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Experts: Big discounts you will find only in January
Left with a shopping hangover from the hectic holiday season, many declare January a month of rest and steer clear of stores.
Smart shoppers know, however, that slow retail sales in January means big discounts.
While retailers offer sales in December to make a profit on gift hunters, in January they often have even better deals to minimize losses, says MaryAnn Bekkedahl, president and co-founder of theSwizzle.com, a site that aggregates sale emails from 1,100 brands.
"Anything seasonal or trendy has to go to make space for a new crop of stuff," she says.
Bekkedahl suggests buying electronics in the beginning of January, since new products will be released in upcoming weeks and stores will need to get rid of the old.
Winter clothing and holiday items are deeply discounted as well.
"Now's a great time to shop for next year's winter coats for the kids," she says, advising parents to buy one size up in advance for the quickly growing little ones.
She names Banana Republic, furniture and home decor store CB2, DSW and J. Crew among the retailers with the biggest sales right now. Of the 1,100 brands her site follows, she estimates that 25 to 30 percent of top retailers are currently offering deals.
"Expect sales that take up to 80 percent off merchandise, and look for stacking coupons that slash up to an extra 60 percent off," adds Mark LoCastro of dealnews.com.
Dealnews data shows other stores to watch based on sales last January are Ann Taylor and LOFT, Nike, Men's Wearhouse, Tommy Hilfiger, Lord & Taylor, Target, Macy's, Old Navy, French Connection, American Eagle and L.L. Bean.
"Shop now for the best selection of sizes and styles, because they won't be restocked," Bekkedahl warns.
January is also the month to find deals on fitness equipment, according to LoCastro, especially on stationary bikes, treadmills, elliptical trainers, home gyms, training accessories and DVDs, which are marked 15 to 60 percent off, nearly doubling deals on these items offered in other months.
Last year, 55-inch LCD HDTVs were 17 percent cheaper in January than in December, and furniture deals were the highest of any month outside of November, with manufacturers releasing new styles in February.
For those looking to get away from the cold, January has also had the highest number of Editors' Choice vacation packages of any month, LoCastro says, with some flight and hotel combo deals at their lowest prices of the year. Look for sunny destinations like Jamaica, the Bahamas and the Dominican Republic.
Pictured above: Shoppers check out the Victoria's Secret store at Tanger Outlets Riverhead. (Nov. 22, 2012)