Labor Day sales: What to expect this year

Labor Day heralds the end of summer, but it also has come to represent the close of the holiday shopping season. Labor Day sales are a great time to score end-of-summer travel deals and patio furniture clearance, but avoid the plasma TVs. 

Reed Saxon/AP/File
Sale signs adorn the door of an Urban Outfitters retailer on the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica, Calif. Labor day sales are a great for scoring deals on travel and patio furniture.

Pack up the grills and bust out the sweaters, folks: Labor Day heralds the end of summer! A holiday that honors workers, the first Monday in September has also come to represent the close of the summer shopping season. As such, Labor Day sales are a great time to score end-of-summer travel deals and patio furniture clearance. Unfortunately, September's relative proximity to November means you're bound to run into some pre-Black Friday price increases — which is why Labor Day isn't the time to buy a plasma TV.

We've consulted price trends past and current to put together our 2014 Labor Day buying guide. Read on to get the skinny on this year's sales!

Shop Early for Labor Day Weekend Getaways

Long before other Labor Day sales begin, you can book a weekend getaway. For the last couple years, we've seen travel deals that take up to 30% off select hotel stays. Usually, these Labor Day sales start the first week of August and run through the first week of September. This year's sales are already in full swing, but they're upping the ante: we've seen up to 30% off with an extra 5% off onhotel stays from, and Orbitz' Labor Day sale is taking up to 50% off with an additional 15% off! It all adds up to quite the bargain if you're looking for one last summer escape.

Luxury Clothing You Don't Have to Work For

Call us Alanis Morissette, but we think it's a little too ironic that you'll find some of the season's best deals on luxury apparel during a holiday that's devoted to the working class. While only 10% of Labor Day clothing sales have been marked Editors' Choice over the past two years, we've seen particularly good deals from normally top-dollar retailers and outlets like Saks OFF 5thRalph LaurenTory Burch,DKNY, and Nordstrom. Last year, we even saw Jimmy Choo shoes for up to 70% off at Rue La La!

In terms of discounts, you can expect to see lots of Labor Day clearance sales. Meant to move out the last of summer and early fall styles, these offers can take up to an extra 60% off already-reduced prices. Just don't expect to see anything impressive in terms of sitewide coupons; the most popular discount last year was a measly 20% off. Despite the Jimmy Choo savings we mentioned above, Labor Day shoe sales can leave a lot to be desired. For what it's worth, you'll start seeing boot sales begin in earnest around this holiday — last year, 6pm took up to 80% off select styles during Labor Day weekend.

Prices Heat Up on the Patio

Labor Day brings summer's last sales, so it only makes sense that we typically see huge discounts on the warm weather-dependent category of patio furniture. Last year, retailers like Lowe'sWalmart, and Target took up to 75% off patio furniture clearance during Labor Day. Of course, as we noted in our 4th of July buying guide, merchants have been offering steep discounts on patio furniture earlier than ever this year. So it's hardly surprising that Kmart announced its patio furniture clearance event in mid-August this year, taking — you guessed it — up to 75% off these outdoor items. Could that sale herald heretofore unheard-of patio clearance discounts on Labor Day? We hope so!

If you're determined to save big on outdoor cooking, then Labor Day weekend should represent thestart of your grill-shopping season. Labor Day weekend certainly offers noteworthy grill deals: last year, Walmart offered a 4-burner gas grill for just $147. However, the grill prices only get lower as you go through the month of September! Keep that in mind when you see grill prices plummet by up to 20% during the holiday.

Put Away Your Plasma TV Money — For Now

With everybody and his neighbor pulling out of plasma technology, the cost of these premium televisions has been in free fall this year. But recently we've seen a steady price increase on these sets, especially the popular 50" to 60" sets from LG and Samsung. Prices for 50" TVs have been slowly climbing back up since they cratered at around $400 in July, and the best price we've seen all year for a 60" set was all the way back in April, at $600. Plasma may be dying out, but we're betting we won't see those bargain basement prices again until Black Friday season. If you do see a $400 plasma television on Labor Day, then snap it up; otherwise, we think you should wait.

Labor Day is the last long weekend of the summer, which means it's your last chance to score many seasonal items at the lowest prices they'll see all year. Just remember to take some time away from shopping to chill — saving so much money is hard work, and you've earned it!

Marcy Bonebright is a features writer for, where this article first appeared:

of stories this month > Get unlimited stories
You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Unlimited digital access $11/month.

Get unlimited Monitor journalism.