Where to find the hot deals in July

By Lauren Davidson The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

July is all about clearance.

Retailers want to clear space for autumn shipments, says Dan Butler, VP of retail operations for the National Retail Federation.

Watch for

Apparel: Look for 40 percent to 70 percent off spring holdovers and beach gear. “Some retailers will get very aggressive and mark things down dirt cheap just to get rid of it,” Butler said.

Sandals: July introduces the best deals on sandals, and might include discounts from Steve Madden, Crocs, Polo Ralph Lauren and Teva, said Lindsay Sakraida at DealNews.com. Many national retailers will drop prices on flip-flops to under $5.

Garden/tools: Live plants are on a ticking clock, and garden centers will be shoving them out the door. July also begins sales on patio furniture.

And stores that don’t sell garden supplies year-round, like Big Lots, will attempt to clear the racks.

Also look for deals on general tool sets, accessories and storage units.

Wait for

Grills and sunglasses. Prices stay high while the sun shines.

“Black Friday” sales: Some retailers have hijacked the phrase, including stamping it on sort-of-summer sales. Don’t buy something just because of the sale’s name.

“It’s pretty obvious to most people that they’re not as good as Black Friday,” Sakraida said.

Back-to-school promotions: Retailers will receive shipments in July, so you might see some “first markdowns” on those products, especially in the young men’s, juniors and children’s departments. But they’re not rock-bottom prices, Butler said.