Memorial Day Sales 2016: What Deals to Look For
When it comes to blowout sales, chances are high that you've already begun seeing ads for Memorial Day specials. The holiday represents a major shopping event that extends beyond just the weekend itself. You can expect to see pre-holiday sales kicking off one to two weeks beforehand.
In other words, the last two weeks of May are a great time to save. It should come as no surprise that retail traffic has seen a 73 percent uptick on Memorial Day in recent years when compared to a typical Monday.
"My research has shown that many retailers across the country are taking Memorial Day weekend and turning it into Black Friday," says Britt Beemer, founder and CEO of America's Research Group, a retail consulting firm in Charleston, South Carolina. "Don't be surprised to see retailers promoting early-bird specials beginning at 6 .a.m. on Memorial Day morning." Beemer adds that virtually every retailer will be touting mark-downs, but the biggest money-saving hack comes back to combining coupons with already low prices. This is exactly why Beemer advises shoppers do their homework and have those coupons on hand before making any purchases.
Looking to snag the very best deals this Memorial Day? We've broken down the retail categories that experts say will render the biggest savings.
Need a New Mattress? Now is the Time
Over the last decade, the mattress industry has turned Memorial Day into the prime time to buy. Beemer says that big-name brands like Tempur-Pedic, Sealy and more, will likely offer prices up to $300 less than average during the holiday weekend. And don't be surprised to see other major mattress companies promoting sales that translate to 50 percent off regular retail prices.
Mattress Firm is already boasting big holiday sales, showcasing average storewide savings in the $300 range. Various Sealy full and queen sets will be going for $299.99; king sets for $599.99. Folks who buy a TEMPUR-Breeze mattress are also eligible to receive a $400 Visa card if they also buy select TEMPUR-Pedic adjustable bases.
Last year, Sears offered 60 percent off a variety of top-brand mattresses. Beemer is expecting more of the same for this year. The retailer is already promoting similar Memorial Day deals for 2016, including queen mattresses starting at just $179. Sears is throwing in some additional incentives as well, like free delivery on orders of $599 in addition to promotional financing deals. And, similar to Mattress Firm, they're doling out $300 Sears Awards Card to customers who make an in-store purchase of a TEMPUR-Pedic mattress set.
In 2015, Macy's dangled deep discounts, like Sealy posturepedic mattresses marked down from $1,389 to $699. This year, the department store is highlighting an extra 10 percent off select mattresses. This translates to queen sets for as low as $305.
"I think you'll still see mattresses and furniture be hot categories this Memorial Day," adds Beemer
Big Deals on Furniture
If mattresses stand out as the number one item to buy this Memorial Day, furniture comes in at a close second—giving Labor Day a run for its money. According to Beemer, the end of May is the best time of year for furniture purchases.
Last year, Rooms to Go offered up select five-piece queen bedroom sets for $595 and microfiber recliners for as low as $250; others were 50 percent off. Meanwhile, Ashley Furniture Homestore featured discounts of up to 25 percent off select pieces. Some online purchases also came with free shipping.
"In addition to discounted prices, you'll see retailers probably advertising as much as four to six years no interest, which means you'll have anywhere from 48 to 72 months to pay," he says. That means you could get a $2,000 couch for about $42 per month over four years.
Ashley Furniture Homestore is promoting six years of no interest this year, in addition to generally deep discounts, like six-piece sectional sofas for $2,799.
Major Appliances Are a Good Buy
In 2015, Beemer called out major appliances as a top Memorial Day sale category. Sears, for example, spotlighted 40 percent off stainless steel refrigerators. But this year might be a little different.
"I'd say that I don't think appliances will be quite as big as last year because there was a lot of demand for appliances last year that I think has been fulfilled," says Beemer, adding that shoppers may have a tougher time finding extended financing options as a result. "It's hard to find that 24-month no interest anymore. In most cases, you'll see 12-month no interest."
Still, hhgregg is offering no interest until January 2019 this Memorial Day in addition to discounts of up to 35 percent off on major appliances. Similarly, P.C. Richard & Son is already promoting its holiday deals. This Whirlpool Front Loading Washer, for instance, is marked down from $999 to $679. To provide some perspective, Home Depot slashed prices last year by offering 10 percent off on all appliances priced at $396 or higher. The same deal is currently in effect for this year.
Get Your Spring Apparel
Generally speaking, Labor Day is probably the best time to get your hands on warm-weather apparel since retailers are trying to unload their inventory at that point. That said, don't be so quick to turn up your nose to Memorial Day, especially if your closet is in need of some new threads.
Spring apparel actually represents a hot category for Memorial Day savings, with Beemer adding that clothing will make up a good chunk of sales (although not as big as Labor Day weekend). The trick is finding applicable coupons to be used on top of sale prices.
Beemer says to expect at least 50 percent off from most major retailers. In many cases, you may even see deals for 60 percent off. Last year, high-end retailer Anthropologie took 20 percent off sale items, with Banana Republic taking 40 percent off select items.
The Children's Place is also notorious for offering stellar coupon codes that can take as much as 20% off your final price. And if you're on Old Navy's email list, then you already know about their frequent coupon blasts. The takeaway here is to locate coupons for your favorite clothing retailers before you start shopping. This little bit of foresight will be well worth it come checkout time.
Things Not to Buy on Memorial Day
Of course, Memorial Day isn't the best time of year to buy everything. As you'd expect, you'll likely pay more for in-demand summer items like swimwear, patio furniture and the like. However, Beemer actually suggests not dismissing barbecues. "As home improvement stores have gone after the outdoor-grilling category, you'll actually see incredible deals on those, as well," he says.
Are the deals a little better around July 4th and Labor Day? Beemer says yes, but you might still be able to snag great prices on barbecues now, if you purchase through a home improvement store.
Beemer adds that, despite what some consumers might think, May isn't the best time to buy a new TV. According to Consumer Reports, January is the optimum month for upgrading your television.
Take Advantage of Memorial Day Military Discounts
Military families should also be on the lookout for special deals and discounts.
"A number of retailers will advertise an extra 10% off for active military families," says Beemer. "This won't necessarily be in bold on the front page, but if you're active military, you'll definitely want to ask."
Stores like Home Depot, Apple and Kohl's actually offer year-round discounts for members of the military. And according to a Sears spokesperson, these folks can also save up to 40 percent on items like Craftsman drills and other tools this Memorial Day.
Regardless of what you're shopping for, be sure to keep an eye on our frontpage over the next week for the latest (and greatest) Memorial Day bargains. Setting up a Deal Alert, which sends automatic emails featuring newly posted deals directly to your inbox, is probably the easiest way to make sure you don't miss out.
When it comes to Memorial Day shopping, the more deals you can get your hands on, the better.
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Images courtesy of ©iStock.com/Piotr Krześlak, RoomstoGo.com, hhgregg.com.
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