What's the Deal with Sample Sales?

Posted on 10/11/2010

Designers and retailers use sample sales as a way to unload excess merchandise. They get rid of extra stock and you can pick up great stuff at a fraction of the retail price. Typically you can save up to 90% on everything from clothing to furniture. Whether you’ve scored deals at sample sales or always wanted to, we’ve got some tips to help you make the most of the experience.

Do a Little Research - Selection at sample sales can be limited. That’s why it’s important to research these events and be among the first on the scene when the doors open. Use sites like ApparelNews.net and DailyFrontRow.com to track upcoming sample sales.

Be Ready to Compete - The best sample sales are typically packed with other eager shoppers looking for great deals. Be ready to compete and shop quickly. Keep in mind that size selection can often be limited.

Look for Damage - Sample pieces should be new quality, but there’s a possibility of damage. Make sure to look over any items thoroughly before making a final purchasing decision.

Try Online Sample Sales - If battling crowds isn’t your thing, try online sample sale sites. There are plenty to choose from including Gilt.com, HauteLook.com, and Billion Dollar Babes.

Check with Local Stores - Ask your favorite local furniture, clothing or home decor retailers if they ever have sample sales. They might have a certain time of year when floor models need to go to make room for new designs. And if you’re a good customer they may just give you advanced notice so you’ll have the best selection.

Love It Before You Buy It - Most of the time sample sales are final sale. That means returns aren’t allowed. Make sure you love what you buy and aren’t just caught up in the rush of a good, competitive sample sale. You may find some great items, but if they don’t fit or you don’t love them you’ll just end up wasting money.

By Alison Storm

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