Skip to main content

Retailers Lament: Nothing Memorable About This Memorial Day

Retailers are getting creative, but Memorial Day still looks like a bust.

With Memorial Day on the horizon, the general consensus is that inflation and supply chain issues will curb consumer shopping activity.

Retailers are getting creative on how to move merchandise in a sour economic climate.

“Sales have already started, so we're seeing things like Ace Hardware offer free items with grill purchases over $399 for members of its loyalty program,” said Julie Ramhold, consumer analyst at Deal News, a retail shopping platform. “This is pretty specific, rather than just offering a free gift with a certain purchase or select purchases over a certain amount, so deals like this are only going to apply to shoppers with very specific goals in mind.”

Ramhold believes that inflation is the key culprit in what shapes up to be a soft Memorial Day weekend, retail-wise.

“Lenovo is taking up to 60% off in its Memorial Day sale, which is about what we expected; but again, because of inflation causing rising prices and supply chain shortages on some implements, the actual product price may not be as good this year compared to 2021,” she said. Ashley Furniture is taking up to 30% off, which is again about what we expect, but actual prices may be higher given inflation.”

Retailers fine themselves in a box this Memorial Day, where discounts could be the same amount as what we saw last year - i.e. 40% to 50% off - but the sale prices could end up being higher because of inflation.

“Alternatively, we may see some retailers offering higher discounts this year that basically yield sale prices similar to what we saw last year,” Ramhold said. “Either way, I don't expect discounts to end up being better overall this year.”

That doesn’t mean good deals are null and void. Ramhold lists some of the best (along with some of the worst) buying options for discount-minded consumers.

Best: spring clothing. Retailers are going to want to clear out space to make room for more summery items, so any spring clothing will likely hit clearance level lows during Memorial Day.

Best: Mattress. Shoppers expect these items to be on sale during Memorial Day and retailers are happy to comply. “Even better, online vendors devoted to mattresses like Casper and Purple will likely have sales as well as furniture stores and warehouse clubs, and even department stores and home improvement retailers,” Ramhold noted.

Best: Large appliances. Much like mattresses, these discounts are just expected now and retailers are happy to offer deals to entice consumers to upgrade everything from washers and dryers to an entire kitchen suite.

Worst: Outdoor items. To be clear, there will be sales and deals on things like patio furniture and grills during Memorial Day sales, but unless you need them immediately you should hold off. “Better offers will come around later in the year, around September or October,” she added. “If you do need them immediately, Memorial Day is a fine time to shop - just know you won't find the best deals during that time.”

Worst: Amazon devices. Amazon will undoubtedly have some kind of Memorial Day sale, but don't buy any new Amazon devices just yet. “Prime Day is in July and they'll have much better offers on their own brands and items then,” Ramhold said.

Ramhold also lists the “best” and “worst” retail outlets for Memorial Day shoppers.

Best: Target
. The store will have a ton of Memorial Day deals that cover everything from foods suitable for grilling to clothing and a fair amount in between. Since Target has pretty much a little bit of everything, there will be a lot up for grabs at a discount during its Memorial Day sale.

Best: Best Buy. From electronics to large appliances, it's sure to have a number of good deals on a variety of items.

Worst: Amazon. The retailer may have some fantastic deals, but you'll likely have to dig deep to find them for Memorial Day.

Worst: Apple. The retailer is notorious for not having sales, and Memorial Day is no different. “If you want to buy a new Apple product, look to other retailers first if you want a deal,” Ramhold added.