JCPenney, Tuesday Morning, Pier 1 going-out-of-business liquidation sales different because of COVID-19

JCPenney, Tuesday Morning, Pier 1 going-out-of-business liquidation sales different because of COVID-19

Pier 1 Imports’ going-out-of-business liquidation sale is underway, and closing sales are likely to begin as early as next week at the 242 J.C. Penney stores that will permanently close in bankruptcy.

How these sales will be handled is different from past liquidations because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Safety is top of mind for most consumers today,” Naveen Jaggi, president of retail advisory services at brokerage firm JLL, told USA TODAY. “The idea of being in a tight location with lots of people and touching items in a store will likely deter some shoppers, which will affect the speed in which liquidation will occur.”

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Usually, at the start of a liquidation sale, there is a rush of shoppers looking to be the first to get the best merchandise, Jaggi said, then the rush tapers off as items are picked over.

“That big rush to go into a store where everyone is touching everything likely won’t occur, which will extend the liquidation period,” he said.

Fewer shoppers will be allowed into stores because of coronavirus social distancing guidelines.

J.C. Penney liquidation sales:Closing sales to begin soon at 242 permanent store closures planned in bankruptcy

Coronavirus store closings:Pier 1 Imports to permanently shutter all stores in bankruptcy, liquidation underway

Pier 1, which started its liquidation May 22 online and at stores that reopened after being shuttered because of the virus, said it "will limit shopping to 25 customers at a time."

Originally, the home goods retailer planned to close up to 450 stores, or nearly half of its locations. Because of the impact of COVID-19, it's closing the rest of its remaining 541 U.S. stores.

Pier 1 said it intends for its website,, to be available through July, and at the start of the liquidation, the discounts are the same in stores and online.

“We are unable to predict exactly how long the closing process will last due to a variety of factors, but anticipate store closing sales to end in 16 weeks,” Pier 1 said in its frequently asked questions. “If you want the best selection, shop as soon as possible.”

Pier 1 gift cards, merchandise credits and rewards certificates will be accepted for 21 days as of May 29 when a bankruptcy judge approved the company's wind-down plan. This would be June 19, but Pier 1's website said dates may vary by store.

Pier 1 plans to take returns of merchandise purchased before its liquidation sale for 30 days after each store reopens.

J.C. Penney lawyers said they expect to identify the locations that will be permanently shuttered in a court filing June 4. Bankruptcy Judge David Jones is to hold a hearing about the proposed closures June 11.

If Jones signs off, liquidation sales at the permanently closing stores that have reopened after temporary closures would begin immediately, J.C. Penney attorney Joshua Sussberg said.

Pier 1 and J.C. Penney are operating with reduced hours at the stores that have reopened. Pier 1 said its hours can vary but are generally noon to 7 p.m. daily. J.C. Penney's hours are noon to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.

Store closings 2020 due to COVID-19

These retailers are permanently closing stores.

Bath & Body Works: 50 stores

J.C. Penney: 242 locations

Nordstrom: 16 stores, three boutiques (See the list here.)

Pier 1: All locations, 541 remaining stores

Tuesday Morning: 230 stores (See the list of first 132 closing locations here.)

Victoria's Secret: 235 U.S. Victoria’s Secret and three Pink stores

Tips for shopping liquidation sales

Here’s how to make sure you’re getting the best deal at liquidation sales:

Be prepared: Prices at liquidation sales are not always the lowest you can find, especially at the beginning.

Compare prices: Do a Google search or use a price comparison website. Search the web for old store circulars to see the advertised sales prices from previous sales.

Check the product thoroughly: Open the box, look for damage and make sure all parts, accessories, instructions, warranty information and other items are included.

Use a credit card: If you experience any problems, this will give you a way to contest the charge.

Get rid of gift cards: If you have a gift card for Pier 1 or another financially strapped retailer, use the cards as quickly as possible.

Warranties: Check warranty details and find out where repairs can be made. Closing stores typically continue to sell extended warranties.

Go often: If you have your heart set on an item, swing by the store weekly. Tag team with a friend and share your lists with each other.

Important: Once liquidation sales begin, all sales are final. If you end up buying something you don’t want, try recouping your money by selling it.

Shopping reinvented:America's stores, malls reopen with masks, curbside pickup and closed fitting rooms

Contributing: Nathan Bomey

Follow USA TODAY reporter Kelly Tyko on Twitter: @KellyTyko


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