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Closeout (sale)

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Closeout (sale)

Liquidation sale at Circuit City in Raleigh, North Carolina in February, 2009
Woolworths in Keswick on its final day of trading in December 2008

A closeout or clearance is the final sale of an item or items to zero inventory. It may be a given model of item that is not selling well, or in the case of the final closure of a retailer because of a relocation, a fire (fire sale), or especially because of a bankruptcy. In the latter case, it is usually known as a going-out-of-business sale, and is part of a liquidation. A "hail sale" is a closeout at a car dealership after hail damage. Often, when the store is shutting down, they let people know that this is their last chance to buy the merchandise. However, often it's companies that can't sell their inventory, inventors that had a bad idea or businesses that are looking for fast cash flow to pay their bills such as payroll, etc.

A closeout store is a retailer specializing in buying closeout items wholesale from other retailers and selling them at a discount. Big Lots is a well-known closeout store chain in the U.S., but other stores such as TJ Maxx, Ross Dress For Less, Marshalls, and Value City are also common, specializing more in clothing and housewares.

Some clearance merchandise is non-returnable at some stores, as the intent is of course to get rid of the items. This is especially the case with liquidation and store-closing sales. However, in many jusrisdictions such as the United Kingdom, consumers retain their usual rights during a sale, such as the right to return faulty goods (under the Sale of Goods Act 1979) and the right to return goods granted by the Distance Selling Regulations.

Rather than storing merchandise until the following year, almost every U.S. store also has post-Canada, “Boxing Day sales” draw large crowds of shoppers seeking after-Christmas closeout deals.

Some stores do pack-up holiday merchandise after going 50% off for a week or so, but often fail to remove the items from shelves before going back to regular price, especially if the items are non-perishable. A few merchants actually get credit back from vendors if they do not sell certain merchandise (this, in turn, is more common with perishable merchandise, such as fresh food), who in turn may sell it to a closeout store at reduced prices.

Some customers take note of when specific retailers normally mark down merchandise further, showing up at the store on the very first day for the best selection. More general seasonal merchandise (such as winter clothing or summer patio furniture) is also put on clearance, but at more irregular times, making way for new fashions and fads.

Even thrift stores have "rolling" closeouts. In this case, all merchandise put out in a given week is given a colored tag, or a letter to indicate what color if the item is directly marked with a grease pencil. During the last week before the color is used again, everything marked in that color is discounted, usually by 50%. At the end of the week, all remaining item with that tag color are removed from the shelves. There are typically four colors, so that all merchandise is rotated every [[

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