March 2020

Mattress Sale must end today

You know it goes on. You know these mattress 'Sales' happen every Bank Holiday and more often than not, any day you just happen to be looking for a new bed! This article will walk you through some the techniques and sneaky tactics used in mattress sales to make you part with your cash as quickly as possible with the aim of helping you avoid them. So if you want to save money buying a bed and avoid being ripped off then read on.

Updated 2020: You’ll have seen many bed retailers slashing their prices during various times of the year. The sale must end today and half-price discounts can easily tempt you to look at their offerings. Just visit any mattress showroom or online retailer and there’s bound to be a time-limited sale, discount code, coupon or too good to be true offer. But do you know if this price ever even existed or if the new ‘sale’ price is really a good bargain at all? We investigate using examples from the main bed retailers here in the UK.

Red for sale sign
Rather than Fake sales, we offer Interest-Free Credit and Extra discounts to subscribers with our clearance range of beds

The main issue with mattress and bed ‘sales’ is that you don’t know if the ‘was‘ price has any bearing on the ‘now‘ price. Trading Standards rules on ‘sales’ are vigorously enforced. With that in mind, it can rightly be assumed that items with a ‘was’ and ‘now’ price can only be right – after all, these are usually big companies who do not want to fall foul of the law. So it must be true, surely?

Bed Sales Explained

The trick to knowing whether a mattress ‘Sale’ is genuine or not is to be able to work out the original value of the mattress to begin with. We’ve written in detail about how to choose a mattress and the below is a quick summary of the detail you need to know to work out the value of a mattress.

Half Price Mattress Sales

You see a mattress advertised was £500 now £250. How can you tell for sure if this is correct? Firstly, it will be correct but the ‘was’ price could have been any price you care to think of even, was £1,000 now £250. The ‘was’ price has absolutely no bearing on the supposed worth of the mattress.

I heard a story of a manufacturer who makes beds for a large retail bed chain on the high street. One bed in question was produced specifically for an upcoming ‘Bed Sale’. While the order was being manufactured, a few of these beds were displayed in stores at a retail price of around £1000. At sale time, it was advertised at half price was £1000 now £500.

The bed in question, even when sold at £500, was probably still overpriced for what it was. But the impression you would have come to in a sale was that it looks like such a bargain. If a bed or mattress is advertised at half price then logically, twice that price should be the real ‘worth’ of the item. If you had compared the specification of the bed above, to others with a value of £500 you would have easily found out that you could have got a much better specification bed for your £500.

Divans vs bedstead bases
Browse our Range of Interest Free Credit Mattresses

Bed Sale RRP Explained

The same is true with RRP (Recommended retail price) or SRP (Suggested retail price). These terms mean diddly squat. Manufacturers have no legal say on how much a retailer should sell their products for they can, of course, refuse to supply retailers who don’t toe the line on the retail price of their products!

On Silentnight’s website, they advertise some models from their core range. One, for example, is the ‘Radiance’ (Miracoil 3 / memory foam) Silentnight gives this model (Single) a guide price of £419. And yet, as far as I can see online, no one sells it at this price. The lowest price I have found is £279 but tagged with RRP £419. Save £140. In this case, Silent night gives a disclaimer on their site with regards to the price to say that ” *These indicative prices reflect those offered by retailers.  However, you may pay more or less than this.”

Did you know that a bed RRP means it only needs to have been sold for that price in one store in the chain of hundreds?
Did you know that a bed RRP means it only needs to have been sold for that price in one store in the chain of hundreds?
Sale Prices can mislead customers into thinking beds are worth more. Without checking the GSM & upholstery you wont know.
Sale Prices can mislead customers into thinking beds are worth more. Without checking the GSM & upholstery you wont know.

So what does this bed sale price tell you?

Silentnight has placed an indicative ‘value’ of £419  for this particular single mattress. They give their selected retailers a choice of selling it for more or less than this. With the above (true) example, you have found it for £279. Have you actually saved £140? or have you paid £279 the actual  ‘worth‘ of the mattress? Only by comparing it to other ‘like for like’ models will you know the real answer and find the actual worth.

