Ready for Black Friday? Our Retail Expert Provides Advice

Associate professor Deborah Fowler has tips on how to make the shopping season successful.

Fowler warns not to be influenced by all markdowns. She said she definitely considers any markdown of 50 percent or higher.

Fowler warns not to be influenced by all markdowns. She said she definitely considers any markdown of 50 percent or higher.

With 32 days and five weekends, the 2012 calendar has granted consumers the longest official shopping season possible. Time may allow for convenience, but a Texas Tech University retail expert suggests shoppers may have other priorities in this struggling economy.

Deborah Fowler, associate professor of retail management in the College of Human Sciences, knows the ins and outs of marketing trends and shares a few tricks of the trade.


"Something many shoppers have problems with is overspending on credit cards. The first problem is the extra fees. And second, you can charge and charge - and not really realize how much you're spending. Instead, take out the amount of money you want to spend and put it in your wallet. When it's gone, it's gone."

Coupons, Sales and Markdowns

"I am a coupon shopper. I have a rule that when I get a 30-percent-off coupon, I head to the store."

"Being in retailing, I know what the markup is on clothes. And I realize that if they put out a coupon, they have usually marked it up to offset the savings, but it still makes me feel good."

"Even though I logically know I'm not getting a huge deal, I love coupons."

"A 15-percent markdown will not get me in a store. I will consider 25 percent, and definitely 50 or 75 percent. That's the only way to buy."

Shop Off-Season

"Right now, I'm seeing great ads for wonderful garments, but I'm not buying them now. I'm waiting until they take a pretty good markdown."

"The day after Christmas, we are buying Christmas gifts for the next year. I always shop off-season."

Discount vs. Designer

"A few years ago, I did a study comparing clothing from discount department stores and designer brand. We looked at the garments, washed them, we looked at all the construction, and a lot of times the discounters came out ahead, especially in the price. They cost a half or a third of the others."

"Look at the discounters, but shop them carefully though. Look at the clothing carefully, turn them inside out, look at the seams, look at the quality of construction, look at the details and maybe you can save a little money there."

Resale Shops

"Lubbock is blessed with resale shops. Many people travel to Lubbock to take advantage of them, as everyone should."

"People are always discarding clothes, so it is a real opportunity to pick up real deals for children and adults."

"Also, consider swapping out with others. In my family, as we gain or lose weight, we trade clothes, especially when the clothes are in great shape. It's like having a whole new closet."

Take care of what you have

"The key to saving money on apparel is buying things that are well made, and regardless of how much you've spent – take good care of it."

"This is where people really foul up. They don't take care of what they have. I keep my clothes washed, mended and pressed, and hung in closets with cedar to prevent moths."

Shopping Trends

"Something I think everyone needs to think about when buying clothes, especially career women, you want basics. You can wear them year in and year out."

"As long as you buy classic, you can trend it up a bit with jewelry or sweaters, and you're good to go. But if you're always buying trends, it's not good."

"I received many compliments on a dress I wore recently, and I had to laugh because I thought to myself – it's 12 years old."

College of Human Sciences

The College of Human Sciences at Texas Tech University provides multidisciplinary education, research and service focused on individuals, families and their environments for the purpose of improving and enhancing the human condition.

The college offers degrees in:

The college also offers graduate programs leading to the Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy degrees.

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