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Labor Day sales typically frontload September with deals, but brands and retailers offer savings throughout the rest of the month, too, especially on summer items — companies want to get them off shelves to make room for fall products, noted Kristin McGrath, a senior editor and shopping expert at RetailMeNot. Due to both the changing seasons and concerns about Covid variants, people are also shopping for products that will keep them warm and entertained indoors, explained Marshal Cohen, chief industry advisor of The NPD Group. “Consumers are reaching backward a bit and Covid lifestyle products remain the focus,” he said, noting that the changing seasons is always a factor that influences purchases, regardless of the pandemic’s impact.
While the holiday season might feel far away, McGrath noted that “holiday shopping starts now.” She said to expect holiday messaging and Black Friday marketing to arrive in “full force” as early as October, and advised making your holiday shopping list now. The pandemic has caused global supply chain issues, which is making it difficult for retailers large and small to stock and restock popular items.
“We are encouraging consumers to start their holiday shopping early this year and avoid the stress of last minute shopping,” said Katherine Cullen, the National Retail Federation (NRF)’s senior director of industry and consumer insights. “Retailers have been working furiously to ensure inventory is in stock and available in time for the holiday season. However, supply chain disruptions — from factory closures to congestion at the ports — continue to create uncertainty.”
To help guide your shopping this month, we consulted retail experts about noteworthy sales to shop throughout September, and tips about what to hold off on.
September 2021 sales
We’ve rounded up sales happening now with notable discounts and from Shopping reader favorite brands and retailers.
- Allform: 20 percent off sitewide with code LDAY20
- Apt2B: 15 percent off sitewide, 20 percent off orders of $2,999 or more and 25 percent off orders of $3,999 or more
- Backcountry: Up to 60 percent off The North Face
- Bed, Bath & Beyond: 20 percent off college purchases until September 30
- Casper: Up to 15 percent off mattresses and 10 percent off pillows, sheets and more
- Columbia: Up to 50 percent off clothing, outerwear, sneakers and more
- Dyson: Up to $100 off select vacuums and air purifiers
- The Happy Planner: Up to 54 percent off select items as part of the Virtual Warehouse Sale
- Lenovo: Up to 50 percent off select laptops
- Macy’s: Up to 65 percent off furniture, mattresses and rugs
- Olay: 25 percent off sitewide
- Pottery Barn: Up to 70 percent off bedding, outdoor items, furniture and more
- Rugs USA: Up to 75 percent off area rugs for the End of Summer Sale
- Sur la Table: Up to 50 percent off clearance items
- Ulta: Up to 50 percent off select skincare and beauty products as part of the 21 Days of Beauty event
What to buy in September
In general, Cohen said if you’re shopping for “hot and desirable products” right now, like newly launched toys and tech, you shouldn't wait to make a purchase. He noted that these items tend to be in short supply and sell out quickly, and they may not be restocked frequently — or at all — later in the year.
McGrath said patio furniture and grills see significant price reductions in September. The best sales for these items are usually during Labor Day weekend, but you can also find select deals throughout the rest of the month. As for summer clothing, McGrath recommended shopping for discounted shorts, shirts and bathing suits in September — many retailers stocked up on these items for back-to-school shopping, but now need to clear them out to make room for winter jackets and boots.
Additionally, travel retailers are offering deals on hotels and flights, as well as vacation packages both nationally and internationally. “The time between back-to-school and the holidays is a bit of a lull for the travel industry, so those shopping for fall travel in September can generally find some good deals,” McGrath said.
What to avoid purchasing this month
Because September marks the beginning of fall, McGrath recommended holding off on buying cold weather apparel. Fall clothing and shoes are released at full price in the beginning of the season, and shoppers who want to purchase these items at a discount should wait until at least October. McGrath said TVs and toys are often on sale during Labor Day, but shoppers can find better deals around Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
Preparing for Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2021
As experts previously told us, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are no longer single day events. Sales and deals now span weeks, and sometimes even months. “We've noticed a forward creep into October of Black Friday and holiday shopping messaging the past few years, and we expect the same this year,” McGrath said.
With that being said, you may even begin to see Black Friday, Cyber Monday and general holiday promotions in September. McGrath said to keep in mind that, given the sheer number of people who shop during the period between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, deals will sell out quickly and not be available again. “So, for consumers, the game plan should be this: If it's a must-have, get it early if it goes on sale early,” McGrath said. “If you're willing to take the risk to get a fantastic deal, shop Black Friday weekend. After that, things will be dicey when it comes to availability and on-time shipping.”