Retailers from department-store giants to discounters to home-and-garden stores are unloading excess inventory in droves in the coming days and weeks as they make room for the all-important back-to-school season.
Retailers saddled with merchandise that didn’t move as consumers reined in spending on discretionary goods, particularly apparel, amid high prices at the gas pump and an overall sluggish economy — not to mention uncooperative spring weather — are price cutting in a big way.
“Clearance inventory continues to be building across the mall with a number of retailers promoting additional offerings on already reduced merchandise, according to Adrienne Tennant, a retail analyst at Janney Capital Markets.
“Full-price racks continue to go largely unnoticed with the majority of mall traffic huddled in the back of stores scavenging for the yet-again-unavoidable clearance offerings,” she said.
That’s leading to sales reminiscent of the 2008 holiday season when merchandise was marked down 50% to 80%.
Kohl’s, for example, is even taking a holiday-season promotions path to clear its shelves with early-bird and night-owl sales Friday and Saturday and in-store sales with 60% to 70% across most categories and as much as 80% on final clearance.
Nordstrom is taking 30% to as much as 60% off some summer apparel like 55% off a Kate Spade dress originally priced at $445.
Abercrombie & Fitch, which didn’t even enter the sales fray until last year, has a 40% off already-reduced summer wear that prices women’s tank shirts as low as $5.94 and men’s hoodies, once carrying price tags of $100 now at $29.94, both online and in store. And that’s before the weekend begins.
American Eagle Outfitters is slashing prices as much as 60% to help get rid of things like men’s graphic T’s at $11.99 and some women’s dresses as low as $19.99.
Express is shaving as much as 70% off summer shirts and shorts for men and women with an extra 20% off already-reduced apparel. At that rate, a short skirt is available at a bargain-basement price of $7.99.
It seems few consumers bought anything full price at the Gap, which is part of why its summer sale price cuts are up to 60% with an additional 40% off some sale items.
Watch too for flash sales, those that only last a few hours or days. Most are online sales such as the Midday Dash events at Neiman Marcus that offered up to 65% off selected items.
Online you can find up to 55% off regular prices even on designer merchandise. A Michael Kors shift dress, for example, was advertised at $1,202, nearly $600 off the original price.
Sears is taking 30% to 60% off everything from swimsuits to patio furniture. Ditto at Crate and Barrel — for furniture, not swimsuits. It’s pushing 60% off on selected summer merchandise and promoting “major markdowns” on furniture floor samples and one-of-a-kind items.
Home Depot is hacking 25% off select appliances as well as price cuts on patio furniture, outdoor play sets and gardening gear.
Borders has a coupon you can get online and print out for 20% off the entire purchase on books you buy in the stores for a limited time.
At Barnes and Noble’s stores you’ll find some books as much as 75% off with prices as low as $1.99.
Even the MLB.com has deep discounts, such as flash sales of 25% off.