Deals worth the wait: Ikea's annual sale


Some deals only come around once or twice a year, but offer savings that justify the wait. This post is part of our series on such 'don't miss' sales.

If words like "Leksvik", "Malm" and "Hemnes" don't sound like an exotic type of pickled herring to you, chances are you are an Ikea shopper.

You also are probably an Ikea shopper if you are in your first apartment or live in a neighborhood where it's important to be trendy on a budget. Maybe you like the store's merging of cool Scandinavian design with functionality and the yummy Swedish meatballs in the cafeteria.

Regardless, you probably like the chain's "impossibly low" prices. I know I did when I worked there during the chain's early days in the U.S. I was there in Plymouth Meeting, Pa. when the store opened its doors for the first time. Throngs of people came in to gawk at the ultra-hip home furnishings. I was in the plant department even though I didn't know anything about them. However, I think I correctly advised one customer that his plants probably kept dying because he kept them on the radiator.

The prices are pretty reasonable on most things. Anyone looking for a real bargain can occasionally find them in the room where returned goods are kept though they are sometimes damaged. Ikea does run occasional promotions such as a $150 gift card with the purchase of any mattress. But anyone looking for real bargains, though, has to wait for the once a year twice a year sales.

Stores knock off 20 to 60% off selected merchandise. The company also has done clever promotions where people can "rent" Christmas trees and return them to the store to get recycled. Sometimes customers get cash back and gift cards.

The deals, though, are almost as sweet as Swedish lingonberries most of the year.