Patch Asks: Sneaky or Smart Business Practice?

An area retailer reportedly marks up prices before they go on sale.


Next time a retail store advertises a big sale, check the price tag to see if it's really a deal.

Kohl's stores in Maryland and Virginia are marking up prices before they go on sale, according to WJLA—the DC affiliate of ABC.

The price of a Vera Wang sheet set originally marked $89.99 is now $149.99 before it goes on sale for 60 percent off, the TV station reported.

Kohl's responded to the report saying that changes to the original prices were made infrequently and that their prices are determined by the company's merchandise buyers.

"Kohl's does not raise “regular” or “original” prices on a short term basis just for purposes of offering deeper discounts during a future sales event," Kohl's wrote in its  response to ABC7. 

Read Kohl's full response and the full story on ABC7's website.

If true, is this a sneaky or smart business practice?

Cindy Bryl June 26, 2012 at 12:13 PM
Between coupons, kohl's card deals, and 'sales', anyone who buys anything for full price at Kohl's is just not paying attention or is desperate for the item in which case sale prices don't matter.
Kat June 26, 2012 at 12:37 PM
I think every retailer practices this deceptive activity. It is always buyer beware!!!
Lezlie Crosswhite June 26, 2012 at 02:05 PM
Stores have been doing that for decades. Maybe centuries. Most consumers don't do enough research prior to buying items, and are roped in by the "it's on sale" mentality.
kathy lapinski June 26, 2012 at 03:06 PM
People like to "think" they are getting a deal, even if they really aren't -- that is why JC Penney's "fair and square" model isn't working (personally, I like it!). The new CEO that came up with that has apparently resigned.
kathy lapinski June 26, 2012 at 03:06 PM
I've been to Kohl's 2 days in a row, and have seen an item $10 more expensive the next day. I love Kohl's, but buyer beware!
Lezlie Crosswhite June 26, 2012 at 03:56 PM
I was thinking about the Penney's thing as well. If I needed anything, I'd definitely go to Penney's first -- I like to support something so logical. But we're all so used to waiting for sale and then assuming it's a good deal. Like someone famous said, "There's a sucker born every minute!"
Lezlie Crosswhite June 26, 2012 at 03:58 PM
I worked retail all through college. It was common practice to raise prices a couple days before a sale. We were told to mention to people that it was going on sale in a few days. The sales price would be the original price we had just changed.
Jenni Pompi (Editor) June 26, 2012 at 04:09 PM
I think you are right, Kathy, people like to think they are getting a deal. I worked at Wal-Mart in high school, and I remember they used to do this "Rolling back the prices" thing (maybe they still do?) and the "roll back" would be for something ridiculous like 3 cents, but customers went crazy for it.
Dan & laurie June 26, 2012 at 07:01 PM
Grocery store BOGO? Riiiiite.
Mrs. G J Moore June 27, 2012 at 11:22 AM
This is nothing new and you will find this most everywhere you shop. Kohl's are really big at this because they have so many "sales". It turns me off when I get my receipt showing how much I saved. I did not save that much because I woulld never have paid the "original" price.
Lezlie Crosswhite June 27, 2012 at 02:57 PM
I keep a notebook in my purse with grocery store prices in it. So when I shop, I can check to see if that BOGO is a good deal. Most of the time, BOGOs are good. But obviously you only save money if it is something you are going to use.
Susan Kim June 27, 2012 at 05:40 PM
Bed Bath & Beyond loves to send out those 20% off coupons but when things are marked up way more than that, you're not saving a damn thing. Into the recycling bin they go.
Theresa Defino June 27, 2012 at 06:10 PM
What do you mean "marked up way more than that?" Wouldn't it be impossible for a store to mark up everything, which is what the coupons is used for? When was BBB accused of marking up items prior to a sale (and in your case, you are saying prior to the use of a coupon)?
Derek Hale June 27, 2012 at 07:30 PM
But.........if something IS on sale at Bed Bath and Beyond, they take even expired coupons. I know. I just made a purchase of several items and used a coupon for every one of them (11 coupons total, I think 10 of them expired). Be a smart shopper though, some of the coupons are $5 off and most are 20% off so watch which one might be a better deal for you depending on what you are buying.
Theresa Defino June 28, 2012 at 12:44 AM
Derek, those coupons are great. I just didn't want to see BBB smeared...and I have no financial interest in the company. Just a shopper. The point is if stores engage in deceptive practices they should face enforcement actions, not just cynicism from consumers who expect to be ripped off and don't care about accountability. Wal-Mart is the worst (in like 1,000 ways).


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