Are there in fact laws or rules that govern when a Store can or can not publish sales prices for furniture and electronics?
Not laws, so much as agreements with manufacturers or suppliers. If they advertised the low price, the supplier might refuse to sell them any more product.
You’ll see this if you do any research on the North Carolina furniture outlets.
I’ve heard stories that you can buy furniture from these outlets for about 50% the price of a furniture store. However, you won’t see prices on their websites. You have to send them an e-mail with the specific model number, and they’ll reply with a price quote.
I once asked a fellow in the furniture business, why the cloak-and-dagger? He told me that furniture stores don’t want customers to know what their markup is or they might begin bargaining more aggressively.
Plus, there’s co-op. A manufacturer agrees to pay, let’s say, half, of the local ad costs for a store where their product is featured. The prices have to meet their guidelines or else the ad cost is all on the store.
That’s how it used to work for us anyways, early/mid 80s, photographic specialty store.