I was under the impression that retail stores cannot sell a certain item for less than a certain price set by the manufacturer.
If the full price was far lower than that of other stores carrying the same goods, then the maker would probably take issue. But if the goods have been sitting around for some time and have not sold, it is certainly the store's right to clear them on out to make room for the new. They paid cash-money for the goods after all. An interesting fact is that sale prices are often well below the store's cost on the item..
But, why wouldn't these manufacturers or whomever just sell it directly to the consumer via the internet
Because it's not worth their time. Selling via the web, especially via ebay, is extremely labor-intensive. Also, any goods that come from manufacturers are unsold past-season goods, customer returns, display models etc. It could undermine their reputation somewhat if they were to sell them directly. Often the goods will be sold only under the proviso that the buyer disfigure the label. As for where we get our goods, we obviously aren't tellin, otherwise we'd be short our lunch money Â Â