March 16, 2009

Haggling rising in U.S. retail culture

The sticker price, viewed as a suggested starting point in U.S. automobile showrooms, has become more of just that in retail stores, retail researchers said.

Haggling is now a part of a lot more retailers, said Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst at The NPD Group, USA Today reported Monday. Particularly when the merchandise is more than a few weeks old, shoppers can talk priced down.

Many are willing to engage in an additional 10 percent to 15 percent off, Cohen said.

Irma Zandl, president of market research firm Zandl Group, said aside from a recession, online auction houses are prompting a trend toward haggling.

People are more tuned to getting the best price; eBay helped condition people, Zandl told USA Today. That is part of the mentality, sort of that auction mentality.

Nordstrom, like many retailers, insist that they are not in the practice of price negotiating, spokeswoman Pamela Perret said.

But, sometimes its shopper habits that are holding customers back.

ShopSmart said 40 percent of the respondents in a survey indicated they never negotiated prices in a store for fear of looking foolish, the newspaper said.