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With the recent wave of retail bankruptcies and store closings and more expected to come, it is a great time to get a great deal on a growing range of items. However, it pays to be smart.

Those store-closing sales or going-out-of-business sales are not always what they seem. The inventory of your favorite store is frequently under the control of a liquidator whose job it is to sell every last thing in the store.

What to Know About Liquidators

Liquidators are known for marking up inventory prior to marking it back down again for the “sale”. Other times, if only a specific location is closing but the chain is staying in business, the deals may just not be that good.

Often times, the inventory can be absorbed in other locations. Sure, they’ll liquidate the seasonal items or anything going out of style, but hard-to-find, popular items may just be sent to another store.

The splashy signs that promise big savings are often just not true. So, what can you do to make sure you get a legitimately good deal? Prepare.
If you know what you are looking for before you go shopping, do your homework first.

Do These Things Before You Buy

Know what the going price is and what the typical sale prices are. Take into consideration how comfortable you are buying that item on a final sale, and how much of a discount you will get for giving up that security.

Compare prices while standing in the store. Use your cell phone to see what the current price of an item is elsewhere before you commit. Peel back sale labels and see what the original price was.

Inspect every item to make sure it isn’t damaged or irregular. Liquidators have been known to mix damaged, open-box and irregular items in with the rest of the store’s inventory. After all, their job is to get top dollar for everything in the store.

If you have a gift card from a store that has announced it is going to begin liquidation sales, make sure you use it quickly whether everything is on sale yet or not. Once stores are taken over by a liquidation company, they are no longer the same company that sold you the gift card, and they may not honor it.

The same goes for coupons. If you have something to use, use it
now before it is worthless. Do not get sucked in just because all of the signage is convincing you that things are cheap and going fast.

Remember while you are in the store that the entire job of the liquidator is to convince you to spend your money. Do not buy things you do not need; it doesn’t help you to waste the money you saved on impulse purchases – and liquidators are great at making you feel an urgency to buy things.

Be Patient

Last but not least, it pays to be patient. Once a store begins liquidation, they start with smaller discounts. Those discounts increase as time passes and inventory dwindles. The goal of the liquidation is to recover as much money as possible for the store’s creditors.

However, if you are patient and keep watching and waiting on a sale, you might be lucky enough to get a better deal. Just keep in mind that once the items are sold, the stock won’t be coming back in.