To many, Labor Day signals the end of summer, or the fashion tradition that discourages wearing white. But the federal holiday is also synonymous with something else: deals.
Here’s what you should know about shopping on Labor Day, which falls on Sept. 4.
Look for sales online, in stores
You have a limited time to shop Labor Day deals, but they aren’t confined to the holiday, says Charles R. Taylor, a marketing professor at Villanova School of Business.
“Online has really put pressure to carry the sales on longer,” Taylor says, noting that last year some online Labor Day deals were available throughout the holiday week. This forced brick-and-mortar stores to follow suit.
Retailers aren’t just dishing out savings for your benefit; they’re hoping to drum up business.
Labor Day is one of the biggest sale days in the U.S., along with Memorial Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas, says Sanjay Putrevu, the dean of the Monte Ahuja College of Business at Cleveland State University.
What’s so special about this holiday? “It signifies the end of summer, where people tend to finish up all of their major expenses in terms of vacations … and start thinking about work and school,” Putrevu says. “Their thoughts are not usually directed toward shopping.”
Cue an infusion of sales to inspire consumers.
Focus on summer clearance, big-ticket items
So which departments should you be shopping?
Taylor points out that summer items, such as patio furniture, are deeply discounted and can be good buys if you have room to store them. “If you’re going to buy a gas grill, there’s no better time than Labor Day weekend,” he says. Avoid buying fall items.
The holiday is also historically a prime time to purchase mattresses and major household appliances. Recently electronics have earned a spot in the top deal ranks because football season is starting, Putrevu says.
It’s also a good time to improve your home or book travel for Thanksgiving and Christmas, according to Raj Sethuraman, a marketing professor at the Edwin L. Cox School of Business at Southern Methodist University.
But even as you reap the fruits of your labor, Sethuraman recommends comparing online and in-store offers — online isn’t always better — and prices different retailers charge for the same item.
Here, you can use technology to your advantage.
“E-shopping has changed the marketplace dramatically,” Putrevu says. “Now, at the click of a button or with our smartphones, we can compare prices. So it is easier today to shop for prices and to get the best deal than it was a decade ago.”
Sales are already here
Here’s a sample of this year’s deals.
- Bear Mattress: Through Sept. 4, get $100 off any size Bear mattress or Bear sleep bundle when you shop online with code LD100.
- Best Buy: Select electronics are on sale, including an LG 55-inch Smart 4K TV for $200 off.
- J.C. Penney: Through Sept. 4, select mattresses, luggage, appliances and bedding are on sale.
- Lowe’s: Through Sept. 13, select grills are marked down. Select appliances are up to 30% off.
- Mattress Firm: All mattresses are on sale through Sept. 12. Shoppers can also get a free adjustable base with select purchases of $1,299.99 and above in store and online.
- Overstock: Take an extra 10%, 15% or 20% off select, already discounted home products through Sept. 4.
- Wayfair: Select categories are up to 70% off, including outdoor furniture, mattresses, lighting and plumbing.
See each retailer’s website for full details, including possible exclusions.
More from NerdWallet