More money is spent on clothes in August than in any other month, but smart shoppers aren’t buying then. The fact is, August just isn’t the most cost-effective month in which to buy new clothes. Why? Here are four reasons:
1) Back-to-school shopping is in full swing. August is when most parents do their back-to-school shopping for their children. Of course, retailers know this and don’t discount clothes much if at all this month. Some have been known to even raise prices in July and early August — and then put clothes “on sale” later in August to attract shoppers. It’s true that you can find good sales on summer fashions in August, but the swimsuits and other summer clothes that still remain in stores in August tend to represent the dregs.
2) So is back-to-work shopping. With the end of summer approaching, kids aren’t the only ones who need new clothes. Summer’s conclusion marks the end of casual dress codes in many white-collar workplaces, and this causes many people to examine their wardrobes and update them. Again, retailers know all this. So they may offer relatively superficial sales to attract these shoppers, but they know many adults will buy new clothes with or without a sale at this time of year.
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3) August is too early in the year. Many retailers have no idea how their year will go by August. Without a crystal ball to shed light on their annual sales, few will risk lowering their prices so early in the year when it is still unclear how much it will pad their bottom lines.
4) Christmas isn’t until October this year. The holiday shopping season and its attendant sales start earlier every year. But so far, at least, they haven’t stretched into August, and they probably never will because retailers know that many shoppers willingly pay full price in the back-to-school runup. But shoppers who can wait until mid-October —or early November at the latest — will see some of the best deals, and the very best selections, of the year. (Post-Christmas sales tend to offer the best prices, but clothes have been picked over pretty well by then.)
Longtime journalist Mark Di Vincenzo wrote the New York Times best seller Buy Ketchup in May and Fly at Noon: A Guide to the Best Time to Buy This, Do That and Go There. In August he released an app based on that book called WHEN, and an all-new second edition on the best time to buy things, called Buy Shoes on Wednesday and Tweet at 4:00: More of the Best Times to Buy This, Do That and Go There, will be released on Sept. 11.