After Christmas clearance sales, which generally start the very day after, on the 26th, have become a planned, organized, money maker for the retail stores.  This is actually a good thing, however, since it ultimately can help to benefit consumers as well as the retailers looking to make some profit on a few more holiday sale items.  The interesting thing with discounts after the holidays, for one thing, is they are not always the best way to save money on seasonal merchandise.  Let’s check out day after Christmas sales and post-holiday clearance events in more details.

After Christmas Clearance Versus Pre-Holiday Specials

To some extent, the following day has become similar to Black Friday for holiday shoppers.  People consider it the kickoff to getting the best bargains on holiday merchandise and for returns of those not so wonderful gifts they received.  While these events can provide good deals, often with steeply discounted prices, if you watch carefully, you can probably save more just before the holiday.

While I cannot speak for all stores, many of them are known to sell Christmas stock at 70% off during the week of Christmas.  When the special after Christmas sales flier and advertisements come out, they will generally provide 50% off the exact same merchandise.  In other words, you pay more after December 25th than you would before.  In what now seems like another life, I managed a fairly well-known big box retail store.  My regional manager spoke to me at great length of the shift in way major retailers view the after Christmas holiday clearance sales.  Specifically, he told me they had become, at least at the company I worked for, the second best day for gross sales of the year, behind only Black Friday. 

Of course, there are times when holiday merchandise hits very low prices, so you have to watch carefully.

January Equals Bigger Savings

As we’ve discussed, the day after Christmas sales events are okay, but generally do not represent the very best deals you can find.  However, if you wait a little longer, you can cash in on 75% and sometimes even 90% off holiday merchandise.  That’s cheap.  There is, of course, some risk with waiting into January for the best deals. 

As you wait for items to hit the major discounts of 80% off or more, looking for the super cheap Christmas merchandise, you run the risk of the nice items running out of stock.  Whether you’re looking for ornaments, holiday apparel, or even clearance artificial Christmas trees, there is a delicate balance between waiting long enough to get the bargain pricing, and waiting too long and seeing the items you want run out of stock. 

Of course, holiday merchandise isn’t the only way to save a lot of money at these sales.

What Drives Post Christmas Discounts?

There are several things which dictate selling off merchandise at greatly reduced rates after the holidays.  In the list below, you’ll find out some of the reasons stores view this as an opportunity.

Making Room:  Have you noticed how early Christmas Merchandise hits the sales floor?  This is because stores are trying to capitalize on early sales.  Have you noticed how virtually every other holiday is also set up in the stores early?  As soon as the day after Christmas, stores start setting up for Valentine’s Day and Easter.  They need room for the merchandise.  By providing big clearance sales events, they quickly gain the room they need to get out the next set of holiday merchandise.  It’s the same for independence day, Halloween, and even Thanksgiving.

Profit Already Realized:  Sometimes called sell through, stores know how much they have to sell to break even.  Once they hit those magical numbers, everything else they sell is profit.  When the profit is realized, they decide the pricing needed to maximize revenue, get customers into the door, and make enough room for the next seasonal merchandise to hit the floor.

New Toy Resets

Many toys are planned to make the holiday run and will be either discontinued or scaled back tremendously.  Since November and December are prime time for toy sales, once the holiday nears or ends, you can find really good discounts available at the stores.   This will be a great time to shop for kids if you won’t be able to celebrate with them until after December 26th, so you can take advantage of the bargains. 

Many stores mark lots of toys on clearance, just after the holiday.  This can serve a couple of purposes.  First, it clears the aisles to make room for new, planned displays of merchandise, since most major retailers follow consistent merchandising guidelines, with each item location specifically called out for every single store.  In addition, it can lower the price of the returns done without receipts.  You know the drill; if you don’t have a receipt, you get the lowest sale price.  If the lowest sale price happens to occur the day after Christmas, even if you are in the store bright and early to make your return, you will get that lowest price.  It’s somewhat shady, but that’s the way it goes in the retail world.

Winter Apparel

Many stores and retail giants have realized the power of post-Christmas clearance sales and are working to maximize sales during the events.  This means finding ways to get shoppers to spend more money.  One of the ways to get them to spend more is to offer better discounts on non-seasonal merchandise, like winter apparel. 

If you have the need for anything winter related, like coats, hats and gloves, or boots, this will be a very good time to look.  For many years now, stores have worked hard to get into the upcoming season earlier than ever before.  There are many reasons for this, but they all help the consumer save money at earlier times.

As you spend some time and shop at after Christmas clearance sales, you’ll find they are a great way to save a lot of money.