Hottest Deals of Summer

Patio furniture AP Photo

Got a little jingle in your pocket? Looking to buy, buy, buy while summer deals are still hot?

Elizabeth Ody, a senior associate editor of Kiplinger's magazine, pointed "Early Show on Edition Morning" viewers to some of the best buys to be had this summer, in a wide variety of categories - everything from Speedos to kiddie pools.

Kiplinger's says a 35 percent markdown qualifies as a deal this summer... but deals won't be as big this summer as last summer. Still, retailers want to move inventory to make room for fall merchandise so deals can be found. You might even be able to find discounts as deep as 90 percent.

All of the following information comes directly from the magazine:

Shopping Strategies

Source: Kiplinger's Personal Finance Magazine

Date: August 2010

Shopping Strategies to Uncover the Best Deals: 4 ways to get the best products at the best prices. Suzanne O'Connor is president of BargainsLA.com. She shops for deals in Southern California and posts her discoveries on her site. Her best advice:

Hold out for a 35 percent markdown (at least). Then you can be pretty sure it's a deal. Most retailers set their initial offering price 20 percent above the price they expect to get, says O'Connor.

Find out why it's discounted. If it's out of season or overstock, no problem. If products are fake or imperfect (seconds or irregulars), be careful. Most stores at outlet malls sell "special purchase" products, which may simply be "cheap stuff for cheap," says O'Connor. Look for higher-quality merchandise marked down.

Shop manufacturers' end-of-season warehouse and sample sales. That's where you'll find prices 35 percent to 90 percent below suggested retail. (Use the Internet to locate ones you're interested in and to add your name to e-mail lists, and call to ask about sales that are open to the public.) Also look for sale notices on Twitter.com and Craigslist.org.

Look for online "flash" sales. Web sites such as EditorsCloset.com, HauteLook.com and RueLaLa.com let you register as a member free (sometimes you must be invited to join by a member). Sales may be limited to a few days, and you may have only a few minutes to purchase an item once you add it to your shopping cart.

Apparel

Women's apparel is one retail category likely to have equally high discounts this month compared with this time last year. That's because it remains one of the worst-hit sectors, with sales currently down 3.3 percent on average year over year following a 10.2 percent decline in sales in 2009 over the previous year, according to the International Council of Shopping Centers. (Only sales of children's shoes and apparel are performing worse, down 12.2 percent and 5.5 percent, respectively.) Women's-only apparel stores are more likely to offer such discounts this month in part because women -- especially those running a household -- have pulled back on spending to prioritize for family needs, says Jeff Green, president of Jeff Green Partners, a retail consulting firm. Also, there tends to be much more inventory geared exclusively toward the summer season for women than there is for me, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Look out for summer clothing - the lighter-weight cottons, the bright colors -- for men, women and children, which are the most likely to be discounted this month.

Tech

Source: Kiplinger's Personal Finance Magazine

Date: June 25, 2010

Smart Technology: 3 Irresistible Tech Bargains... Strike a bargain deal this summer on the iPhone, a big-screen TV and a laptop.

New smart phones arrive in less time than it takes to download an app. So why pay top dollar for the latest handset when last year's model is nearly as good -- and cheaper? Apple sells the iPhone 3GS 16GB for only $99, provided you ink a two-year contract with AT&T (monthly fees start at $55). That's $100 less than you'd pay for the new iPhone 4.

It's debatable whether plasma or LCD TVs have the better picture. But one thing's for certain: Plasma costs less. For big-screen viewing on a budget, you can't beat the Panasonic Viera line. The TC-P50C2 model, for instance, is a 50-inch beauty with a crisp, 720-pixel display that's great for watching high-def TV -- especially ball games, action flicks and other fast-moving scenes. Available for about $650, the Viera TC-P50C2 costs hundreds less than smaller 47-inch LCDs from top-tier vendors.

It's back-to-school time, also known as laptop-buying season for students and their bargain-seeking parents. The Acer Aspire Timeline series of thin-and-light portable PCs delivers the goods at a nice price. Expect to pay under $600 for a Timeline with 3 or 4 gigabytes of memory, a 250GB or larger hard disk, and a processor fast enough for Windows 7 Home Premium. Exact prices vary by configuration and vendor, of course, but the Timeline's value is a lock.

For word on deals in home furnishings and travel, go to Page 2.

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