HOUSTON-If you are in the market for new appliances, you should check out the "scratch-and-dent" store in southeast Houston.

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June 9, 2009

The store is owned by Sears, which brands it as an outlet store. They have fridges for 50 percent off and big, flat-screen TVs for 55 percent off. We saw a GE Profile Washer for $806. The normal price is $1,240. We saw a Kitchen Aid Dishwasher for $438. The regular price is $1,250. We also saw a GE Monogram fridge for $1,999; regular price is $4,000. A 46-inch Sharp LCD flat-screen 1080p HD TV was marked $1,540; regular price was $2,800. A 32-inch Vizio LCD HD set was selling for $503, but normally it sells for $630.

A company official said some of the merchandise is new in the box, but much of it is used, just not the way you're probably thinking.

"Whether that be it got to a customer's home and maybe it was the wrong size, wrong color, maybe the wrong fuel type, perhaps it was damaged in some way when it was delivered. In that case it comes back to us," said Chuck Emery, Sears National Merchandising Manager.

If any appliance is ever taken out of the box for any reason, it is considered used and sold at a discount at the Sears Outlet Store, where it is marked down at least 20 percent and perhaps as much as 80 percent. The products do come with warranties, and all are tested out before they're sold.

Merchandise that is new and in the box comes from manufacturers Sears has negotiated with in order to get rid of their overstock or obsolete models.

Emery said business is up in these tough economic times. The Sears Outlet store also sells Craftsman Tools, but they fly off the shelf whenever some come in, said Emery. Appliances that stay on the sales floor more than 30 days are marked down further, he said.

New merchandise now being sold at the outlet store includes mattresses and push lawn mowers. In addition, Sears Outlet Store sells treadmills, a few dining chairs, air hockey tables-one was marked down to $100-and a few household items, like hand mixers. The store is located at 5901 Griggs. There are a few other mom-and-pop scratch-and-dent appliance stores in the Houston area, but the Sears outlet is the major one in Houston.

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