Beat 'going out of business' sale scam by shopping a week before

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With companies like Circuit City, Linens n' Things and Steve & Barry's in the midst of liquidating all of their stores, consumers are on the hunt for bargains.

But they're likely to be disappointed. WalletPOP blogger Carol Vinzant recently checked out a Circuit City liquidation sales and had this message for consumers: Don't even bother!

CNNMoney took a look at the way these sales work, and interviewed NPD Group retail analyst Marshal Cohen. His advice? "You'll get the absolute best prices a week before [a retailer's] liquidation sale start." Major retailers liquidating entire chains hire special companies to hold their sales, and the discounts are often set based on suggested retail prices, meaning that they may in fact be higher than the sale prices offered by the store. But in the week before liquidation experts are brought in, retailers are looking to maximize value before giving a big chunk to liquidators. That makes them a good option.

The main reason to avoid liquidation sales is that you lose the right to return items and while the sales might be good, you can probably do just as well shopping around or buying used.

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