PORTLAND, Ore. (TheStreet) – If you have to spend your Labor Day out shopping, it's best to know where the deals are before everyone with a circular or a spam email gets to them as well.
The retail cycle doesn't care about your vacation spending, kids's summer camps or back-to-school shopping. It wants its seasonal cut or else. Last year, retail spending beyond food services dropped from $379.2 billion in August to $378.8 billion in September. That was the first such fall lull since the years couching the recession from 2006 through 2009.
It's why you're already seeing candy corn in the supermarket and drugstore aisles, pumpkin beer in the convenience and liquor store coolers and a Halloween superstores where your local Family Dollar used to be. Retailers don't like unpleasant surprises and will do just about anything they can to keep spending on the upswing from now through the holidays.
It's not holiday creep, it's just unavoidable retail reality. January and February are typically the slowest buying months on the calendar, which explains crazy post-Christmas sales and big President's Day car deals. Just behind them, however, is September. According to Census Bureau data, even before the recession retail sales tend would drop off by as much as $30 billion from August to September before picking up again in October.
Faced with the knowledge that retailers will be targeting your wallet for winter holiday shopping as soon as October and will try to disrupt your Thanksgiving dinner with their “Black Friday” sales, no one would blame you for disappearing into a retail bunker for a few weeks before facing the worst. If you're looking for deals or are just in need of certain items, however, here's a list for the few souls brave enough to dedicate part of their holiday to handing over hard-earned cash:
When car dealers put up their banners and balloons and run loud ads declaring that they need to move last year's models to make room for new arrivals, they're not just handing you some line. September starts the slow, post-summer descent for car sales that typically bottoms out in November. Last year, 81% of all cars sold in September were 2013s, according to auto pricing site TrueCar. Dealers want to feature and move more 2014 models to bump up the new year's 18% sales share, so buyers will see increasing incentives as the month progresses.
If models have been redesigned or discontinued, dealers can't get them off the lot soon enough. With Ford giving its Expedition SUV a complete makeover for 2015, dealers are hacking roughly 14.5% off their suggested retail price just to get 2014 vehicles off the lot. Also, with a newly upgraded F-150 pickup coming to showrooms for 2015, dealers are giving away $4,250 in cash incentive through Labor Day to get 2014 models out the door. The folks at General Motors are letting their dealers hand over $4,000 in cash just to get rid of the 2014 Chevy Malibu, while Nissan dealers are throwing $4,500 at customers just to part with the 2014 Rogue.