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What to expect from this year's Labor Day sales

If you need to buy a new mattress, don't get caught napping -- mattress sales are as good as they're going to get. There are other deals to be had as well.

By MSN Smart Spending editor Aug 28, 2013 6:11PM
This post comes from Louis Ramirez at partner site Dealnews.

MSN Money PartnerSummer's last hurrah is almost upon us, but before you fire up the grill for one last cookout, you may want to jump online: September typically begins with a wave of discounts, thanks to the culmination of back-to-school, end-of-summer, and Labor Day sales.

Couple shopping in bedroom showroom, rear view © Hans Neleman, Digital Vision, Getty ImagesWe analyzed last year's trends along with current summer sales to find out what kind of bargains should you look for this Labor Day weekend.

Back-to-school deals

Although most students are already in school by September, solid back-to-school bargains can still be found during the first half of the month. Last year, Lenovo, J&R, and newegg each extended their back-to-school sales through the first week of September, inclusive of Labor Day.

However, the longer you wait, the smaller your chances are of scoring a deal. Pickings will be slim, so make sure to act fast if you see something you need.

The best summer apparel sales
Along with shorter days, September also brings cooler weather, which means stores need to sell off their inventory of summer apparel to make room for fall fashion. For shoppers, that equals serious discounts on summer clothes. Last year during Labor Day weekend, Wet Seal, Macy's, Oakley Vault, and PacSun led the charge with discounts of up to a whopping 85% off.

And although you may be tempted by the volume of fall apparel sales out there, September is actually one of the worst times to buy autumn clothes, as you'll pay in-season prices. Instead we recommend using Labor Day weekend to stock up on summer essentials for next year like shorts, polos, and swimwear, and snatching up anything that transitions well into the fall.

Patio furniture and grills
You may not think of September as a traditional month for cookouts and picnics, but generally speaking, the weather is still fairly warm and with little to no humidity, so it's actually not a bad month for outdoor events. Luckily, we will soon be seeing some of the best deals of the year for grills and accessories. Look for Labor Day sales from The Home Depot, Target, Lowe's, Sears, and Kohl's, all of which discounted their outdoor appliances last September. While you're there, look for patio furniture; it will be heavily discounted as well.

Rest easy on a new mattress: Deals up to 50% off

Mattresses also see steep discounts on Labor Day, beating the sales we see on both Memorial Day and July Fourth. Expect discounts of up to 50% off from retailers like US-Mattress and Sears. Expect deals to begin at around $289 with free shipping via white glove delivery, which means you won't have to beg your friends to help you lug your purchase up the stairs!

High-end brands also see discounts

Although they didn't account for the majority of sales, last year we did see a fair amount of deals from high-end brands such as Brooks Brothers, Williams-Sonoma, Restoration Hardware, and Anne Klein, each of which took 60%, 30%, 20%, and 25% off select merchandise, respectively. These sales generally ended on or immediately after Labor Day, so don't expect them to resurface later in the month.

What to focus on
Remember, this Labor Day we recommend shoppers look for bargains on summer apparel and outdoor furniture, as these items will make up most Labor Day sales -- and they'll offer the biggest discounts. Some sales have already begun, and the best will end on or soon after Sept. 2. Mattresses will also see all-time lows, many of which will ship with free white glove delivery. For tech, you'll want to act fast and catch the tail end of back-to-school sales.

And remember, even if you miss out on a deal this month, Black Friday is a stone's throw away, bringing with it the year's best discounts and sales.

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