For deal-seekers, the truly huge discounts come just after Christmas — but this year it may pay to wait a few extra days.
In an effort to rid their shelves of unsold holiday merchandise and make way for the New Year’s replacements, retailers traditionally mark down their unsold holiday inventory just after the holidays.
However, as many stores have gotten wise to the fact that consumers like to redeem gift cards a day or two directly after the holidays, many have pushed off steeper discounts until later this week to maximize their profits. “The real deals come at the tail-end of the week,” says Dan de Grandpre, the chief executive of sale-tracking site DealNews.
Still, thanks to the expectation that 2009 would offer a more subdued holiday shopping season, this year’s year-end sales won’t be as notable as year’s past, says Kathryn Finney, the founder of trend- and sale-tracking site The Budget Fashionista. “Retailers had better control of their inventory. As a result, they don’t have to discount as deeply,” she says. “For consumers, they won’t get as rock-bottom prices as they did in ’08.”
Here are nine places to scope out post-holiday sales:
Best Buy is offering HP TouchSmart all-in-one computers for $799 and $899 through Jan. 2. (These items are regularly priced at $899 and $999, respectively.) The $799 model includes 4GB of memory and a 500GB hard drive, while for $100 more, shoppers will get a 640GB hard drive and a built-in TV tuner.
Consumer electronics sold fairly well this holiday season, so those items aren’t expected to receive as big a discount as others, says de Grandpre.
One exception is at Wal-Mart. Through New Year’s Day, the store will extend other previously announced holiday deals such as its selection of top Blu-ray movies for under $20. In addition, the discounter is offering a $50 Wal-Mart Gift Card with the purchase on an Xbox 360, as well as an eMachine netbook for $228 and up to 50% off clearance on hundreds of home holiday items and toys.
Toys 'R' Us
Toys 'R' Us is hosting a Buy One, Get One Half Off sale in its stores through Jan. 2. Shoppers can, for instance, buy one Leapster software program and get another free, while the purchase of one DVD gets them half off all DVDs priced at $19.99 or less. In addition, shoppers may save $30 on LEGO’s Star Wars Home One Mon Calamari Cruiser. (This item was $109.99; now it’s $79.99.)
Finney has her eye on department stores for good deals during this post-holiday shopping season. For instance, Macy’s recently ran a coupon in local newspapers: 20% off of already marked-down items, she says. “Those kinds of discounts are usually limited to those with Macy’s cards,” says Finney. “A lot of department stores are doing that.”
As for other discounts, Macy’s is taking up to 70% off of its stock of select items online in its After Christmas Sale & Clearance, which ends Dec. 29. With few exceptions, there’s an additional 15% off in-cart discount for apparel, handbags, and accessories. Shipping starts at $5.95. But for purchases of more than $99, the coupon code MERRY will land you free shipping. (Sales tax is added where applicable.)
Save up to 70% on skincare products and other items at Bliss’s Blissworld.com through its after Christmas Blowout Sale, which ends Jan. 5. There’s free shipping on items worth more than $25. Note that spa retail purchases can only be returned for store credit.
Barnes & Noble
Save 50% or more on select books and calendars during the bookseller's After Holiday Sale. Some items are discounted up to 90%, says de Grandpre. “That's one of the largest percent-off discounts we've seen on these items from Barnes & Noble,” he says. Deals on select DVDs, music and toys are also included in the sale.
Those purchasing textbooks through Jan. 30 from the retailer can pick 10 free song downloads from a choice of 30 in total. Titles include Vampire Weekend’s “Horchata” and Neko Case’s “Red Tide.” (Note: Sales tax is added where applicable.)
Through its Lime Tag Sale, Piperlime, the online shoe and accessories site for Gap brands, is offering up to 40% off its stock of footwear, accessories and apparel.
Now through Jan. 4, ALDO is taking an extra 30% off all sale items. Sales tax is added where applicable. Note that the in-store discount is only good on Saturday and Sunday, while online, the discount lasts through Jan. 4. (Note that while shipping is free for all orders worth more than $100, shipping fees are non-refundable.)
At 80’s Purple, an online fashion boutique, shoppers can get an extra 20% off their entire purchase through Jan. 4. Just use the code THANKYOU at check-out. (Note: East Coast shoppers should expect longer delivery times as 80’s Purple ships from Huntington Beach, Calif. Sites close to California ship in one to three days.)