Although it doesn’t get as much attention as other holidays, Columbus Day is still a major sales event for most stores. However, consumers should shop with some precaution, as many items will be cheaper on Black Friday, which is just a few weeks away.
To prevent a serious bout of buyer’s remorse, we analyzed previous Columbus Day sales to find out what items are truly at their lowest point on this underrated October holiday.
Shop for Accessories, Both for Your Wardrobe and Home
Columbus Day is an excellent time to stock up on accessories such as wallets, purses, and totes. Look for sales from retailers like Last Call by Neiman Marcus and Wilson’s Leather, which take from 30 to 70 percent off select bags and accessories. For accessories and decor for the home, turn to Michael’s which last year offered its biggest discount of the year — 50 percent off one regular-price item — on Columbus Day.
But Skip the Apparel Sales
Although you’ll see plenty of apparel deals from the likes of Macy’s, Calvin Klein and Ralph Lauren, we recommend you wait until November to make any clothing purchases. The average Black Friday apparel discount will take up to 54 percent off, whereas most apparel deals on Columbus Day will max out at around 40 percent.
Moreover, Columbus Day clothing deals tend to be limited to select items, whereas Black Friday apparel deals on average are sitewide, and sometimes come with stackable coupons that can give you even deeper discounts. For more details about Black Friday clothing sales, check out our guide.
Columbus Day is Prime for Shoe Deals
For the past two years, retailers have held excellent shoe sales on Columbus Day. For office attire, look for deals from Last Call by Neiman Marcus, 6pm, ShoeMall and ShoeBuy, which will offer sitewide discounts that range from 25 to 90 percent off. Some of these sales may resurface during Black Friday week, but they won’t get any better, so Columbus Day is just as good as November for shoe deals.
For athletic shoes, we recommend looking at deals from Joe’s New Balance Outlet, Puma, Nike and Adidas, all of which had sales the previous two Columbus Days. These retailers will discount men’s, women’s, and children’s sneakers by as much as 50 percent off. In some instances, you’ll be able to score stackable dollar-off coupons for an extra $5 off orders over $50, or $15 off orders over $100. Again, these deals won’t get any better in November, so you’re better off shopping now when your chances of finding your favorite styles and sizes are greater.
Avoid Tech at All Costs
There generally aren’t many electronics sales on Columbus Day, and that’s a good thing because November is the absolute best time for most gadget purchases. HDTVs (with the exception of 55-inch screens), laptops and most Apple devices will see their best discounts of the year next month. While you may see some Columbus Day tech sales from Amazon and Newegg, try to resist the temptation knowing that you’ll find better prices the following month.
The only safe tech purchase you can make on Columbus Day is on 55-inch HDTVs. Deals on this specific screen size have plateaued throughout the summer, and the prices you find this month will likely be very similar to the deal prices you’ll see next month. For off-brand sets, that means looking for deals in the $400 range. For name-brand models, look for prices closer to $570.
Random Sales to Look Out For
Certain retailers have annual Columbus Day sales that are actually better than most of the sales they hold year-round. OshKosh B’Gosh, for instance, had their best sale of 2014 last Columbus Day, taking 50 percent off sitewide with up to an extra 20 percent off via stackable coupons. Maidenform also took 30 percent off its entire site, including sale items, which is a rare sale from this retailer.
Travelers can also take advantage of sales from the likes of Travelocity, which took up to 40 percent off hotel stays through Columbus Day week. Likewise, Frontier Airlines offered fares from $29 valid for flights through the following year. While there’s no guarantee that these sellers will repeat their sales, there’s a very good chance that they’ll offer a notable promotion once again.
Unlike other holidays, Columbus Day is a relatively quick event, but that shouldn’t stop consumers from taking advantage of some choice deals. And remember, if you don’t find what you want on Columbus Day, the holiday shopping season is just around the corner.
For more on Columbus Day bargains, check out The Best Columbus Day Sales So Far: Sears, Amazon, Macy’s, and Many More! on DealNews.com.