Even though Labor Day probably isn’t the best time of year for deals, plenty of retailers—online sellers especially—have launched major sales for the upcoming holiday weekend. But how can you tell which sales represent truly terrific values, and which are deals in name only?
Sites such as Offers.com, dealnews, FatWallet, and RetailMeNot are loaded with the latest info on sales, coupon codes, and special promotions, including many that are in effect solely for the Labor Day holiday period. But in a world of “fake prices,” where retailers inflate list prices just so the “discounts” seem more substantial, not all “deals” are actually deals.
Craig Sakuma, president and co-founder of a new furniture discounting site called DealDecor.com, says that this strategy—listing outrageously expensive prices at first, then marking them down dramatically—was standard practice during his experiences working for one of the top retailers in the U.S. “The company would inflate original prices so they could immediately discount them and advertise the products as clearance items,” says Sakuma. “Discounts are usually compared to the list price of items, which are set by the same retailers. We often took a $500 sofa and gave it a $2,000 list price for a 75 percent off savings, but it really was just a sofa worth $500.”
Take all of that into consideration when evaluating a retailer’s “deals.” What really matters isn’t how big the discount appears to be, but how much the merchandise in question is actually worth to you. Bearing all of that in mind, here are some of more interesting offers that have surfaced just in time for Labor Day weekend:
20% to 40% Off
The Labor Day sale at L.L. Bean knocks down the price of all backpacks, lunch boxes, and kids clothing, outerwear, and footwear by 20%.
Everything at AnneKlein.com is 25% off for orders placed by September 3.
At Nautica.com, all orders placed by September 4 are discounted by 30% with the coupon code LABORDAY12.
By entering the coupon code FALLCALLS, you’ll get 30% off online purchases at Gap, Old Navy, and Banana Republic. Available through September 3.
Use the coupon code STPELD40 at PerryEllis.com to get 40% your entire order, now through September 3.
50% or More Off
Omaha Steaks is hosting a “Smokin’ Hot Deals” sale for Labor Day, and everything on the site is being sold for 50% off through September 4. Bear in mind that Omaha Steaks is known to offer discounts in excess of half off, with the “Grill Pack” highlighted at Offers.com for 62% off.
All Carter’s kids merchandise is being discounted by 50% now through Labor Day. The discounts are valid in store and online.
With the buy one, get one free deal from Lane Bryant, the discounts amount to 50% off the entire site. Use the coupon code BOGOFREELB to get the second item (of equal or lesser value) free, now through September 3.
During the “Yard Sale” at 6pm.com, summer shoes, clothing, and other merchandise is being marked down by 60% to 80%.