This Labor Day, retailers are doing what they can to motivate shoppers, who are feeling squeezed by high food and gas prices. Despite weak consumer spending, the National Retail Federation estimates that some categories, including electronics, will be stronger than last year. One reason is that parents, about 20 percent of whom have saved a portion of their tax rebates for back-to-school purchases, will buy computers and cellphones to help their kids get ready for the new academic year.
Still, the federation says consumers will be looking for discounts wherever they can find them. Here are some of the top deals retailers are offering this Labor Day:
The deal: The Internet retailer will give customers up to 65 percent off more than 400 kitchen and home products. The sale applies to products ranging from food processors to a Rachael Ray cookware set to down comforters. The discount website Dealhack.com is also directing shoppers to discounts of up to 50 percent on High Sierra backpacks and messenger bags.
The deal: The home furnishings giant from Sweden is offering up to 50 percent off some of its items, including certain side tables, floor lamps, and chairs. Added bonus: Some of its stores will serve free breakfast until 10:30 to keep power shoppers fortified.
The deal: Ten percent off appliances, including refrigerators, stoves, and dishwashers, but shoppers must use a Sears card. On some items, the store will also throw in free delivery (with a mail-in rebate) or no interest for 24 months.
The deal: All kinds of free shipping deals will let customers avoid paying for delivery on clothing orders over $49, home or bed and bath orders over $79, and fitness and sports orders over $150. Plus, shoppers can get discounts on baby gear and mattresses.
The deal: Students can buy a new Mac and get a free iPod. In practice, it's a little bit more complicated than just picking up your free mp3 player—you have to shell out for both the Mac and the iPod, before September 15, and then you are eligible for a rebate of up to $299 for the iPod. Plus, some shoppers may end up spending more than they need to, because most students don't need to head off to school with a shiny new iPod, or a pricey Mac, for that matter. Lower-cost computers can be found by comparison shopping online. Consumers who do go for the deal need to remember to file for their rebate, something consumers usually forget to do.
The deal: The megaretailer is offering free shipping on many of its back-to-school items—but the merchandise doesn't ship to your home, it ships to the store closest to you. The benefit is that you have access to hundreds ofe items that may not be carried in your local store. But if you need the items right away, the 7 to 10 day wait won't cut it.
The deal: Target is offering free shipping on many products, including baby gear, electronics, and furniture, through August 30.
The deal: Starbucks has ramped up its rewards card program, which now includes free refills on brewed coffee drinks as well as free soy milk. Since the program launched in April, over a million customers have signed up. The downside is that consumers have to keep track of another card in their wallet, and if they forget to use it, they effectively lose the money they've stored on the card.