Small and medium sized retailers in the West Midlands could be missing out on potential business worth over £87 million a year because of unsold stock, according to research carried out by online marketplace eBay.co.uk.
The company says its findings are based on research amongst 800 small retail businesses with between one and five high street outlets across the country.
EBay.co.uk discovered that many small retailers in the West Midlands find themselves lumbered with excess stock and are regularly left with end-of-line stock they can't sell at full price (44 per cent).
Consequently, almost two thirds (64 per cent) of West Midlands retailers have to resort to discounts and sales to sell the left over products.
Nearly half of small retailers (45 per cent) from the region say that excess stock is harming their business prospects because they are missing out on business opportunities.
It is also having a negative impact on companies' cash flow, with almost half saying they feel the financial pressure of unsold products.
Azita Qadri, eBay.co.uk's small business manager, said: "According to our research, the average small retailer is losing out on £3,700 by having to discount their products to sell them.
"There are alternatives out there though. eBay.co.uk is becoming a haven for small retailers who want to sell end of lines, stock that isn't selling or simply to use the site as an additional sales channel."
According to eBay.co.uk's research, 42 per cent of small retailers in the West Midlands place the blame on their local market, believing it to be too small. While 36 per cent feel they have over-bought stock in the first place.
EeBay.co.uk has an ongoing commitment to help businesses sell more easily on the website, recently setting up a business registration facility.
The new service means businesses wanting to sell on the site can register with their company details and payments details. Until recently, it has only been possible to register as a named individual.
The service will also offer dedicated customer support for business users.
EBay is already used by a number of major international companies, including Vodafone, Thomson Holidays, Canon and Hewlett-Packard.
Azita Qadri added: " Trading on eBay.co.uk is a great way for small retailers to shift their excess stock, rather than selling it at a loss.
"Small retailers can set up a shop on ebay with next to no start-up costs and with a marketplace of ten million users in the UK alone, the website is a great way to reach a whole new untapped audience."
Richard Compton, a small business owner, who has been using eBay for over a year, added: "It's transformed the way we do business, we are now able to sell products online as well as through our shops.
"It's meant that we never have left over stock which used to be troublesome to sell on without cutting our margins by a significant amount."