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What to expect from Sports Authority liquidation sales

After hinting at possible closures early this month (and starting the process of closing 140 underperforming locations nationwide) the Colorado-based sporting goods retailer Sports Authority is officially going out of business .

The company announced this week that the winning bid for the company assets were liquidators who plan to sell the company’s merchandise in going out of business sales.

Liquidation sales at more than 400 Sports Authority stores -- including 10 locations in metro Atlanta -- are expected to begin as early as Wednesday, May 25 just in time for Memorial Day Weekend shopping and possibly run beyond August 31 -- well into back-to-school shopping season.

This could be good news for shoppers, but anyone looking for a deal should exercise caution.

Anytime a for-profit liquidator is handling a GOB sale, the deals aren't likely to be as great as if the sale were being managed by the retailer. Liquidators are companies that are well-versed in maximizing profits.

Sports Authority stores that were already scheduled to close have been offering merchandise at 30-50 percent off. The retailer sells a range of sporting goods including sports and exercise equipment, apparel, fan gear, accessories and games.

Popular brands include Adidas, Columbia, the North Face and Under Armour, one of Sports Authority's big trade creditors. Sports Authority owes Under Armour about $23 million according to Marketwatch. Naturally, these companies want as much as they can get of what they are owed so they don't have to adjust their own earnings.

So if you are looking to buy apparel or small sporting equipment, do some comparison shopping and make sure that percent-off deal is really the best deal out there.

Items purchased during a liquidation sale are generally final sale, no return. So be sure to check the item out before you leave the store.

Read this cautionary tale from one Atlantan who had trouble during the GOB sale at Macy's in North DeKalb Mall .

If you are planning to buy anything electronic or something with lots of parts -- open the box, try it out in the store, do whatever you can to make sure what you are buying actually works, because you may not be able to take it back.

A manufacturer warranty may cover manufacturer defects for items purchased during a liquidation -- but it is not likely to cover damage that may have happened in-store. Shop with a credit card as extra insurance. You may be able to dispute a charge for any defective merchandise and get your money back.

If you are wondering where you will shop for sporting goods moving forward, Dick's Sporting Goods has said it plans to purchase about 20 Sports Authority locations. It isn't clear if any of these locations are in the Atlanta area.

Already, Dick's has begun an advertising campaign offering Sports Authority loyalty shoppers $20 to sign up for the loyalty program at Dick's, reports the Denver Post .

Here are the 10 metro area locations for Sports Authority:

Fulton County:

7461 N Point Pkwy, Mansell Crossing, Alpharetta

3221 Peachtree Rd NE, southwest of Lenox Square Mall, Atlanta

Cobb County:

2963 Cobb Pkwy, Akers Mill Square

850 Cobb Place Blvd NW, Cobb Place, Kennesaw

Gwinnett County: 

1705 Mall of Georgia Blvd, Buford

3450 Steve Reynolds Blvd, Ste 200, Duluth

DeKalb County: 

3200 Northlake Pkwy NE, North Lake Mall, Atlanta

1155 Mount Vernon Hwy, Ste 500, Atlanta

Paulding County: 

4471 Jimmy Lee Smith Pkwy, Ste B, Hiram

Rockdale County:

2209 Highway 20 SE, Conyers Crossing, Conyers


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About the Author

Nedra Rhone has been a features reporter with the AJC for 10 years. She’s written about everything from fashion to food to news.