There's that solid week after New Year's when that sweet, but not state-of-the-art, camera or MP3 player seems like the best little gadget on Earth. Then the Consumer Electronics Show comes along on Jan. 7 and turns America's precious toys into the tech equivalent of Lincoln Logs.
No gizmos are immune, as companies roll out new laptops, netbooks, smart phones and other playthings with impunity. For techies and hard-line geeks, it's out with the old and in with the new. For the mainstream public, it's time to get a good price on the 1-gigabyte netbook you always wanted and the dozen-megapixel point-and-shoot you'll never need.
Of all of the post-holiday sale items, furniture has the tiniest window of opportunity. According to Jackie Hirschhaut, spokeswoman for the American Home Furnishings Alliance, new furniture hits showrooms at the end of January into February.
This gives consumers three weeks to capitalize on 10% to 50% discounts on tables, recliners, hutches and oversized sectionals that will dominate their living area for no good reason. However, this sector also instills the least urgency, as Hirschhaut says shoppers who miss these deals get another chance in six months when stock rotates again.
Post-holiday auto sales won't need to pair the words "cash" and "clunkers" to motivate sellers.
After an abysmal year, the auto industry received some good news in November from the Department of Commerce's Census Bureau, which reported sales up 1.6% from October and 1.5% from the same period last year. Meanwhile, in a rare burst of optimism from Michigan, the Ann Arbor-based Center for Automotive Research predicts that U.S. auto sales will jump 20% next year behind burgeoning demand and strengthened credit. Until then, dealers looking to unload last year's stock will resort to their annual post-holiday push to make way for new models.
Yes, you're tired of turkey, squash and potatoes at this point. We all are. This is why supermarket sale items look like a list of holiday leftovers once the last Christmas dinner plates have been cleared. Apples, clementines, cranberries and other seasonal items all need to go, and cheaply. This is why the food segment of the Consumer Price Index remained relatively unchanged for December 2008 and January 2009, and prices for fruits, vegetables and other foods eaten at home dipped. If you want to stock up for a long winter, stow away a bit of that bargain holiday bounty.
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