Behind the Scenes: Going Out of Business

Consumers can find some good bargains, Eppstein said, but "some liquidators engage in very dishonest practices."

"This has been a very unusual year for retailing," he added. "We have never seen so many closing and going-out-of business sales during the Christmas season."

First, some stores that have going-out-of-business sales never actually go out of business. But a more common approach, Eppstein said, is for liquidators to bring in their own goods. The first 30 days of a sale might be regular items and then "all of a sudden, new things show up, products that were clearly never part of that store's inventory."

"That's misleading, that's dishonest and that's deceptive," Eppstein said.

If you find such problems, he said to report them to your local Better Business Bureau, which could investigate and make it known to the public that the sale is a sham.

That said, Eppstein noted that there are plenty of legitimate going-out-of-business sales. Consumers just need to know the risks.

Often, there are no returns or exchanges because consumers give up that right, essentially, for a lower price.

Eppstein also warned shoppers to know their prices and comparison shop.

"What we don't want to do is assume," he said, "that because the big banner on the wall says 80 percent off that it is a real bargain."

Sales Near You

Here is a sampling of stores across the country that have begun or will soon kick off liquidation sales.

Cost Plus Stores

Mesa, 1349 Alma School Road, Mesa, Ariz.

Ontario, 4421 Mills Circle, Ontario, Calif.

Vallejo, 105 Plaza Drive, Vallejo, Calif.

Pembroke Pines, 11960 Pines Boulevard, Pembroke Pines, Fla.

Stonecrest, 8140 Mall Parkway, Lithonia, Ga.

Fayetteville, 240 Pavilion Parkway, Fayetteville, Ga.

Hoffman Estates, 2780 Sutton Road, Hoffman Estates, Ill.

Rockford, 6650 East State Street, Rockford, Ill.

Fort Wayne, 4310 Coldwater Road, Fort Wayne, Ind.

Germantown, 20904 Frederick Road, Germantown, Md.

Bloomington, 4250 West 78th Street, Bloomington, Minn.

Maple Grove, 12209 Elm Creek Blvd., Maple Grove, Minn.

Minnetonka, 11240 Wayzata Blvd., Minnetonka, Minn.

Rochester, 1200 16th Street, SW Rochester, Minn.

Roseville, 2401 Fairview Ave., North Roseville, Minn.

Woodbury, 8268 Tamarack Village, Woodbury, Minn.

Southaven, 6535 Towne Center Crossing, Southaven, Miss.

Omaha, 201 North 78th Street, Omaha, Neb.

Papillion, 7549 Towne Centre Parkway, Papillion, Neb.

West Omaha, 17101 Davenport Street, Omaha, Neb.

Western Hills, 5555 Glenway Avenue, Cincinnati, Ohio.

Tri-County, 11747 Princeton Pike, Springdale, Ohio.

Kenwood, 8121 Montgomery Road, Cincinnati, Ohio.

Collierville, 4600 Merchants Park Circle, Collierville, Tenn.

Market at Wolfcreek, 2825 N. Germantown Parkway, Memphis, Tenn.

Tysons Corner, 2051 Chain Bridge Road, Vienna, Va.

Goody's Family Clothing

Goody's 287 stores are located in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia.

To find specific store locations, use Goody's store locator.

Great Indoors

13000 Peyton Dr, Chino Hills, Calif.

1321 E Golf Rd, Schaumburg, Ill.

479 Green St, Woodbridge, N.J.

700 S Rampart Blvd, Las Vegas, Nev.

Kmart

2700 Plainfield Rd., Joilet, Ill.

1215 N State St., Fairmont, Minn.

Route 9W, Glenmont, N.Y.

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