Presidents Day 2012 Sales May be More Disappointing Than Last Year

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While Presidents Day's 2012 sales may feature deeper discounts than those of winter holiday promotions, they may not be as money-saving as those of last year's Presidents Day, according to

Jeff Contray, managing editor at, said he has not seen discounts as strong as those of 2011. Last year most of the best sales launched the Friday before the holiday weekend. The most popular sale with readers last year, a 70 percent discount off lighting at Home Depot, launched the morning of Presidents Day.

This year, Old Navy already launched a promotion on Thursday for customers who purchase an adult pair of jeans for $19 between Feb. 16 and 29. Those customers will receive an Old Navy "Denim Price Lock" card, locking in the $19 sale price for up to three more pairs through May. From Feb. 23 to 29, customers can purchase kids' jeans and lock in the $12 price for their next three jeans purchases through May.

But overall, Contray said, the majority of Presidents Day sales were better last year.

For example, this year Aéropostale is offering a 50 percent discount on its website during its Presidents Day sale.

Although this seems a strong promotion, last year it offered 50 to 80 percent off for Presidents Day, and 50 to 70 percent off as recently as December, Contray said.

Similarly, Sears is offering up to 50 percent off select tools as part of its current Presidents Day sale. In 2011, the department store discounted tools by up to 65 percent.

Contray said he does not anticipate any wildly new promotions this year.

"Nearly every merchant that is running a Presidents Day sale this year offered one in previous years," Contray said.

Nevertheless, Presidents Day apparel sales may offer better deals than the recent Black Friday (the day after Thanksgiving) and Cyber Monday (three days after Thanksgiving), according to personalized online shopping site, Shop It To Me.

Based on data from over 150 retailers, that site found that Presidents Day sales averaged 46.7 percent off apparel, shoes and accessories, outpacing those of Black Friday, which averaged up to 42.1 percent off, and Cyber Monday, which saw discounts of 41.1 percent.

Shop It To Me, which launched in 2005 in San Francisco, also compiled Presidents Day sales and promotions from 40 retailers. Among Feldman's favorites are those of J. Crew, which is offering a 20 percent discount off online orders of $150 or more, and Nordstrom, which is offering a 40 percent clearance on shoes, with free shipping and returns. Tamra Feldman, Shop It To Me's vice president of marketing, said she has a handful of go-to sites.

She said she visits the men and women's online store for J.Crew because you can "always get more staples and throw in fun pieces," and women's apparel retailer, Intermix, which has a great website "to be inspired with new styles" and offers a fun shopping experience.

J.Crew is offering a 20 percent discount off online orders of $150 or more while Intermix is offering an extra 60 percent off select styles plus free shipping over $150.

Feldman said apparel categories that may have noticeable discounts are in women's suits and winter apparel.

According to Shop It To Me's daily analysis of over 150 online retailers, February featured the best discounts on women's work suits compared with other months of the year. Because this winter has so far been unseasonably warm, Feldman said she is waiting to see if retailers will cut prices on those goods accordingly.

"I expect retailers have a fair amount of excess inventory that they want to move as they prepare for spring," she said.