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How to rock a liquidation sale

Rubina Ahmed-Haq
On Tuesday, Sears Canada also reported a 15.2 per cent decline in first-quarter sales.

Sears Canada has announced it will be shutting its doors for good. With court approval, the department store is expected to start liquidating all of its assets as early as October 19.

This store closing event could be a boon for bargain shoppers looking for steep discounts.

There are 130 Sears stores across Canada, full of merchandise that needs to go. Everything from household appliances to kids clothes to sporting gear. The savvy shopper will be looking to pick up items deeply marked down as the bankrupt store clears their shelves. If you plan on taking advantage of the deals, here’s how to navigate your way through a liquidation sale.

Make sure it is a deal

There’s a misconception that when you walk through the door of a store that’s closing down, that everything you touch is a bargain. The store is bankrupt and is trying to raise money to pay their creditors, and they are still trying to get their best price. They’re getting rid of everything, and that includes merchandise from many years ago. Know the full prices of the same items in order to compare how good of a deal you’re getting. Even if the item is brand new, if it’s a decade old, it may not be in good condition after years of sitting on a shelf.

Stay protected

When you buy an item at a liquidation sale, it is final sale. No return, no exchange, no recourse if it breaks down. If you’re purchasing a big-ticket item, like home appliances or furniture, check to see if it comes with a manufacturer’s warranty that will give you somewhere to call if you are not satisfied. Also, make your purchases on a credit card. Some credit card companies offer purchase protection in the case the item doesn’t work. This includes damaged and faulty goods. Call your credit card company to see if they offer this and how it would apply to items bought at liquidation sales. This is not a save-all answer, but it does offer some defence in extreme cases.

Inspect items

When shopping at liquidation sales, inspect everything you buy thoroughly. Use the same critical thinking for each purchase as you would at garage sales. Try on each item; if it’s electronics, ask to plug it in to see if it works. Attempt to use the item as best as you would at home before you take it out of the store. Use your common sense to see if items are in good condition.

Want vs. needs

As it is in any sales situation, it’s not a deal if you don’t need it. Even if its 95 per cent off, if you have no use for it, don’t buy it. Make a list before you leave the house of some things you need or would like to replace. Stick to those to ensure you’re not only getting the best deal, but also a useful item.

Haggle

Normally you wouldn’t bargain with a cashier at a big department store, but this is a liquidation event and the rules are different. If you’re making a large purchase and especially if you are buying the store equipment like cash registers, or shelving and furniture, try to get a better deal. All of these items were used in the functioning of the store. The store may be willing to give you a better price.

Buy timeless items

Focus on items that you can use for years. Things like holiday decorations, gift wrapping and ribbons, kitchen storage containers, anything that you put on a shelf for later is a good buy. Stay away from buying any perishables items including candy and chocolate, unless you plan on eating it right away.

Liquidation sales can be a great way to pick up items at deep discounts. If the sale is on for several weeks, check back periodically to see if more merchandise has been put out. The closer you get to the last day, the deeper the discounts. If it’s something you need, you could walk away with a huge bargain.

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