Presidents Day Sales: When to Shop, What to Buy

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By Louis Ramirez

Short in days, but not on deals, February is a busy month for bargain shoppers. And while Valentine's Day traditionally steals the spotlight, February's best sale has nothing to do with Cupid.

Year after year, we've noticed that Presidents Day offers better bargains on a larger variety of merchandise than its more popular rival, Valentine's Day. And though we're still a few weeks away from both events, you can never be too prepared. So we've created the guide below to help you prepare for this year's Presidents Day sales.

Sales Will Start Early, End Late

As we saw in November, retailers will do anything to extend their sales. The same concept applies to Presidents Day. While the majority of sales will commence on Presidents Day itself (Feb. 16), many will start several days before the big event. For instance, in 2013 Bass Pro Shops started its Presidents Day sale on Feb. 5, whereas last year Dell Home was the first major retailer to celebrate Presidents Day on Feb. 7. For 2015, we predict that this trend will continue, with sales starting the first week of February. However, the bulk of retailers will still launch their deals on the Friday before Presidents Day.

Additionally, Presidents Day sales tend to linger. That means shoppers can expect a minimum of two weeks' worth of Presidents Day deals across the board. In fact, last year we saw Presidents Day deals that lasted as long as Feb. 22, which was five days after the holiday had ended.

Clothing and Tech Dominate Presidents Day Sales

For the past few years, winter apparel has dominated most Presidents Day sales, accounting for 32 percent of all deals during that holiday. Even better, in the past two years we've noticed that discounts have gotten steeper. In 2013 we saw price cuts of up to 67 percent, while last year we saw discounts as high as 85 percent. That said, some retailers, such as Macy's (M) and Barneys Warehouse, will gravitate toward lower price cuts ranging from 10 percent to 20 percent off. But even in these cases, the price cuts are stacked atop already-discounted clearance items. Otherwise, expect Nordstrom (JWN), 6pm, Eddie Bauer and The Children's Place to hold sitewide discounts with little to no limitations.

Shoe shoppers take note: While you may find some shoe deals this Presidents Day, your choices will be limited; last year, shoe deals made up less than 5 percent of our Presidents Day sales. Nevertheless, the most noteworthy sales came from 6pm and Joe's New Balance Outlet, both of which slashed the prices of boots and sneakers from 60 percent to 85 percent off.

In 2014, electronics accounted for 32 percent of all Presidents Day sales. These sales generally came in two forms: those with stackable coupons and those that discounted a variety of items. For the former, you can expect Office Depot (ODP), Staples (SPLS) and Dell Small Business to feature Presidents Day coupons that take from $10 to $50 off entire purchases. (Some retailers may require a minimum purchase amount.)

For sitewide sales, we recommend turning to Amazon (AMZN), TigerDirect, Newegg, MacMall, and Best Buy (BBY), which discounted a variety of HDTVs, laptops, and tablets by up to 81 percent. Unfortunately, there was no apparent theme to any of the sales. Back-to-school sales, for instance, traditionally apply to laptops and desktops, but most Presidents Day tech sales apply to a vast collection of electronics.

Home Furniture Deals Will Shine

February is traditionally one of the best months to buy new furniture. That's because new furniture collections debut during the first two months of the year, which in turn makes the start of the year a great time for furniture purchases. As far as Presidents Day is concerned, 17 percent of sales on this holiday will offer furniture deals.

Last year Ikea led the pack with an impressive 80 percent off discount. Not to be outdone, Kmart (SHLD) took 50 percent off patio furniture, whereas Wayfair slashed up to 70 percent off its furniture collections.

Mattresses and Jewelry Were Last Year's Wild Card

April and September are traditionally the best months for mattress deals, but last year Sears and Kohl's (KSS) discounted their collection of mattresses by up to 50 percent. Kohl's took an extra 20 percent off via stackable coupon codes for an overall discount of 70 percent. By comparison, April and September see mattress sales of up to 83 percent off. So while these February mattress deals are limited, they're still impressive if you're in the market for a mattress and can't wait the extra months.

Jewelry is another item we wouldn't expect to see discounted on Presidents Day, but last year 8 percent of all deals included or exclusively discounted jewelry. This included big box retailers like Sears and Kmart, as well as jewelry-specific stores like Szul, which took up to 90 percent off its jewelry with an extra 10 percent off via stackable coupon. However, keep in mind that many Valentine's day sales will also discount jewelry, so if it's a wide selection of deals you're after, you'll see a better variety on the days leading up to Valentine's day.

Though it traditionally doesn't get the attention of other sales, Presidents Day is a great holiday for deal hunters. But as with all sales, use caution when making your purchases. And make sure to begin your deal-hunting here at DealNews, where we'll be highlighting the top deals for you throughout the entire season. You can also sign up for the DealNews Select Newsletter to get all the best deals, including Presidents Day sales, delivered to your inbox.
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