Don’t get fooled by ‘Close out’ or ‘Clearance’ prices as stores close in the metro

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OVERLAND PARK, Kan. -- Macy's at Metcalf South is closing its doors for good in March. Until then, the major retailer is promoting a final clearance sale with merchandise anywhere from 30 to 50 percent off.

But as FOX 4 learned on Thursday, those so-called 'deals' aren't always the best you can find and consumer saving experts say don't be fooled by marketing tactics.

The signs hanging in Macy's at Metcalf South are definitely grabbing shopper's attention. Who wouldn't notice: "Store Closing", "Nothing Held Back" or "Clearance Sale."?

"Their prices have really, really gone down," said shopper Teri Higginbothan who has checked out the prices since Monday when the store closing sale began. "I've heard several of the different customers making comments about $42, $20, this is unbelievable!"

But a closer look at the discounted merchandise shows prices that aren't actually rock bottom. Another shopper, Karen Toughey said she picked up three sweaters, cookware and clothes for her son, even though she noticed prices weren't that low.

"Probably not as good as I would have expected for a closeout sale," Toughey said.

Take the NutriBullet for example. At Macy's Metcalf South store clearance sale it's marked at $159. A sign next to it says 30% off , making the blender about $111.

But a quick check on Macy's.com shows the online price at just $99. And in the Macy's at Oak Park Mall, you can get the same machine for $99.

National consumer savings expert Andrea Woroch says shoppers must be informed and have done their research before they walk into a store.

"Lots of stores can be known to mark up prices and then offer a sale so that the value looks better. So it can be a little bit tricky and if you don't do your research, you can be fooled," Woroch said.

We found the same thing with a small Samsonite luggage bag. At 40% the original price, it's about $275 at the Macy's Metcalf South clearance sale. Online at Macy's.com the same piece of luggage is on sale for $229.

Shoppers we spoke with were surprised.

"Oh, interesting," Toughey said when we showed her the difference.

"That would be somewhat disappointing. I have to admit," said Higginbothan.

Woroch says it's the work of crafty marketers.

"I think this just stresses a really good point. That you shouldn't be fooled by a retailers marking efforts that everything is "on sale" or "must go". These are just marketing terms that drive shoppers into the stores," she said.

Woroch gave a few helpful tips for shopper's wanting to walk into a store prepared.

"It's really important to arm your smart phone with a few money saving apps. So the first one is "Couponsherpa," they have a free mobile coupon app that uses a GPS to pull up coupons in your area for stores that are offering a sale. Sometimes a store may even match the competitor's coupons," she said. "Otherwise get on price matching and find out if the retailer will price match the competition another store is offering for a lower price."

Macy's stores typically will match the Macys.com online price, but are not doing that during the closeout sale at Metcalf South.

Not everything was cheaper at Macy.com or other Macy's stores, the discount on purses and men's suits seemed to be a good deal when FOX 4 compared prices.

Two sales associates told FOX 4 the close out sale is being run by an independent third-party company and the store is technically not affiliated with Macy's at this point. The regional Macy's spokesperson, Melissa Goff, did not respond to that question but did send an email saying:

"The advertised % off merchandise during the final clearance sale will generally increase over the course of the sale in the coming 10-11 weeks, and the % will vary by department. The % off in a final clearance sale is calculated based on the full regular price. All sales are final, and the offer is good only in the location that is closing while supplies last. Other ongoing Macy's stores continue to follow a normal-course promotional calendar where individual items go on sale periodically for a specific length of time or are on clearance until they sell out. So while it is possible for some individual items to be temporarily lower in another Macy's location, most prices will be better at the final clearance sale at a location that is closing. That will be especially true as the % discounts deepen over the course of a final clearance sale."

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2 comments

  • sealba65

    I went shopping there last week. I was very disappointed with the majority of the supposed “clearance” prices. Most of the items I looked at could of been purchased at another department store cheaper…with the ability to return if need be, since this store is closing all “sales are final”. Also there is false advertising, it says prominently throughout the store “nothing held back”. But the fragrances and cosmetics are excluded.