Labor Day sales may deliver some great deals, but shoppers shouldn't forget this ever useful piece of consumer advice: "Buyer beware."
Retailers are offering deep discounts to lure consumers, who they hope will open their wallets to buy higher-margin items. Stores are under increasing pressure this year to boost sales given a brutal retail environment, with more than 10 retailers already filing for bankruptcy this year.
Bricks-and-mortar stores are feeling the pressure amid the rise of online retailers like Amazon. On top of that, Americans are increasingly on the hunt for a bargain and have become more savvy about sniffing out discounts. Still, shoppers can be tempted to make an impulse buy, which is why it's useful to know where you'll be able to find the low-cost items this weekend and what kind of products to avoid.
In general, avoid fall-related items, said WalletHub analyst Jill Gonzalez.
"Fall and soon-to-be holiday merchandise will typically not be discounted, because at the end of the summer season they tend to be the most sought-after items," she added.
The corollary is that summer-related products are usually a good bet at this time of year, since stores are eager to sweep out their warm-weather stock to make room for fall and winter inventory.
Shoppers should look for sales on grills, patio furniture and summer clothing, according to BestBlackFriday.com, a shopping information site. Mattresses are typically on sale, with retailers expected to offer discounts of up to 50 percent, BestBlackFriday.com's Phillip Dengler said. Appliances are also likely to be a good deal, with Home Depot offering up to 40 percent off on some appliances.
Perhaps most important: Do your research before heading to the store, Gonzalez advised.
"Do some online browsing before diving into actual purchases, so you can compare deals easily," she said. "Start early and plan your purchases ahead of time, so you don't indulge in overspending and impulsive buying. This should help you find the best deals to spare your wallet."
Read on to learn about the seven items you should avoid buying over the Labor Day weekend.
Even though retailers are offering sales on TVs this Labor Day weekend, it makes sense to wait until November, BestBlackFriday.com's Dengler said. That's when retailers offer their Black Friday sales, which end to provide deeper discounts than late summer.
Best Buy is selling a Westinghouse 43-inch 4k television for about $300, or $50 less than the retail price, as its Labor Day sale, but a similar TV set could be found last year for $200 at Target, Dengler noted.
"If you must buy a TV, then Labor Day is not the worst time of the year to buy one, but November and the two weeks in January and early February before the Super Bowl offer much better deals," he said.
Surprisingly, camping gear is still in season, given that many states will continue to enjoy warm weather for a few more months. There are sales to be found, but the best deals will come in October, when camping items will be discounted as much as 60 percent, according to BestBlackFriday.com.
Electronics in general will be lower priced in November, when retailers offer their Black Friday deals. There are a few sales on laptops during the Labor Day weekend, but consumers are better off waiting a few more weeks, according to BestBlackFriday.com.
Fall clothes aren't going to be as deeply discounted as they will be in a few weeks, when stores get their winter lines in stock. As a result, it's best to hold off on fall items. By contrast, consumers can find great deals on summer clothing this weekend.
Because toys are such a big seller during the holidays, retailers tend to wait until November to offer their best deals. Even better, wait until December, when BestBlackFriday.com says consumers will find the lowest prices of the year.
It may be tempted to snap up that iPhone 7 over the weekend, but remember that Apple will reveal its new iPhone models on September 12. At that point, retailers will offer even bigger discounts on older iPhone models.