State of the Sample Sale
Sample sales have long been one of New York City’s greatest passions and over the past few years, the scene has exploded. At the end of 2010, bargainistas had dozens of sales to choose from almost every day. You could hit a shoe sale at 8am, buy a handbag at 10, drop in for some home wares at noon, and spend the afternoon at a seemingly-endless rotation of apparel sales. Since the new year began, however, the number of sales in the city has dropped precipitously. What’s up with that?
There are several possible culprits. The first is, in fact, the prevalence of sample sales before the holidays. The prices were good and the goods were moving, so it’s very possible most merchandise just got snapped up then, leaving little to no need for further sales this winter. If that’s the case, prepare for a long few months until this season’s merchandise is blessedly sample sale ready.
There’s also the weather issue: in case you’ve been living under a rock (in which case, we’re jealous of your warmth), the past few months have been punishingly cold and snowy. Sample sales require both staff and customers to show up, and in this weather, perhaps retailers have decided they’re not worth the hassle.
Finally, online sample sales like Gilt, HauteLook, and RueLaLa loom large as the potential killers of the brick and mortar sale. While it is true that the online sample sale emails have shown no signs of slowing, there are still indisputable advantages to an in-person sale. You can make sure clothes fit before you buy them, for one thing, and you can also inspect the quality of the merchandise. This writer recently ordered a pair of Timberland boots from RueLaLa: so chic and steampunk in pictures, so cheap looking in person.
Is the sample sale dead? No. Like many a freezing, exhausted New Yorker, it’s just in hibernation. Save your pennies – we’re betting spring is going to be huge.
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