January is truly a great month to get a great deal on winter-wear. Most winter clothing like coats, jackets and, boots can be purchased at very deep discounts from the original retail price. It is the time of the year when you can walk into the clothing area of almost any big box retailer and observe a sea of big red signs with the greatest word in the bargain hunters lexicon printed upon them. That word of course is “CLEARANCE”.
Many times you can find winter clearance items at 40%-70% off of the regular retail price. So what does
that mean for the consumer? Well it means that a brand new regularly priced $300 jacket marked down 70% from regular retail can be purchased for around $90 (this of course varies depending on sales tax charges). The savings on such a deal is an astronomical $210. Even if you buy a $300 jacket at 40% off you will still be saving $120. Most retailers run normal sales at just 15%-25% off the listed retail price so the clearance deals are clearly better in most cases.
Now why do retailers run such great clearance deals in January? Well, for one thing the holidays are over and many people are just spent out of money. In order to entice cash strapped and credit card maxed out shoppers to buy, prices need to be dropped substantially. Many retailers finance their businesses on money borrowed from their wholesale suppliers in the form of credit on merchandise. The retailer makes his profits by turning his inventory into cash at a profit and then he can pay off his suppliers and buy more merchandise for the next season without maintaining a debt from the previous one. Turning last seasons merchandise into dollars is a very high priority for many retailers.
At the retail store level the managers are under a great deal of pressure to make sure that their departments are ready to change over from season to season. The competition to be just a little ahead of other area retailers in seasonal changeovers is a real driver in getting that old merchandise marked down and out the door. Retail managers must make sure that they have space for next season’s incoming merchandise. For whether or not the sales floor has room for it, the new seasonal merchandise will be arriving.
There are of course drawbacks to shopping for winter cloths in January. The biggest drawback is that you will be shopping with a limitation on many styles, colors and sizes. There will be limited availability on many items and stores willing generally be unwilling to order you something for a clearance price unless, perhaps for a store with outstanding customer service they might be able to get you the item you want from another store in the same chain and sell it to you at the clearance price. It certainly does not hurt to ask a manager if they would check to see if another store has the item you want.
Besides the limitation on choice you have in winter clearance merchandise you also have a limited time to wear your winter items for that year. However, in states like Michigan where I live winter lasts until about April in most years so you would still have some time to wear your newly purchased winter-ware. Of course, remember that a few weeks prior to the big clearance many are glad to get a $300 jacket as a gift even knowing that someone paid full price or nearly full price for the item.
Overall, shopping seasonal clearance can be a great way to save a lot of money on sometimes very expensive brand new merchandise. In order to shop seasonal clearance you just have to get a mind set that the best time to buy seasonal items is in the middle of or end of a season. So, many of the things you buy will be for next year. However, in the case of winter clothing depending on where you live, you might have several more months to wear your expensive looking low cost clothing. So shop clearance in January and save a fortune.