Mark LoCastro, a spokesman for DealNews, said October is when school items typically go on closeout. He said that last year, Sears offered kids' backpacks for as little as $4 that month.
Electronics aren't discounted during Labor Day weekend nearly as much as they are on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, said Matthew Ong, senior retail analyst at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Ong cited a 55-inch LG television, which sold for $749 during Labor Day last year. During Black Friday, the same model was slashed to $499.99.
"That's a dramatic example, but in general, electronics will be across-the-board cheaper on Black Friday," averaging 50 percent off versus 30 percent off during Labor Day, he said. That includes everything from GPS systems to camcorders, televisions and laptops. Ong said you're better off waiting a couple of months to get the best deal, since during Black Friday, the quantity of deals will be bigger in every product category.
During Labor Day, "retailers would like people to believe there are more discounts than there really are," he said.
Delk said Labor Day is a "needs-based" holiday, which makes it "bigger and broader" than other holiday weekends, like Memorial Day and the Fourth of July, for retailers, but it doesn't come close to rivaling Black Friday for bargain hunting. While newspaper inserts or direct mailings range from eight to 30 pages for Labor Day, they're in the 60- to 80-page range during Black Friday, she said.
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Labor Day certainly isn't as big a weekend as Black Friday, but it's nonetheless "a great time for bargains," said Daniel Butler, a vice president at the National Retail Federation. He said while fall goods, sweaters, coats and winter items might be regularly priced, "retailers put a lot of bargains out there," discounting items by 20 percent, to 60 percent to 70 percent for clearance items.