These days, lots of retail chains are shutting down underperforming stores or otherwise calling it quits — and that means liquidation sales.

While it’s sad to see your favorite store close up shop, there are serious savings to be had as companies sell off all their inventory.

But don’t just run into the store day one ready to buy out the place. You gotta play this smart.

 

Don’t buy right away — early ‘discounts’ are deceiving.

Unless you’re concerned that something you really, really want will be sold and gone forever, try to avoid buying in the early days of a liquidation sale.

Liquidators often mark UP inventory to the manufacturer’s suggested retail price at first, and then discount from there.

For example, at a Sears in Minnesota, the price of a Craftsman riding mower jumped from $1,499 to $1,889 when the liquidation “sale” began. Don’t pay more.

 

Expect stores to take an extra 10% off every couple of weeks.

Liquidation sales typically last from 8-12 weeks — and some sales, like Pier 1’s, are even longer. Patience is your friend here.

Discounts weren’t great at first when the Toys”R”Us liquidation sales began, but between March and June, sales went from 5 – 10% off storewide to up to 70% off. Pier 1’s early liquidation discounts have been between 15% and 30%, although most items are on the lower end of that spectrum.

Check back every week or two to see what’s still in stock, and to keep tabs on new markdowns.

 

 

Keep an eye out for items that are almost never on sale.

Storewide clearance means EVERYTHING is marked down — so it’s not hard to find a deal.

Look for particular products or brands that you’ve been wanting to buy. I like to look out for furniture that would otherwise never be this cheap.

 

Take advantage of discounted gift cards.

Pay attention to gift card resellers like Raise.com — people will often try to offload their soon-to-be-worthless gift cards. The amount on the gift card is higher than what you’ll pay for it, so that equals more savings on top of liquidation discounts.

I found Pier 1 gift cards, JCPenney gift cards, and Victoria’s Secret gift cards, all in the range of 2 – 5%.

Note: You’ll want to check with the closing store to make sure they’re still accepting gift cards, and for how long.

 

Now you’re ready to shop these stores.

We’ve got a list of stores we believe will be liquidating soon, but in the meantime, here are some stores that definitely are liquidating now or in the near future:

 

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