Dollars & Sense columnist John Ewoldt searches the Twin Cities and beyond for bargains and strategies to spare you time, money and hassles.
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Posts about Storewide sales

Will shoppers flock to JC Penney's everyday low prices?

Posted by: John Ewoldt Updated: February 3, 2012 - 9:47 AM


JC Penney is giving many shoppers exactly what they say they want: Everyday low prices instead of frequent sales. Many shoppers say that if an item goes on sale every month or so, why not just leave the item at an

everyday low price, since that appears to be the real price anyway?


It's an interesting strategy created by JCP's new CEO Ron Johnson. A former Apple executive, Johnson saw how effective Apple's "no sales" formula worked for them. He noticed that Penney's had 590 separate sales last year with nearly three quarters of its products selling at discounts of 50 percent or more, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Its new strategy involves red, white and blue sales. Prices marked in red are everyday low values (40 percent off), white signifies month-long sale prices (seasonal, such as jewelry for Valentine's Day) and blue indicates best prices, which are offered the first and third Friday of each month. For example, in today's sale, winter coats, already marked 40 percent off, get an additional discount.

Kathy Miller of Bloomington, who shops Herberger's and Penney's, isn't so sure about the change. "I like a sale," she said. "Otherwise, it loses its impact and intrigue." Miller's comments probably don't seem logical to someone who doesn't want to have to wait for a sale, but she's on to something. Without the advertising and the urgency to shop before it's over, a shopper may not go in at all. The sale reminds our heads that we desire something. Everyday low pricing translates to "out of sight, out of mind."

Johnson also plans physical changes to the stores' dowdy, aging image. Stores will be departmentalized at the expense of JCP's private labels, which will be curtailed. That means that brand names will have designated areas. Let's hope that putting designers into their separate areas, which Macy's, Kohl's and Herberger's are already doing, also includes a facelift.

Comparing Penney's and Herberger's at Southdale earlier this week, I noticed brighter colors, brighter lights, faster music, and a lot more shoppers at Herberger's. I might attribute that to the newness of Herberger's (its Southdale store opened late last year), but why aren't Penney's TV ads for its new concept bringing in customers yet? And where is the celebration of the new concept within the store? There were a few signs near customer service describing the changes, but otherwise nothing. The ceilings, store displays and racks were sign-less.  

Maybe this new concept is getting what retailers call a "soft opening." The whole pricing strategy is a bold concept, and JCP's advertisements reflect that, but nothing in the store looks bold and exciting yet, except the prices. 

Let's hope Penney's makes this work, but they've got a long way to go. Will the everyday low prices bring you to Penney's?  


Steals and sales: Where are the best ones in the Twin Cities?

Posted by: John Ewoldt Updated: January 23, 2012 - 9:51 AM



In Monday's article about some of the best sales between now and the end of June a couple of sales were deleted for space. They are listed below. If you know of a good sale that I've missed, let me know for a possible future mention.

The second half of the sale calendar for sales between July and December usually runs mid to late june. 



Through MondayJan. 23: Roma 11-inch frozen pizzas in eight flavors by Bernatello’s for $1.39 each, usually $2 to $3 each. Also: mattress protectors for allergy sufferers for about $15 starting Tuesday Jan. 24 and fragrances from J Lo, Beyoncé, Celine Dion, Polo, Stetson and Tim McGraw for $8 to $18 before Valentine’s Day.


April 25: Aldi hanging basket promotion (23 Twin Cities locations, Ten-inch hanging flower baskets for $6 (impatiens, begonias and assorted). Also, trees and shrubs at the end of April and more hanging baskets on May 9.




The Galleria's mall-wide clearance starts today

Posted by: John Ewoldt Updated: January 20, 2012 - 11:07 AM

The Galleria's winter clearance starts today and continues through Sunday. Most stores will participate , although don't expect banquet tables stacked with clearance merchandise perched in front of each storefront. It's the Galleria in Edina where sales, like everything else, are discreet, not shouted from the rooftops as if it were a monster truck rally. 

