Should con­sumers sail into Colum­bus Day sales?

USA TODAY Weekend Extra - - MONEY - Court­ney Jes­persen

July brought Prime Day, Au­gust ush­ered in back-to-school sales, and Septem­ber opened with La­bor Day dis­counts.

And now, just when you thought your wal­let had reached a safe har­bor, Colum­bus Day is com­ing.

In some ways, Monday’s hol­i­day might be a hid­den trea­sure.

Colum­bus Day sales tra­di­tion­ally have been a way for re­tail­ers to clear out late sum­mer mer­chan­dise to bring in the win­ter hol­i­day se­lec­tion, says Ray Wimer, a pro­fes­sor of re­tail prac­tice at Syra­cuse Univer­sity’s Whit­man School of Man­age­ment in New York.

Now Colum­bus Day, which falls on the sec­ond Monday in Oc­to­ber, is be­ing en­gulfed by the larger hol­i­day shop­ping sea­son, and hol­i­day mer­chan­dise may al­ready be on shelves. Blame Black Friday creep. “You don’t nec­es­sar­ily see some­body wait­ing for the Colum­bus Day sale,” Wimer says.

A siz­able num­ber of shop­pers — 35.5% — plan to start shop­ping for hol­i­day gifts be­fore Thanks­giv­ing, ac­cord­ing to the 2017 U.S. Hol­i­day Shop­ping Fore­cast from CPC Strat­egy, a dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing agency.

It’s not sur­pris­ing any lin­ger­ing sum­mer items will be on dis­count over Colum­bus Day week­end. Wimer says spe­cialty cloth­ing stores will likely try to cap­ture shop­pers as they clear out ex­ist­ing styles and bring in late fall and win­ter in­ven­tory. Other prod­ucts will be on sale, too. Colum­bus Day week­end 2016 de­liv­ered up to 40% off ma­jor ap­pli­ances at Sears, an ex­tra 25% off at de­signer brand Kate Spade, 35% off an en­tire pur­chase at Gap and as much as 50% off mat­tresses at Sleepy’s. Ex­pect sim­i­lar sav­ings this year.

If you pre­fer to skip the crush of shop­pers who show up at stores on Thanks­giv­ing, then Colum­bus Day sales come just in time. Prod­ucts will be more read­ily avail­able, and you’ll avoid Black Friday tram­plings.

But if you shop Black Friday for the ex­pe­ri­ence and hand­ful of bud­get-stretch­ing door­buster deals, you might pre­fer to hold off the Oc­to­ber sales in an­tic­i­pa­tion of what’s to come.

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