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How to Shop the Biggest Luxury Department Store Sales Like a Pro

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Kate MurphyGuest Blogger
May 23, 2016 · 5.5k Views

Ask the savviest of shoppers and they will tell you there is a strategy to what they do. Hunting down the best sales takes careful thought and preparation. Timing is key. This is especially true when shopping the sales at luxury department stores. Bergdorf Goodman, Saks Fifth Avenue, Bloomingdales hold their major sales at certain times of the year. Mastering the art sales shopping at anyone on these retailers can be made easy, you just have to know when to look. Follow these pro tips and you’ll be able to cultivate a designer wardrobe without breaking the bank.

How to Shop the Biggest Sales

For the most part, stores stay hush when it comes to advertising annual sales. This can make it difficult for shoppers to formulate a game plan. But careful monitoring of sales trends has uncovered that many luxury department stores offer the highest discounted prices on a set cycle.

Annual, Semi-Annual, End of Season, and Anniversary Sales 

Be sure to leave a space for Saks Fifth Avenue on your sales shopping calendar. Its Semi-Annual Sale happens in summer and runs through the end of June. You can expect markdowns of up to 65%. The Annual Sale, also known as the Day After Christmas Sale draws a throng of deal-hungry shoppers who queue up outside the flagship store in the freezing temps waiting for the doors to open at 8 am. Merchandise is discounted 50% off the lowest price until noon. You’ve been warned - the scene is mass chaos. But worth it for the chance to snatch up those coveted Christian Louboutin pumps. The store brought back its consolidation sale event last July. The mega-sale boasts discounts up to 70%. But you’ll have to fully commit – any merchandise over 60% off can’t be returned.

Keep Nordstrom’s Anniversary Sale and Half-yearly Sales on your radar. This year, the Anniversary Sale will take place July 22 – August 7. Look for brand-new, just-arrived styles at super-sale prices. Held each spring and fall, the store’s Half-yearly sale offers markdowns of up to 50%.

Bergdorf Goodman’s major markdown event is aptly called the Grand Finale sale and it happens in January. You can expect discounts of up to 75% off and 25% off the sale price. A prospect of updating your closet with the likes of Prada, Tom Ford, and Givenchy at a fraction of the original price is something to get excited about, no?

Also happening in January is Barneys’ Winter Sale. Patient post-holiday shoppers wait to find deals of up to 75% off the regular price. The store follows up with a Spring/Summer Sale. Regular prices are slashed up to 40% making this a great time to invest in labels such as Lanvin, Chloe, and Céline. Markdowns are known to reach up to 60% off.

Keep a watchful eye out for Bloomingdale’s Big Brown Bag Sale, which is held around President’s Day, Memorial Day, and in September for Back to School shopping. The sale is structured as a “buy more, save more” with up to 20-60% off select merchandise. The Bloomingdale’s Friends and Family Sale happens in early April, early June, September, and November. The savings aren’t as big. Still, the fashion-minded consider it a small treat with markdowns of up to 25% off regular and sale priced items.

Additional Tips On How to Take Full Advantage of Luxury Department Store Sales Shopping

So now that you know when to shop for sales, are there additional steps that can be taken to get the most for your dollar? The answer is yes.

1. Sign up for email.

The last thing any of us really wants are more promotional emails filling our inbox. We can make exceptions though, especially if it means getting the heads up from stores about designer sales.

2. Make frequent visits to stores' websites.

Checking out the websites of your favorite stores is wise for a couple of reasons. Often, sales announcements are bannered on the home page with additional information. For example, Nordstrom is currently advertising a “Save the Date” for its Anniversary Sale. Secondly, you can put together a lust list of your favorite items on which to focus your sale shopping energy.

3. Shop online.

If the thrill of the physical hunt is too much for you, investigate how sales apply online. Many stores offer the same deals to online shoppers throughout the year.

You don’t have to be a fashion industry insider or market analyst to anticipate the sales cycle. With some know-how, planning, and a little practice, you too can master the skills need to anticipate sales trends and become a seasoned shopper.


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Kate Murphy is a native of Pennsylvania. After receiving a degree in art history, she moved to New York City to test the waters. She enjoys writing about art, culture, fashion, design, and travel. In addition to writing, Kate works with artists, leads, street art tours, and moonlights as an illustrator.