From the Magazine

4 Ways to Save Big at Store Closeout Sales

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A surge in internet shopping has led to more and more brick-and-mortar store closings. Woman’s World chatted with Scott Carpenter, president of retail solutions at liquidation firm Great American Group, and Ben T. Nicholson, president of Fortis Business Advisors, which helps companies handle liquidations, to get the skinny on how to snag the best deals at “everything must go” bonanzas. Read on for their four expert closeout sale tips. 

Set a Free Google Sale Alert

One way to ensure you get the most out of a liquidation sale? Get there at the start. “That’s when the selection is best! “ says Carpenter. “You can save 20 to 25 percent on great items right off the bat, because unlike regular retail sales, at a liquidation sale — everything is discounted, not just a few items to get people in the door.” 

To make sure you’re first in line, visit Google.com/alerts. Type “liquidation sale” along with your city into the search box, enter your email address, then press “Create Alert.” You’ll get an email letting you know once a new sale has been announced!

Head Straight to the Back

Moving the most valuable deals, such as designer clothes and electronics, to the rear of the store is one of the smartest tactic liquidators rely on to ensure you see all the deals they have to offer, explains Nicholson. The reason? “If the items with the highest demand are featured in the front of the store, then there may be no point in shopping the rest.” Make a beeline for the back to catch the big-ticket items that will be marked down to incredible prices.

Know When to Buy

The typical liquidation sale lasts from five to eight weeks. While prices drop lower and lower as time goes on, stock is limited, making it a tricky game of wait-and-see. Knowing which items will sell out the fastest can up your chances of nabbing what you want before it’s gone. “In the first couple of weeks, high-demand, high-value items, like big screen TVs or designer handbags always go first”, says Nicholson. Adds Carpenter: “For other merchandise, if there are a lot of the same items on display, you can probably come back later and get it at a higher discount.” The end of a liquidation sale is a great time to snag accessories, such as remote controls, TV stands, hats, and scarves, for up to 50 percent off. 

Ask About Everything 

When browsing through the store, don’t limit your focus to merchandise that the retailer has stocked. If you see an item that was used by the retail owners in their business — such as desks, lamps, bookcases, or shelves — assume it’s for sale, too, says Nicholson. “Retailers need to empty the space for the next tenant, so they’re happy to sell it to you.” 

You don’t even have to wait until the sale is winding down to ask. “Available furniture and fixtures will often be sold starting on day one.”

This story originally appeared in our print magazine. 

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