When is a Sale Not a Sale?
Why many online and chain intimates retailers would rather call something a "Sale" instead of what it actually is: "Clearance".

We make it a point to never ever disparage other lingerie retailers for simply existing in the marketplace. What we absolutely *will* do if the occasion arises, however, is call out specific instances of companies pushing body shame to sell a product or using false, deceptive, or misleading claims in their marketing.

An extremely widespread and common example of the latter is online intimates vendors offering ~SALES~, which savvy shoppers will notice invariably promise savings “up to” a certain percent, typically between 30 and 70%. My social media feeds are plastered with these ads as we speak. Here’s the thing, though…
What’s on sale is their clearance items. ONLY their clearance items. 99% of these online sales are just clearance packaged as a sale because it sounds more enticing to shoppers. The basic, continuously-produced colors of these bras, panties, and other articles- as well as this season’s limited edition “fashion” offerings- are never discounted. Why? For one thing, these companies are literally not allowed to mark down those items in most cases, unless they want the lingerie brands who make the products to stop selling to them.

In the lingerie industry, the vast majority of brands have established MAP (Minimum Advertised Price) policies that all of their retailers, online or brick-and-mortar, are required to follow. A brand sets universal prices for all of its products, and anyone with a wholesale account must price those products accordingly for retail or risk being cut off by the supplier. The exception is older and discontinued products, which don’t fall under the price protection policy. Hence, clearance. If you’re looking for a less-popular fashion color from a previous season in an uncommon size, these deals might make your day. Unfortunately, if you’re hoping to score a steep discount on a core color, just-released style, or pretty much anything in a relatively more common size, these “sales” just aren’t going to deliver, because they couldn’t even if they wanted to. It’s misleading by design. Check out the attached screenshots for a couple of examples using styles we used to stock but no longer carry.

There are rare exceptions. Some brands with MAP policies actually set one or two specific periods per year where they permit their retailers to offer and advertise a set discount, usually something like 10% to 20%. We haven’t seen a lot of that since the pandemic, though. If that does happen, however, Grail will gladly participate and make sure you know about it! 😊 In the meantime, we also have a clearance rack that is absolutely packed full of discounted items that we would LOVE to move out, marked down as much or more than the sales on these sites.

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