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I was in an antique mall on Monday and most of the booths had sales and I'm not talking 10 percent off, there were at least two booths that had 75 percent off. Numerous booths had 40-50 percent off. While I liked the sales in the booths where I found items I wanted, I was left with an overall feeling of despair. It was as if the entire mall was giving the message that times are tough.

What do you think? Are big discounted sales a good thing or a bad thing?

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Replies to This Discussion

I think the big percentage sales spell desperation also. I have a small booth...began it to get rid of stuff....and got hooked. I sometimes have a special weekend and I'll have from 25-50% for two days. I can't say that I've noticed any bigger sales during this time, though. Mostly I try to keep my prices good and stuff rotated. Like Connie, sure I love to shop the sales booths, but there does seem to be a hint of desperation.
A few of the booths I saw did have moving sale signs. But, like Marianne said it did give me the feeling of "why is it still here" when I saw something. I looked at a McCoy vase with a poodle that was $65 and half off, but I just couldn't part with $32.50 for it. If it had been a German Shepherd, that would have been different. And wouldn't you know it, not a single booth with all those sales and any Shepherd items.
I am not so sure "sale" is the message I want to project.
Possibly better to find fresh customer base (niches) and put effort into promos & edu..
Everybody loves a sale, but I do believe you can take it too far. Our booth renters sometimes have a few items that they want to clear out and price them accordingly, but never more than 20% on the whole booth. What we generally try to do is occasionally run a special sale. Recently we ran a "stimulus" sale and had very good luck with it! We made up tags that looked like play money and handed them out to our booth renters, who placed them on mostly large items that they would like to move. Memorial Day thru July 4th we passed out red stars. Anything that is eye catching.

We advertise on the Interstate 69 and get lots of travelers in. Rarely does anyone leave empty handed! We have had pretty good movement considering the times. A lot of people are buying things that they can use, like bedroom furniture and kitchen furniture, also china cupboards, bookshelves, and little bits of everything!

Connie Gast
www.markleantiques.com
Sale signs make me look harder, but I still won't buy something I don't want just because I can. And it does seem to be the rule that what I want is always in the next booth (the non-sale one).

On the other hand, I saw a really different milkglass necklace and mathing bracelet last month which was priced a little more than I wanted to spend. But I decided to treat myself anyway. When it came time to check out, I found out the dealer was having a half price sale. Sometimes, good things happen!
As a mall owner, all of our efforts go into getting more people into the store and making sure they are satisfied when they leave so that they will come back. For the most part we leave pricing and sales to the individual dealers. We do stress to the dealers to price their items with the local economy in mind. The prices in books are mostly outdated before they are even printed. Sales are a good thing for the individual dealers to help move items. Our policy on sales is they can put whatever amount off they want but there has to be an expiration date on the sign. Maximum of 2 weeks, no long term or never ending sale signs. We have started pre-printing signs and the dealers fill in their booth number, expiration date, and the amount of discount. Our signs have the reason for the sale pre-printed on them, Holiday, Inventory Reduction, etc.
As a vendor in a mall, I am constantly updating prices, bringing in new merchandise and rearranging. I do not run sales. If something is not moving, that particular item gets a new tag. All that being said, yes, sales have been off for me and my wife in the last year, but, we are just trying harder and it has paid off, for us anyway. In many of the malls we shop in and including the one we are currently in, many of the tags are so old you can't even read the prices anymore. Some of the vendors haven't been in for months and do not pick up their checks or pay their rent. For a number of years, antique malls and online sales were a way for people looking for some extra income to pick up a little easy money. As my wife and I are full time dealers, we don't have the option of discounting our merchandise and letting our sales go. We have to sell to pay our bills and we do. The professional dealers are going to do what they have to do to survive. The hobbyists and part timers, for the most part, are the one's who are lax.

That's the first thing I tell a potential new-dealer to our mall: use book/retail prices as reference but never as actual cost. I always say something akin to "this is the price a person would pay if they had one piece left to complete their collection and absolutely could not find it anywhere else." I actually, myself, do a lot of pricing based on ebay sales/completed listings as it adjusts with the economy.

I notice this is an old topic but the same thing happened with our shop before (and still) the economy's "fall." The dealers I have will typically run a sale to literally clear the shelves for "new" items to come in. Some do it with everything, some only bigger pieces. It all depends on the dealer's/owner's personal habits of buying, selling, and re-selling. We used to have a rule in the mall that only during selected months could you run a sale (this was an effort to give everyone a fair-chance as we were noticing new customers passing booths to get to the one with a sale sign). Since everything went downhill we let dealers run whatever sales they want and have made one of our three rooms into a 50/50 consignment room (where you can sell new or old). It will all be better soon, I reckon [and hope] :)

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