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ShopSmart Uncovers the Best Sale & Clearance Sections Online

ShopSmart MagazineYonkers, NY – There’s always a sale to be found when you shop online, but knowing where to look can be tricky. The May 2012 issue of ShopSmart magazine, from the publisher of Consumer Reports, is the annual Bargain Issue, with everything shoppers need to know about where to find the best deals.

It features a list of great discount websites, plus the best sale and clearance sections from major retailers and other sellers.  It also features a deal decoder to help you understand retailer terminology and lists five essential steps to that can help you save.

“Let’s face it, we’re all addicted to the thrill of a bargain hunt,” said Lisa Lee Freeman, editor-in-chief of ShopSmart. “But where do you start?  So for our second annual bargain issue, we wanted to let you in on all the secrets for scoring the best stuff at the best prices and share we think are some of the best sale and clearance sections online”

Great discount and super sale sites

ShopSmart scanned dozens of retailers and found steep price cuts on all kinds of stuff every day.  Here’s a sample of what we uncovered:

BestBuy.com’s outlet
Best for: Discontinued and refurbished electronics and appliances.

CookwareNMore.com
Best for: Imperfect All-Clad cookware.

CrateAndBarrel.com/Outlet
Best for: Discontinued, past season, and outlet-specific furniture, home décor, and tabletop.

LandsEnd.com’s overstocks (click on “overstocks”)
Best for: Overstock, discontinued, and imperfect apparel, accessories, and home items.

BathAndBodyWorks.com
Must-see sales: Save up to 75 percent when you stock up during one of the site’s huge Hello, Yellow Sales. Savings secret: Click “Discontinued Fragrances” at the bottom of the page for savings on your favorite old-school scents for up to 70 percent off.

Deal Decoder

Though the exact terminology is not standard across all retailers, the name of a section can tell you a lot about what you will find there.  Here are some examples:

  • Sale sections are where you’ll find items that are temporarily reduced in price for a particular promotion. Sale items are usually popular, in-season products. Shop quickly, before the items return to the regular price.
  • Outlet sections usually hold items that have been on clearance for a while. Some outlet sections also carry returned, refurbished, and slightly defective or damaged items.
  • Clearance sections usually contain overstock – products that didn’t sell out during the previous selling season. It’s also the place to find discontinued merchandise.

Five Essential Steps to Saving

  1. Check a few price-comparison sites. Sites such as Bing.com/shopping, Bizrate.com, and Pricegrabber.com list prices on whatever products you need to buy. It’s a good place to start your shopping, even if you’re not buying online.
  2. Grab a coupon. Go to Coupons.com or Retailmenot.com to see whether a savings code or printable coupon comes up.
  3. Look for free shipping. Before you buy anything, check shipping and return policies. You can find sites that offer free shipping at FreeShipping.org.
  4. Vet the Site. Look for a mailing address as well as a phone number, or email address so that you can easily contact the company if something goes wrong with your transaction; find the privacy policy to see if you can opt out of having your info shared; and go to bbb.org for the site’s status with the Better Business Bureau.
  5. Try to negotiate. Yes, you might be able to do that online. Call the customer-service number or do it via e-mail or live chat.

About Consumer Reports

Consumer Reports is the world’s largest independent product-testing organization. Using its more than 50 labs, auto test center, and survey research center, the nonprofit rates thousands of products and services annually. Founded in 1936, Consumer Reports has over 8 million subscribers to its magazine, website, and other publications. Its advocacy division, Consumers Union, works for health reform, food and product safety, financial reform, and other consumer issues in Washington, D.C., the states, and in the marketplace.

About ShopSmart Magazine

Launched in Fall 2006 by Consumer Reports, ShopSmart draws upon the publication’s celebrated tradition of accepting no advertisements and providing unbiased product reviews. ShopSmart features product reviews, shopping tips on how to get the most out of products and “best of the best” lists. It’s ideal for busy shoppers who place a premium on time. ShopSmart has a newsstand price of $4.99 and is available nationwide at major retailers including Barnes & Noble, Wal-Mart, Borders, Kroger, Safeway and Publix. ShopSmart is available by subscription at www.ShopSmartmag.org.

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