Gottschalks Liquidation Sale Prices Rising

April 3, 2009 8:27:18 PM PDT
Liquidators took over all of Gottschalks stores Thursday and Friday, shoppers are seeing the first price changes. Action News talked to the Better Business Bureau Thursday and they warned shoppers that prices could be on the way up.Friday, that warning is ringing true. The signs say the entire store is on sale and shoppers can't help but see the sales signs as they walk into Gottschalks, but the sales may not be all they're cracked up to be.

Action News checked prices on five items Thursday, then checked them again Friday, after liquidators took control of the prices. They all went up. A Strada handbag was $39 Thursday, $52 Friday. A Studio I suit went up from $65.40 to $87.20. Gottschalks was asking $299 for a sofa table. The liquidators are asking for $360. A Presto griddle went up from $32.99 to $40.49. And Levi's 501 jeans went up more than two dollars in one day, from $36 to $38.40.

"The thing that's a little bit unfair with that is you picked five items out of 50,000 items that they carry, so if you go in there today, there's 50,000 items that are reduced in price," said Scortt Carpenter of the Great American Group.

They are liquidating Gottschalks, just like they did with Circuit City and Mervyn's. Carpenter denies marking up prices at the beginning of liquidations, claiming prices are just higher on items Gottschalks had on sale. "We take all those temporary discounts away so it doesn't confuse customers and then we start discounting off the regular price," he said.

The Better Business Bureau says customers often complain about higher prices at liquidation sales. But they say while it may be misleading, it's totally legal. "People need to realize that they're no longer dealing with the store that was there before," said Doug Broten of the BBB. "In this case, we're talking about Gottschalks. Gottschalks is no longer. You're dealing with another brand new company that took over the store yesterday."

Liquidators paid more than $100 million for all of Gottschalks inventory. Whatever profit they make does not go to Gottschalks' creditors. It goes to the liquidators.

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