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Smarter shoppers may be the death of haggling

Monday - 4/2/2012, 4:43am  ET

tax free shopping Mall at Columbia (WTOP Photo/Andrew Mollenbeck)
Some stores at the mall are trying simpler pricing tactics, rather than hold sale after sale. (WTOP/Max Smith)

WASHINGTON - The Internet and shopping comparison apps are making shoppers smarter and more empowered than ever, which may make haggling a thing of the past.

More people know exactly what they're willing to pay for an item, leaving retailers scrambling for new strategies to make money, according to The New York Times.

One of the best examples of the shift is J.C. Penney, which is focusing on simpler pricing, and fewer markdowns.

""The customer knows the right price. We can raise the price all we want; she's only going to pay the right price," Ron Johnson, chief executive of J. C. Penney, tells The New York Times. "And why is that? Because she's an expert."

It remains to be seen if the changes will work.

Some consumers are finding the "fair and square pricing" plan confusing.

Other retailers, such as Urban Outfitters, American Eagle Outfitters and the food chain Supervalu, are trying similar pricing schemes.

A similar idea was tried by American Airlines in 1992. It was abandoned after just six months.

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WTOP's John Aaron contributed to this report. Follow John and WTOP on Twitter.

(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)