Gottschalks Sale Prices Improve, Selection Disappears

May 27, 2009 7:11:38 PM PDT
Gottschalks has been "going out of business" for almost eight weeks now and since Action News has been checking prices, this is the first time we can report that everything we're tracking is cheaper than it was before liquidators took over.But even with lower prices, there are still some warnings for shoppers. The shutters will be coming down for good before long at Gottschalks, but right now, what's coming down are prices -- drawing comparisons with those at less glamorous retailers.

"Right now, it's about even," said shopper Deborah Gonzales. "It's about the same price probably as Wal-Mart or K-Mart."

Action News has tracked five items during the liquidation. One of them is now sold out, while the others finally look like good deals. A Strada handbag that was $39 at Gottschalks went up to $52 when liquidators took over, but now it's down to $26. A sofa table went from $199, up to $240, but it sold Wednesday for $143. A Presto griddle that was originally priced at $32.99 went up to $40.49, and it's down to $17.99. And Levi's 501 jeans that climbed from $36 dollars to $38.40 when the liquidators took over are now selling for $19.20 -- if you can find any in your size.

As the sales get better, the shelves are getting emptied and the selection is getting worse. Some customers also complain that they're seeing stuff from other, lower quality stores disguised as Gottschalk's merchandise.

"If they did the liquidation for Mervyn's, you're going to see Mervyn's products there," said Doug Broten of the Better Business Bureau of Central California. "And if they don't sell all the Gottschalks product with this liquidation sale, the Gottschalks stuff will show up 6 weeks from now at another store."

The BBB also warns that all sales are final now, so you can't return something if you realize the deal wasn't as good as you thought.

We talked to the liquidators Wednesday and they say everything's going very well for them. They say they haven't set a date to close stores, but a manager at the Manchester Mall says this store is closing on June 27.

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