We all enjoy a good bargain. There’s no getting around the fact that if we find something for considerably less than we would normally find it we’ll often part with our cash for something we didn’t even intend to buy. But although plenty of people will be out in the January sales looking for some bargains from some of the top retailers, it will certainly pay to seek out the smaller shop and perhaps wait a little too.

Although the start of the year might be considered the perfect time to find that reduced price TV or the heavily discounted designer watch you’ve been tempted by every time you passed that window over the last six months, it might pay to wait for just a few more weeks rather than rush out to join the throngs of people crowding the streets.

It is expected that retail sales this Christmas are considerably down. No doubt you’ve seen many prices being slashed early already, and this is a good indication of how desperate the struggling retail sector has been to get the footfalls clicking and the registers slamming. But although you might find some big names dropping those price tags to ridiculous levels to try to make a decent profit over the holidays, it’s also expected that the smaller retailers will be struggling far more, and rent will be due any day now.

Most retailers pay their rent in advance, on a quarterly basis. At the end of December those small businesses will be required to pay upfront for the following three month period. And although it’s not a pleasant situation, many of those smaller names are expected to vanish from our high streets as they fail to make their payment. While the larger stores may be struggling, they are more likely to be backed by a bank and manage to scrape through by the skin of their teeth, but the smaller retailer with high costs is unlikely to manage.

While it’s certainly a sad prospect, it does mean that you can find some true bargains as those smaller retailers are pressured to clear their stock and shut their doors. It also means that you might be assisting a small retailer to wind down without loosing too much. Instead of limiting their profit margin to 20% like a larger retailer offering a sale might, these smaller retailers will be going far lower in order to avoid waste and expensive storage charges.

In order to help you to find a little more for your money with the expectation that many retailers might find themselves homeless at the start of 2012, I have a few tips that you can follow…

1. Always search on-line. Many small retailers operate websites, and although many of them could carry on as a trader on the internet after closing their physical stores, most hold stock in those stores themselves. They’ll likely be closing their site too, and offering the same sales on the internet.
2. If you have a product in mind that you want to find for less, ask around or search the local listings for retailers dealing in that product. There are thousands of small retailers who have managed to get by against the larger stores because they already offer lower prices, and now that their rent will be due, those prices will be dropped even lower.
3. Keep an eye on the news in your area. When a well known local business finds itself in difficulties it is often reported.
4. Don’t be afraid to try to get a lower price. Although a product might be on sale, they will probably still be making a profit on that item. While they might have gone as low as they possibly can, you don’t know that until you ask.
5. Don’t feel guilty. Most people are in the same position.

We can’t all afford to waste money and the retailers know this too. If a shop is closing down, they don’t want to be spending money they don’t have on storage for the stock they can’t sell. You want a bargain item, and they need to sell it – both parties know that this is not the fault of either of you.
It is never nice to see small businesses failing, but there is an opportunity here for you to get something at almost wholesale price. The small retailer doesn’t want to be left with thousands of items of unsold stock, and you need a bargain. When needs align, it makes sense for both parties to take the opportunity.