The Best Buys in a Bad Economy

By Constance Gustke

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Photo by iStock Photo

The Deal: Furniture

Why Now?
The sluggish housing market caused furniture sales to slide 25 percent in 2009, the steepest decline in decades, says Jerry Epperson, a managing director at Mann, Armistead & Epperson, which tracks furniture trends. To move inventory, he says, retailers have set prices at least 15 percent lower than a year ago, are holding more sales, and are offering more incentives.

How to Get the Most for Your Money
Look for new programs that encourage you to buy, says Warren Shoulberg, editor of Home Furnishing News. Some stores have borrowed the cash-for-clunkers idea, for example, by giving you $100 off a new sofa if you bring in your old one. Department stores are offering package deals (for instance, buy the bed and they'll throw in the bedding) and financing deals (buy now and pay nothing until 2011).

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