Can You Shop a Store Closing Sale Online?

The opportunity comes around sometimes, but don't expect it if your favorite retailer is going out of business.
Store closing signs are shown on windows.

NOTE: The information below is from 2020, but store shutdowns can happen at any time. See our tips for shopping a store closing sale, so you can navigate these events like a pro.

The so-called "retail apocalypse" has been going on since around 2010, and it doesn't seem like it'll slow down anytime soon. While some stores have closed only to return in another form — like Toys"R"Us — others are just gone for good.

As stores shut down, retailers hold store closing sales to clean the shelves and try to earn enough to pay off some debt. But can you shop online when stores are going out of business or shuttering some locations? Read on to find out.

Can You Shop a Store Closing Sale Online?

The short answer is yes. Pier 1's Going Out of Business Sale, for example, is currently happening in-store and online. Also consider American Apparel. In 2017, the retailer announced it would close all stores after filing for bankruptcy. During the process, it put its closing sale online. But issues can arise depending on the type of store closing.

Pier 1's Going Out of Business Sale is happening both in-store and online.

For instance, with American Apparel, all the physical stores closed, but the retailer remains in business online. And that digital existence (or lack thereof) could determine whether or not you can shop these sales via retailer websites. If stores are closing completely — meaning both physical and online platforms will no longer be in business — then the odds are higher you won't be able to shop them online. In these cases, stores sell every ounce of merchandise, as well as shelves, displays — basically anything not nailed down. Sometimes sales even include those store fixtures, too!

What Stores Are Closing in 2020?

According to Business Insider, more than 3,600 stores are expected to close this year. Below we've included the most notable ones, plus the number of stores expected to shutter.

Store Number of Locations Closing
Pier 1 450
GameStop 320
Victoria's Secret 238
Gap 230
Walgreens 200
JCPenney 192
Forever 21 178
Macy's 125
Sears 51
Earth Fare 50
Bath & Body Works 50
Kmart 45
Bed Bath & Beyond 44
Express 31
Neiman Marcus Last Call 20
Nordstrom 19

How to Shop a Store Closing Sale Online

First, determine if the store closing sale is even available online. If a chain is just closing a few underperforming stores, then odds are you won't be able to shop those deep discounts online. In fact, the discounts might not be that good in the long run, especially if a retailer can send unsold merchandise to other locations.

SEE ALSO: What Happens When a Store Closes?

However, if a store is hosting its closing sale online, be prepared to buy early. While discounts can deepen as time goes on, the selection typically thins out. If you see an item you know you want, it's best to snag it early at whatever discount the store is offering. This is especially true for categories like clothing, where popular sizes and designs sell out long before the merchandise reaches that 80% off discount.

The biggest thing to remember is that store closing also translates to final sale. So if you have any doubts at all before making a purchase, it might be better to just skip it altogether.

Readers, would you shop a store closing sale online? Or would you prefer to see the merchandise in person before buying? Let us know in the comments below.

Julie Ramhold
Senior Staff Writer/Consumer Analyst

Julie's work has been featured on CNBC, GoBankingRates, Kiplinger, Marketwatch, Money, The New York Times, Real Simple, US News, WaPo, WSJ, Yahoo!, and more. She's extolled the virtues of DealNews in interviews with Cheddar TV, GMA, various podcasts, and affiliates across the United States, plus one in Canada.
DealNews may be compensated by companies mentioned in this article. Please note that, although prices sometimes fluctuate or expire unexpectedly, all products and deals mentioned in this feature were available at the lowest total price we could find at the time of publication (unless otherwise specified).


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