Guide to Sales Cycles for Rock Bottom Prices

Most products are ‘sales-priced’ at least once every three months. However, a typical sales price may not provide a great deal. Brand name product coupons also appear quarterly, on average, in Sunday newspaper inserts. Teaming those coupons with sales prices might give a great deal. The best deals, however, usually come along once a year. They are generally predictable, and knowing when rock bottom prices, along with coupons, will arrive is key to getting a rock bottom price and high level savings.

Sales cycles are often a function of nature. Produce comes in season once a year. Fresh fruits and vegetables are generally cheapest during the peak seasons. But, in addition to the fresh produce, canned and frozen produce has it’s own sales cycle. Last year’s freshly canned vegetables in last year’s labeling needs to be sold, making room for the new cans in newly designed packaging. And, since shelf space is limited in any store, end of season frozen and canned goods needs to move off of shelves to make room for other seasonal items.

Other sales cycles may not be so obvious. The following pages provide lists of rock bottom sale prices to look for, by month. In addition, here are a few tips to keep in mind when hoping for a great sale price:

New Products: Manufacturers typically launch promotions around new products. Look for clearance prices right before a new product is announced (if you take consumer surveys or are on email newsletters from brands, you will probably get advanced notice of new products). Slotting fees for products are expensive, and they need to make room for new products by selling off the old products.

Once a new product arrives, look for major promotions to clear the first wave of the product. Stores don’t stock products that don’t sell, so companies want to “prove” that the product should be stocked

New Packaging: No one likes to purchase “old” products, so any products packaged in holiday, special occasion, sporting event, or special promotion packaging will go on clearance after the event. Some of the largest packaged events include Easter, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas, but also Super Bowl/Football, World Series/Baseball, Olympics, etc. Special packaging is common for any “party foods”, like Pepsi, Coca-Cola, crackers, and chips.

Special Occasions: Store promotions of loss leaders and special deals are usually timed around special occasions. The “loss leader” is just that…they are designed to “lead” the customer in to the store. Most consumers shop at only one or two stores each week, so the 10 cent bottle of BBQ sauce goes in to the cart with hundreds of dollars on meat, produce, cleansers, and other items priced higher than at other stores that remove the potential savings.

Any food customized to a holiday (cookies, candy, sprinkles in colors, etc.) will be on clearance after the holiday. Examples might be refrigerated cookie dough in ghost shapes after Halloween, or Red/White/Blue sprinkles after July 4th.

National xxx Product Month/Week/Day: Manufacturers and stores like to coordinate their offers, even if they are competing for business. For example, if Planters peanuts go on sale, you might not really notice. But for “National Peanut Month”, if Planters, Sunkist, Skippy, Jif, etc. ALL put out sales and coupons, consumers are more likely to notice and to purchase them during the promotional period.

Links to sales cycles by month:


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  1. Good article. I’ve also noticed that when products have been recalled that they have more sales later on to gain back the consumers trust. Believe me the safest time for a product is after they have gotten into trouble.

  2. You are correct, they want to win back business, and get their name and product back onto shelves and into your homes as quickly as possible 🙂

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