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Circuit City: How to shop liquidation sales
Why buyers should beware when 'everything must go'
 

After failing to find a buyer, Circuit City sold its entire inventory to four liquidation firms, said John Tozzi in BusinessWeek online, and the liquidation sale is on. And Circuit City isn’t alone—“these are busy days for the liquidation industry.” Bargain hunters may not be impressed by today’s 10-30 percent discounts, but the prices will drop as the sale goes on.

Sam, a soon-to-be-jobless Circuit City employee, has some tips for “navigating the liquidation,” said Meg Marco in The Consumerist, and the first is that “not much is actually on sale.” Except for some game systems and cables, prices are currently higher than a few weeks ago. And don’t ask—the despondent employees “cannot change ANY PRICE in the store.”

That’s because “liquidation sales are not supposed to save you money,” said Sue Stock in the Charlotte News & Observer. “Their sole purpose is to squeeze every possible penny of profit from the inventory of a dying retailer.” So “buyer beware.” Research prices beforehand to spot any “deals to be had,” pay with a credit card, and inspect your purchase before leaving.

Shoppers soon may get good at navigating going-out-of-business sales, said Daniel Gross in Slate’s The Big Money. Chapter 11 bankruptcy used to be “like rehab”—a safe place to get your act together. Now many retailers “are simply deciding to end it all” instead of restructuring. That is sign of “significant (perhaps excessive) pessimism” in our future.

 

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