Here's a sampling of the savings: 

 Arafina:         Save 70-80% on fall and winter styles.

Blue Willi's:  Enjoy additional savings on fall and winter styles.

Dugo:   Additional savings on already reduced sale items.

Epitome: Save up to 20% on fall and winter collections and 30% on select spring merchandise.


Gabberts:  Take an additional 10% off already reduced Odds & Ends.



Hammer Made: Save 50% on shirts, ties, sweaters and more.
H.O.B.O.: Find holiday and winter savings as well as a sweater sample sale.

Melly: Take an additional 25% off all sale merchandise.

Oh Baby!: Forty to 50 percent off select oh baby! brand clothing.

Pendleton:  Various in-store promotions.

Pumpz & Co.: Additional savings on fall clearance items.

Que Sera: Thirty to 70 percent discounts off most items during the moving sale.

Scandia Down: Twenty percent off on all Scandia Down products including comforters, pillows and linens. Save an additional 50 percent on white sale linens.

Schmitt Music; Upper-line band instruments are discounted 20 to 50 percent. The store is opening in a new location near Southdale soon.

Styledlife: Save 50 percent on men’s and women’s select winter essentials, including scarves, hats and gloves.

Trail Mark:  Save 20-80 percent on select merchandise.

Twill by Scott Dayton: Up to 80 percent off  remaining 2010 merchandise. Save 40 percent on all fall 2011 collections.

Whymsy: Save 20-80 percent on select merchandise.

Some stores aren't participating in the clearance event because, well, they don't have to: Bang & Olufsen, Tiffany,California Closets and Louis Vuitton.





Architectural Antiques 50% off everything sale Monday, Dec. 19

Posted by: John Ewoldt Updated: December 19, 2011 - 8:16 AM



One of the Twin Cities best salvage stores, Architectural Antiques in Minneapolis, is discounting everything 50 percent from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. today (Dec. 19). AA, which is considered pricey compared to other other highly regarded salvage shops, Bauer Brothers and Guilded Salvage, also in Minneapolis, contains a treasure trove of antique and vintage lighting, leaded and prairie glass windows, wood mantles, doors, entryways, original hardware, iron work, vintage plumbing, and religious artifacts. Normally, the owners offer 40 percent off during these storewide sales so this is an extra savings.


While I tend to believe that AA's selection and quality are best, if you think the price is too high even at a 50 percent savings, try Bauer Brothers or Guilded Salvage. Note: Guilded Salvage is closed Mondays.


For a map of all three shops, click here.

Deer widow deals on Coach handbags, leather furniture & dble coupons

Posted by: John Ewoldt Updated: November 4, 2011 - 9:36 AM

Veteran's Day isn't until Friday, Nov. 11, but Albertville Premium Outlets are jumping the gun on the deals at quite a few stores. They're calling them deer widows weekend deals. The first 100 shoppers in several stores get scratch cards for additional savings.

But several of the Albertville stores also have Veteran's Day specials already listed on their website. Here are some of the better ones:

Adidas: Buy one item and get one at 50 percent off through Nov. 9.


Coach: An additional 30 percent storewide for the month of November.


Ann Taylor: Entire store 40 percent off through Nov. 13. At Ann Taylor Loft save an additional 30 percent storewide Nov. 9-15.

Le Crueset: Visit the store and receive a coupon for additional savings of 25-35 percent off all non-discounted items. The offer is good through Nov. 23.

Wilson Leather: The entire store is 70 percent off (including clearance) Nov. 8-13.

Yankee Candle: Buy two and get one free through Nov. 15.


Rosenthal Furniture in Minneapolis understands its downtown customers. Not all of its furniture is smaller scale but the selection includes pieces that someone living in a smaller bunglow or loft can appreciate. During its leather and upholstery sale starting Saturday (Nov. 5), everything, including special orders, is discounted an additional 10 to 40 percent. 

Rainbow canceled its double coupon day on Saturdays recently but is bringing it back this Saturday, Nov. 5. Get up to 10 (not five) coupons doubled up to $1 each.


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