Discount store changing

Bargain-hunters who were startled to learn this weekend that Bianca Amor’s Liquidation Supercentre in Red Deer is slated to close can breathe a sigh of relief.

Bargain-hunters who were startled to learn this weekend that Bianca Amor’s Liquidation Supercentre in Red Deer is slated to close can breathe a sigh of relief.

The 7835 Gaetz Ave. store, which is crammed with everything from tools and toys to paints and purses, advertised on Sunday that it will close at the end of June. But owner Bianco Amor, who also operates Liquidation Supercentres in Calgary, Edmonton, Lethbridge, Regina, Saskatoon and Surrey, said on Monday that the Red Deer outlet will reopen at a new location on July 1.

“I already have a lease, and we’re actually working on it right now,” said Amor, confirming that the store’s new premises will be at 5239 53rd Ave.

A restructuring of the discount store was already planned, she said, so it made sense to do this at a new location — particularly one that may draw more shoppers.

“There’s a lot of action down there closer to the south.”

At approximately 14,000 square feet, the new store will be about 4,000 square feet smaller than Liquidation Supercentre’s current premises. But Amor expects to carry the same type and quantity of merchandise.

“It’s going to be a lot more open,” she said, adding that loss-leader specials will be displayed more prominently to attract consumers.

Merchandise at Liquidation Supercentre’s existing site will be liquidated at progressively increasing discounts, starting at 20 per cent next week and reaching 80 per cent by the end of June.

“We’re getting rid of everything,” said Amor, explaining that it’s easier to sell stock than transport it.

The exception will be merchandise that’s now in storage, she added.

The daughter of a couple who run an import business, Amor opened her first Liquidation Supercentre in Lethbridge eight years ago — when she was 13.

“I lived south of Calgary, but I definitely wanted to open somewhere in Alberta, and Lethbridge just seemed like a market where I’d have more of an opportunity.”

Other stores followed, with Red Deer joining the Bianca Amor’s Liquidation Supercentre chain in 2004.

Armor said her parents help with the business, including sourcing merchandise, but she is the owner. She oversees operations in three provinces and makes frequent buying trips to China.

“I’m trying to cut it down a little bit, but it’s really hard to get under 60 hours a week,” said Amor. “I don’t think I’ll ever be able to go under that number, but it’s better than 80 hours a week.”

Two other well-known discount retailers, Liquidation World and XS Cargo, closed their Red Deer stores in January 2006 and March of this year respectively. That hasn’t had a big impact on Armor’s business here, she said, pointing out that Liquidation World focuses on merchandise from close-outs and XS Cargo carries a lot of electronics equipment.

Liquidation Supercentre sells predominantly imported goods, with some of its merchandise also from product close-outs and surplus stock from other retailers.

“I find that our product line doesn’t really cross over too much.”

The recent economic downturn hasn’t resulted in a big increase in shoppers at her stores, said Amor.

“I haven’t really noticed a change.”

hrichards@bprda.wpengine.com