Ever wonder why retailers always have sales? (Now you know)

All my life, I have known a dirty little secret about retail sales. The secret is this: (most) sales are phony…

Retailers raise the regular-selling price, then put the same items “on sale.”

It blows my mind that so many smart people fall for this stupid marketing scheme.

And now, this NBC News article confirms the worst-kept-retail-marketing secret:

Researchers tracked the prices of six to 10 big ticket items at seven national chains – Best Buy, Costco, Home Depot, Kohl’s, Macy’s, Sears and Target for 44 weeks starting in June 2014. Most of the price checks were done online, but spot checks of in-store prices were also conducted to make sure they matched those offered online. (Read the full report Sale Fail, including survey results for each store.)

Some of the stores did run valid sales – limited-time price reductions on the selected merchandise. But Brasler said Sears, Kohl’s and Macy’s offered what he called “fake” sale prices.

Here are their key findings:

Sears displays the most “on-sale” schemes. Out of every 9 items tracked, 8 has been almost always on sale.

Kohl’s had 8 of the 9 items checked on sale more than 50% of the time.

Macy’s had one item almost always on sale and four that were on sale 70% (or more) of the time.

Do these findings surprise anyone?