It likely
still carries the original manufacturers warranty and likely falls under the
same ‘return’ policies as applicable to ‘A’ stock. It also will usually fall
under the same ‘service after the sale’ policies generally offered by the
retailer / distributor. Some retailers may not reveal 'B-Stock' status on
a product and allow it to appear as 'A-Stock'. A significantly lower price
on an item is often an indicator of this. This is sometimes the case with
'auction site sales' or 'online' sites known for 'super cheap prices'.
At the distributor level, 'B' stock may refer to items that have been
returned to distributors stores, had nothing wrong with them, been
repackaged and sold back to their dealer stores for 'resale.
At the factory level, 'B-Stock' may refer to 'cosmetic blems' (these
products may sometimes be marked with an indication of 'second' or 'fs'
(factory-second)) which is then passed on the the distributor to be offered
as 'B-Stock' to the retailer. I saw this fairly often with 'guitars' offered
from our distributors. In the case of Fender and Gibson, they were typically
labeled as 'Second' (always finish / discoloration / 'wood character' issues
and nothing to do with the functionality of the guitar or instrument. Those
units did not and generally do not make it out of the factory (at least not
from the more reputable companies). Occasionally I saw 'seconds' with
speakers (almost always grill or finish issues), but there was typically no
indication on the product, but on the package / box.
The retailer may or may not disclose the item as a 'B-Stock' unit if they
are able to address or resolve the issue.
‘C’ Stock or 'CSTK';
What does 'C-Stock’ or CSTK mean for retail products?
likely has been a demo / floor model, but has sustained appreciable wear of
has significant signs of ‘wear’, or may have been returned back to the
retailer or factory within a short time period due to an issue unrelated to
the functionality of the product (ie; wrong color, size, didn’t like, wasn’t
correct for needs, etc). It may simply be an ‘out of date’ model that was
never sold (although in some cases ‘A’ or ‘B’ stock can still apply to a
model that is simply ‘out of date’ and in some cases may be a more desirable
item if the ‘new and improved’ is not really ‘new and improved’). It may not
have any of its original accessories. It may have a more ‘limited’ warranty
and will likely have no or reduced return options. If a unit is a ‘return’
and the purchaser filled out any warranty cards and submitted it prior to
returning, it may be difficult to get any ‘factory’ or original warranty
assistance. Will likely be a ‘final sale’ item. ‘Service after the sale’
options will likely be reduced or limited or even non-existent when compared
to ‘A’ or ‘B’ Stock.
Some retailers may not reveal 'C-Stock' status on a product and allow
it to appear as 'A-Stock'. This is sometimes the case with 'auction site
sales' or 'online' sites known for 'super cheap prices'.
‘D-Stock’ / DSTK /
‘Refurbished’; What does 'D-Stock’ or DSTK mean for retail products?
Refers to units / items / products that have been returned and required
refurbishment / repair by a qualified technician (typically at the factory
It will likely have minor to significant signs of prior use. A ‘D’
product will not have much, if any of its originally included box, packing,
manuals, accessories and will likely have visible wear / signs of use. ‘D’
units will not likely carry the original manufacturers warranty, but may
possibly carry a lesser warranty offered and assumed by the retailer or
distributor (solely independent from the manufacturer) or may be extended by
the factory. It will generally not fall under the sellers standard return
policy if any. 'D-Stock' or 'refurbished / refurbed' items may not even be
offered for sale thru it’s normal, ‘authorized’ dealers / distributors and
may be from a previous ‘close-out’, ‘fire-sale’ or other ‘distressed’
You will usually see ‘D’ stock products offered at the temporary ‘tent
sales’, ‘hotel sales’, sales held at community centers or exhibition
centers. Most of the brands offered for sale at these events are very ‘off
brands’, of generally much less quality, that a comparable ‘name brand’
version. If a ‘name’ brand is offered at one of these types of sales, it
will likely be ‘C’ or ‘D’ stock. Often times reputable retailers will not
want to 'cloud' or dilute their stock or sales floor with 'D-Stock / DSTK /
Refurbished' products, so distributors / factories offer them to more
Some retailers may not reveal 'D-Stock' status on a product and allow
it to appear as 'A-Stock'. A significantly lower price on an item is often
an indicator of this. This is sometimes the case with 'auction site sales'
or 'online' sites known for 'super cheap prices'.
More on 'types of retail stock' to follow....
- revised 9/19/17