You see them advertised all the time: “CLOSEOUT SALE”, “Everything Must Go”, “We Lost Our Lease”, and other phrases along the same line. What is really going on? Are these legitimate? Well, the sad truth is much of the time, it’s all hype. However, there are enough times where it’s true enough to make it worthwhile to at least take a look. While some may have not lost their lease, they may have a cheap one that lowers their overhead and price. Others specialize in selling “gray” market goods – those that have just the slightest imperfection or are sold from other countries where quality standards are a little lower. Then there are the gems; stores that specialize in discontinued furniture and those coming out of season which need to make room for the new season’s inventory. Before buying “closeouts” of any kind, do your homework and practice shopping these stores over a few months until you get a good feel for how each store operates.
A Cheaper Way to Buy Furniture
As a cheaper means to fill your home, especially a new one, closeout shopping can be a real steal. Most furniture strips are in clusters in areas where there is a lot of new construction, although older neighborhoods have their fair shares of shops. Try starting there. As mentioned, closeout sales can bring you the best bargains. These are fire sales of last season’s furniture, which is often indistinguishable from the new season. The pickings can be frustrating. Finding a whole room’s matching scheme can prove to be difficult unless you get there early. If you ask a salesperson at almost any shop when their next sale is coming, they’ll gladly let you know while they slip you their business card. This is just savvy shopping. Be prepared to piece a room together using a couple of stores.
Things to ask
It’s fair game to ask what the MSRP was and where the wholesale price is. Clearance items should be priced near wholesale and negotiation is not out of the question. Ask what the new models look like. You just may decide to pay a higher price for new designs. But keep in mind, one season’s style will be outdated by the following season. Very few guests will be able to tell when you bought your furniture. At worst, statement furniture may date your room a little, but conservative shopping will help unless you like bold pieces. These are for your home. They need to speak to you no matter how old or what season you bought them in. Don’t forget to ask if alternate fabrics are available. Shipping is another question. When can they deliver, and how much will it cost. This is often negotiable too. Ask if financing is available. Free or 0% interest rates for a year or two are not uncommon, although harder to get on closeouts.
The Going Out of Business Stores
This is an area where you want to tread lightly, but keep an eye out for the occasional deal. Often, low overhead allows these shops to drop prices to attractive levels. Comparison shopping is important. Bargains can be found on current seasonal furniture or ones that are about to go off-season. Discounts from MSRP or full-price stores should be checked and if good, taken advantage of. Make sure you ask if they are imperfect or being dumped by manufacturers for any other reason. If they lost their lease, but are still around six months later, ask them what happened. Be prepared for a slick sales pitch. But while you are there, pay attention to prices. You might do very well.