Clark Howard

Macy's, Sears and Kmart closing sales: 3 things you need to know

Nothing held back! Everything must go! Store closing signs are going up at more than 100 Macy's, Sears and Kmart locations nationwide — and that means liquidation sales.

But can you really find any deals at these store closing sales? It’s not as easy as you may think.

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Liquidation sales starting at more than 100 Macy’s, Kmart and Sears locations 

Money expert Clark Howard warns that you may be wasting your time and money if you rush to one of the closing department stores at the beginning of a liquidation sale.

Here are Team Clark’s answers to three of the top questions that you may have:

When do the store closing sales begin?

Macy’s announced that it’s closing 11 stores in early 2018. In most cases, clearance sales began on January 8 and will run for up to 12 weeks.

Sears Holdings is closing 64 Kmart and 39 Sears stores between March and April. Liquidation sales start as early as January 12.

Store closing lists:

What’s the easiest way to spot a good deal? 

Store closing sales can be tricky. Liquidators generally stock the stores with merchandise that was never sold in the store before — what Clark refers to as “fake merchandise.”

This is a common practice with liquidation sales and not specific to Macy’s, Sears and Kmart.

Liquidators use this tactic to increase their revenue, but they also want the store to look fully stocked, so people return in the weeks that follow.

Discounts start around 20% in the early days, but prices on some items may be higher than before the liquidation sale.

WCPO-TV visited a closing Macy's store in Cincinnati and conducted a price comparison. One jacket marked down 20% in the store was about 10 bucks less on Macy's own website.

Bottom line: Focus only on the final price, not whatever percentage discount you see posted in the store.

When’s the best time to shop a liquidation sale? 

If you’re going to shop a store closing sale, there’s no need to hop in the car and go right away. Discounts at the impacted Macy’s, Sears and Kmart stores will get better over the next few weeks.

In general, the steepest discounts are in the final 10 days, but there may not be a lot of merchandise left by then.

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