Are Semiannual Sales Worth It?

By Emily Fredrix, AP Retail Writer

NEW YORK (AP) — If you're seeing the profusion of sales lately but holding out for even bigger savings in upcoming semiannual sales, you may want to think again.

It's definitely the season for semiannual sales as retailers make room for fall merchandise. But this year, because stores got used to frugal shoppers and didn't buy as much extra stock, they don't have to get rid of so much extra merchandise. That means the savings won't be as plentiful as in recent years.

Here's help figuring out who holds semiannual sales, how this year is different and what other sales are to come.

WHAT STORES TO CHECK: Most retailers have sales in early summer to clear out seasonal merchandise and make room for new things they can sell at full price in the fall. Clothing stores including Nordstrom, Saks, Victoria's Secret and Brooks Brothers and home-decor chain Williams-Sonoma all have these sales — as do many small retailers.

Nordstrom splits its semiannual sales into one for women and kids and one for men. The company also has a special once-a-year sale, where it discounts merchandise for the upcoming season, including products like Ugg boots, which rarely go on sale. Loyal customers remember this sale, which runs this year from July 6 through Aug. 1, like their parents' birthdays.

"We're careful to hold just a few sale events every year at Nordstrom," said Colin Johnson, a spokesman for the Seattle-based retailer. "We don't believe in having a one-day sale every other week."

WHAT'S DIFFERENT THIS YEAR: First, sales may not be as common as in the recession's first year, but there's still a glut. And that makes each one less significant.

"More than ever, retailers are running sales every two weeks," said Dan de Grandpre, editor-in-chief of dealnews.com. "The semiannual sale for a lot of people is just noise."

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