NEW YORK — It’s not too early to think about strategies for finding the best bargains after Dec. 25.
Stores plied shoppers with discounts during the holiday shopping season, but bargain hunters can get deeper markdowns immediately after Christmas as retailers make room for new merchandise.
Still, finding post-Christmas bargains at traditional merchants is more challenging now than it was a few years ago.
Stores are protecting themselves by stocking fewer products. They don’t want another repeat of the holiday 2008 bust. That year, stores slashed prices by as much as 70 percent early in the season and still had heaps of leftovers in January.
“You are going to find isolated bargains” now, said Jodi Furman, writer of the Live FabuLess blog, which offers tips on spending wisely. Shoppers have to check out different types of stores and surf the Web for deals, she added.
Here are tips for post-Christmas spending:
Survey the scene. Scope out retailers’ shelves before Christmas to see what they have in surplus and to figure out what you want to target. For example: Looking for a fur coat? You’re in luck this year. A mild winter has depressed shoppers’ appetite for cold weather items.
Arnold Aronson, managing director of retail strategies at consulting firm Kurt Salmon, said, “Cold weather items don’t age like wine.” Many retailers will discount outerwear by up to 80 percent after Christmas, he said.
Shop online Christmas Day. With most stores not open, shoppers should check out online sales. Bargain hunters should also start researching that day on deal sites such as dealnews.com and fatwallet.com.
Shop in advance for holiday 2012. Wrapping paper, lights, and greeting cards are already being reduced by up to 50 percent. They’ll be as much as 90 percent off the day after Christmas, according to Dan de Grandpre, editor-in-chief of deal aggregator Web site Dealnews.com.
Take advantage of shopper’s remorse. Shoppers were willing to buy this holiday season, but they have also been returning purchases at a rapid clip as they realize they just spent too much. Take advantage of that. Check out second-hand stores in your area or sites like Craigslist to grab others’ unwanted items that weren’t returned to stores.