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Why Certain Products Are On Sale for Labor Day

Aug. 29, 2014
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Every year, Labor Day deals boast price cuts on items such as mattresses, grills, washing machines and more.

While the changing seasons may explain the clearances on some items, the rationale for the bargains isn’t always so obvious. Before you hit the stores for Labor Day shopping this year, find out why retailers mark down certain items above others.

Hello Fall, Goodbye Summer

As summer turns to fall, stores want to clear out their seasonal inventories to make way for new products. Popular items for Labor Day sales include outdoor furniture, backyard grills and lawnmowers. Other outdoor equipment, such as bicycles and camping gear, is also frequently marked down in early September as vacation draws to a close and the weather cools down. The end of the summer is also the perfect time for parents to find a low-priced backyard playset for their toddlers and young children.

But it’s not just outdoor items — clothing is another great area for end-of-season savings. Check out clearance racks in late August and early September for swimsuits and summer attire. Although consumers often consider Labor Day sales the perfect opportunity to expand their fall collection, it’s better to wait until late autumn for serious savings on fall clothing.

School Days

With classes starting up in mid-August through September, you can get great discounts on paper, pens and more. But if you put off school-supply shopping until early September, you might snag even better deals, since many districts will have already started their academic year, leaving retailers eager to clear out their back-to-school inventories. Although these sales are geared to the K-12 set, they’re still a great time for anyone to pick up general office supplies, even if it’s been years since you were a student.

The back-to-school season also marks the onset of sales on kids’ clothing. Restock your children’s closets in early fall, but if you wait until October, you might get even better deals on basic items like jeans, as retailers rush to clear out their overstock from back-to-school sales.

Although the end of summer isn’t usually the right time to find deals on electronics, older students can take advantage of back-to-school offers on computers, like Apple’s discounts on laptops and iPads for anyone accepted to or enrolled in college.

Out With the Old, In With the New

If you’re shopping for major appliances, Labor Day sales are a great opportunity to score a bargain. New models come out in September and October, which encourages retailers to discount older items. Hold on if you’re looking to replace your fridge, however — unlike washers and dryers, new models of refrigerators come out in the summer, so wait until May for bargains to appear.

New cars are another smart Labor Day purchase. As with home appliances, automobile retailers lower prices to clear space for new models released in September. Although manufacturers now reserve some models to be released during other times of the year, the old wisdom holds true: car and truck prices on show the largest drop in August, averaging to $169 lower than in any other month.

And, as always, consumers can find better deals by visiting auto dealerships when fewer people are out shopping, such as at the end of the month, on weekdays or in bad weather. If you miss out on Labor Day deals, late December is also a good time to purchase a new car, since dealers are eager to meet their quotas before the year ends.

Keeping with Tradition

Mattress retailers tend to discount their products around national holidays, and Labor Day is no exception. It’s not clear whether the industry tradition developed out of patriotism or marketing wisdom, but you can count on finding mattress sales around Presidents Day, Memorial Day and Labor Day.

Grill photo via Shutterstock.

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