It has been a long and painful season for American stores, which started rolling out
more than two months ago. They've been trying to entice weary consumers with price cuts, free shipping and one-day
. But shoppers, especially those without jobs, won't open their wallets for anything short of a 30% discount.
Here are 10 deals you can expect this weekend and where to find them>>
10. Digital cameras: Wal-Mart
As the world's largest retailer, Wal-Mart relies on bulk buying and relentless haggling with suppliers to keep prices down and defeat its competitors. That approach has been especially crucial this year, as retailers fight for every sale. Wal-Mart is waging price wars with everyone --
When it comes to digital cameras, Wal-Mart wins. The company offers 54 options that cost less than $100, compared to Best Buy's 36. Top sellers will probably include
Coolpix L20, which offers 10-megapixel resolution for $89, and
EasyShare 8.2-megapixel camera package, which comes with a case, a memory card and rechargeable batteries for $79.
9. GPS devices: Best Buy
When Circuit City stores closed its doors, Best Buy solidified its position as the top U.S electronics retailer. The company has faced fierce competition from Wal-Mart this season, but it has stayed ahead in at least one area: global-positioning devices.
GPS navigators were among the most popular holiday gifts last year, and they will be found under many Christmas trees this year. Best Buy has cut prices on some
models by more than 30%. The Garmin Nuvi 1200, for example, has gone from $199.99 to $129.99. Wal-Mart offers the same model for $150 on its Web site. The fancier Nuvi 765T is on sale for $199.99, down from $449.99.
8. Netbooks: Staples
Netbooks, small computers that prioritize mobility over power, could be one of the hottest gifts this holiday season. While most people turn to Staples for ink cartridges and copy paper, more people will be scouting out its discounted netbooks.
Aspire One netbooks are on sale for $279.98 through Saturday at the office supply chain. Wal-Mart offers the same model for $298 on its Web site, while Best Buy charges almost $350.
7. Televisions: Sam's Club
Warehouse stores such as
BJ's Wholesale Club
offer more than industrial-sized bottles of shampoo and pallets of diapers. They also sell electronics, books and clothes at competitive prices. The downside is that you have to be a member of the store, which costs at least $40 a year per household.
However, if you're in the market for a high-definition television, you should consider joining Sam's Club, a division of Wal-Mart. The wholesale chain offers a 52-inch Sharp Aquos LCD HDTV for $1,298. Amazon has the same TV for $1,439, and Best Buy markets a higher-end version for almost $2,500.
6. Blu-ray players: P.C. Richard & Son
First comes HDTV, then comes Blu-ray. If you want to go back and watch all your favorite movies in high definition, perhaps it's time to buy a Blu-ray disc player. Wal-Mart is selling one Magnavox model for $78. The rest of its players cost $128 to $258. Best Buy's Blu-ray players start at $129.99.
For a better deal, check out the lesser-known P.C. Richard & Son, which is offering the LG BD270 player for about $100. On Amazon, where 52 users gave the LG device an average rating of four out of five stars, it's listed at $125.
5. Foosball tables: Sports Authority
If you're suffering from technology overload and longing for old-school entertainment, there's nothing better than a foosball table. Sure, there's poker and pool if you want to enhance your game room, but why not add a rowdier toy to go with your kegerator?
Sports Authority has cut the prices of Spartan and Carrom foosball tables by as much as a third. The Carrom Agean table, for example, is listed at $379.99, down from $449.99. The same table sells on Amazon for $498.
4. Tools: Target
The weak economy has forced many people to tackle home repairs themselves. To get the job done, they need the right tools. You could go to
and pick up professional-grade drills and wrenches. Or you could go to Target and pay less.
Power drills, tool sets and wrenches that automatically adjust by
Black & Decker
are on sale for less than $20 at the discount chain through at least Saturday.
3. Kitchen gear: Sur La Table
With unemployment at a 26-year high, celebrations have been subdued this holiday season. More foodies are grilling their steaks at home instead of ordering filet mignon at Smith & Wollensky. Crackers and cheese are replacing canapes.
There can be room for small indulgences if you're a savvy shopper. Sur La Table, the kitchen gear chain, has trimmed prices on barware and glasses by as much as 30%. The cost of Wusthof knives has been cut in half, and a 30-piece porcelain dinnerware set is selling for 25% off.
2. Designer handbags: Nordstrom
On Nordstrom's Web site, studded leather satchels by Marc Jacobs sell for $1,450. Hobo bags by Valentino are priced at $1,895 and canvas Burberry totes go for $750.
However, if you click on the "sale" button, you'll find bags by Kate Spade, Badgley Mischka and Cole Haan for less than $150. Nordstrom has slashed the prices of more than 100 handbags by as much as 50%. While the department store's $100 minimum for free shipping is less generous than deals at other stores, the high-end selection might be worth the splurge.
1. Outerwear: Land's End
Land's End, which started out as a maker of sailing gear in 1963, carved a niche in activewear through a booming catalog business. In 2002, Sears acquired Land's End, a move that some analysts say eroded prestige of the brand.
If Sears doesn't meet your high standards for clothing, consider this: Land's End is discounting all the wares on its Web site by 25% through Sunday. Down vests are selling for less than $30 and long quilted coats are going for less than $120. The company guarantees that any purchases made by Monday will arrive in time for Christmas.
>>Photo Gallery: 15 Hot Video Games for This Holiday Season
>>Photo Gallery: 10 Best Cheap Netbooks
>>Photo Gallery: Gifts You Shouldn't Buy for Your Boss
>>Photo Gallery: Five Holiday Costs That Will Sap Your Budget
Reported by Danielle Kost in Boston.