I think that most stores will allow their employees to take them, or at least pay a small amount for them. When I worked in the vitamin/body care department of an organic grocery in college, we had company reps come in all the time and give us freebies. If customers returned things and we couldn't send it back to the manufacturer for credit, the employees got to either take them outright, or else pay a very token charge for the item (usually twenty-five cents, sometimes a couple of dollars).
I would imagine that high end places like Hermes probably just destroy things outright rather than mark anything down. But at places like Sephora, I bet that the employees get to take them.