Sears is closing stores. Carson's is going out of business. But discount retailers are expanding and racking up sales.

Posted on July 31, 2018

Idris Seghilani doesn’t mind the stuffed racks or long lines at Last Chance in Lombard’s Yorktown Center.

He doesn’t even mind the 45-minute drive from Chicago to get to the Nordstrom-owned clearance store. In fact, he said he does it at least twice a week.

“I could spend three, four hours here,” he said during a recent visit, admiring a black velvet Ralph Lauren robe he found for $15, marked down from around $100.

The Last Chance at Yorktown — one of only two locations in the country — is a discount shopper’s mecca. The store and another in Phoenix are where most of Nordstrom’s inventory that’s outdated, returned after being worn once or even smells of someone else’s perfume is marked down nearly 70 percent.

As retailers scramble to find solutions to the e-commerce-fueled bricks-and-mortar crisis, department store chains like Nordstrom and Macy’s are embracing off-price models. Last Chance, Nordstrom Rack and Macy’s Backstage — along with traditional discounters like T.J. Maxx — have continued attracting shoppers with the promise of a treasure hunt, something online merchants can’t quite replicate. Sears, Carson’s and other onetime retail giants are closing stores or going out of business, but off-price chains have plans to open hundreds of new stores in the coming years.

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