How to Close a Retail Store

Want to know how to close a retail store? Maybe a business isn't working out, or maybe you're hoping to make some cash by closing a store and moving on to a better venture. Regardless of your reasons, make sure you follow the right procedures to close your store and maximize your return.

Make sure you're covered from a legal sense.
In some circumstances, you'll need to make sure you're legally permitted to close a store. Franchises, for example, must satisfy certain legal requirements, or you may be obligated to continue paying for a lease on a store that has closed months ago. Examine all contracts you've signed relative to your store, and make sure you're covered from a legal sense. If you're not sure, consult a lawyer, or hire a consultant who specializes in closing a business. The legal repercussions can be bleak, so it's vital to proceed properly instead of closing first and dealing with the legal questions later.

Know your financial liabilities.
You don't want to close a business and owe your creditors money, so make sure you know your financial liabilities before you close. Find out exactly what you owe to whom, so you know what you need to make in order to close your store in the black. If your existing inventory isn't enough to cover your financial liabilities, consider a consultant to advise you on the best way to proceed. You may also want to contact your creditors to negotiate a partial payment if closing the business won't pay them off completely.

Schedule an inventory liquidation sale.
You don't want to close a retail store with inventory still on the shelves, as you're liable for that inventory, and keeping it around is a waste of money. Schedule a closing sale to liquidate your inventory. Make sure you've got a full, attractive inventory; old or out-of-date inventory sells poorly, so you might have to spend money to make money. You'll need to cut prices, but don't cut prices too low too early, or you won't have any room to cut them further.

Advertise the heck out of your reatil store closing.
An inventory liquidation sale is useless if people don't know about it. Advertise, advertise, advertise to make sure people know about your sale. Put signs on the street. Buy television time if you can afford it and your inventory is warranted. Add news about the liquidation sale to your Web site. E-mail your customer list. Utilize any existing advertising channels to notify customers, and get the word out about your closing sale.

Consider your equipment.
If you're closing a business and don't intend to re-use the equipment, don't forget to sell it. You might be able to sell shelving or displays at a liquidation sale, or you may need to contact a company that deals in store equipment. If you know of another store that's opening, you may be able to sell your equipment to the new store and get a decent deal. Otherwise, plan to sell your equipment to the highest bidder, and realize that you'll likely take a loss on selling it.

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