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Friday, July 31, 2009

Recession Fallout: Secret Sales

High-End Retailers Offering More Discounts, but Discreetly -
Scott Stuart was at the Bloomingdale’s store in Manhattan when a salesman sidled up to him, said a private sale was under way and offered him a discount on the slacks he was inspecting.

That was last autumn, and in the months since, he has been inundated with similar discount offers. If a salesman does not make one, he has learned to ask.

“In another market, I would have found it very inappropriate” to ask for a discount, said Mr. Stuart, a bankruptcy lawyer who works in New York and Chicago. “In this market, I’m finding it incredibly appropriate.”

Mr. Stuart is among the many consumers in this economy to reap the benefits of secret sales — whispered discounts and discreet price negotiations between customers and sales staff in the aisles of upscale chains. A time-worn strategy typically reserved for a store’s best customers, it has become more democratized as the recession drags on and retailers struggle to turn browsers into buyers.
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