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Fallout: The Financial Crisis

How retailers plan to lure shoppers

Marketplace Staff May 22, 2009
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Fallout: The Financial Crisis

How retailers plan to lure shoppers

Marketplace Staff May 22, 2009
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TEXT OF STORY

KAI RYSSDAL: Discount shoppers will get another chance to save money this weekend. Memorial Day typically brings some of the best sales of the year. But retailers are practically giving things away already, hoping against hope that price cuts will get shoppers into their stores. So when 70 percent off is the new normal, what’s a merchant to do? We sent Joel Rose to find out.


Joel Rose: The sales pitches sound familiar.

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But this year, retailers aren’t relying on discounts alone to get shoppers into stores.

Patricia Edwards: The price still has to be low, but they are having to go beyond that.

Patricia Edwards is a retail analyst with Storehouse Partners. She says retailers need clever ways to lure shoppers back. And they don’t have to slash prices across the board, because they’ve deliberately kept inventories low.

Edwards: So there’ll be planned promotions. But we’re not going to see the huge 70 percent off sales, because most retailers don’t have that much to clear.

For example, Old Navy will be selling flip-flops for a dollar a pair on Saturday. Gap, Inc. spokesperson Louise Callagy says it’s an ideal way to get the target customer — young moms — into the store.

Louise Callagy: Our mom can come in and buy them for everybody in her family. But at the same, she will get to see all the great deals that we have in our other clothing she would buy for herself and her family.

One car dealer in Colorado is going to even greater lengths to bring in customers. Weld County Garage will refund the full price of any car purchased this week — if it happens to rain on Memorial Day. Warren Yoder is the general manager.

Warren Yoder: As much as I want it to be nice and warm, I would just assume, at some point in the day, we get a big old downpour.

Yoder may get his wish. The forecast calls for scattered thunderstorms and a 50 percent chance of rain.

I’m Joel Rose for Marketplace.

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