Origins Pocket 1500
Caution must be taken with sales to work out the mattresses true original value. Click here to see the detail you should expect to be able to work this out.

When doing price comparisons, even in the store, always price up the mattress only, and the (no storage) base separately. You will then get a truer price of the supposed mattress quality. You will soon come to see that either the mattress is overpriced with an equally overpriced base or there will be no option to buy the mattress separately (see below).

Bed Sale Examples showing unusual pricing tactics

It’s worthwhile using a few examples that we have tracked to show you how price fluctuations with mattresses move around, especially to enable huge ‘Sale savings’.

Argos Silentnight Sherwood Memory (Kingsize)

  • Mattress Only: £779.99
  • Base and mattress: £1229.99
    Incidentally, another little thing to keep an eye on is the way the stuff is priced. How many of you do I wonder have already worked out that the no storage base above has a massive cost of £450.00? The nines are there not to add less than a quid on the price of a £800 mattress, but just a guess to deter you making a quick mental calculation.

If it was rounded up to:

  • Mattress only: £780.00
  • Base and mattress £1230.00
  • Base alone: £450.
  • It is a lot easier to calculate and to work out how much you are being asked to pay for the (overpriced) base.

Update 1:  This is absolutely scandalous! Have a look at the base. For starters, the castors are what you would expect to find on a basic divan set, not one that you are being asked to pay £450 for. My betting is on the fact that sooner, rather than later this will be on offer for half price. I shall keep my eye on this model and if I am right (or wrong) I will post the result here.

Update 2: (A month later) What did I tell you. The Silentnight Sherwood no storage Divan is now half price at £614.99 (was: £1229.99).  The mattress has also been ‘reduced’ to half price to £389.99 (was: £779.99).

Update 3. (Two months later) The link above does not work anymore and as far as I can see the Sherwood model has been removed from the listing.

Bensons for Beds Sale – Silentnight Miracoil Mattress (Kingsize)

Bensons for Beds is another prime of example. They sell the Silentnight Miracoil Zone 5 double mattress for £425.52 but after the ‘Sale’, it will be £999.99.

Now there is no other retailer that sells this model it is exclusive to Bensons for Beds, so how can it be valued at £999.99? Either Bensons for Beds normally has an incredibly high markup or Silentnight is selling Bensons for Beds an incredibly expensive mattress. Incidentally, when I did my price checks in January and the Sale was still going on still with the claim “After Sale Price – £999.99”

Spunbond XR
RRP & Sale Prices can be utterly misleading. Many models have never even been sold at their full price!

Update 1: The £425.52  ‘sale’ price has been increased to £499.99  with the ‘was’ price still at £999.99
Update 2: (A Month Later) Price increased to £539.99 – after-sale price £1079.99)
Update 3: (2 Months Later) Now VAT Free! at £449.99 – sale price £539.99
Update 4: (3 Months Later)  Sale price £539.99 – after-sale price: £1079.99)

We have now monitored this one particular item for well over a year – so how long is this ‘sale’ going on for? and when exactly was the ‘was £1079.99′ price ever implemented?’  Definitely not in the last 12 months!!

mattress retailer
Confused by choice and price fluctuations? Visit our shop were we detail everything inside our models.

Update 5: (12 Months later) The Silentnight Miracoil Zone 5 is no longer on Bensons for Beds site. Seems to have been exchanged for Silentnight Zone 4 with a sale price of £469.99 and a was price of £939.99

Update 6: (18 Momths Later) The Miracoil Zone 4 is still in the ‘sale’ for £469.99 and a ‘was’ price of £939.99.

The point of this small example is that there is no such thing as a genuine half price mattress sale. If there were, it would mean that the retailer would be selling a mattress at half the ‘worth’ price. This was a difficult topic to write openly about. Obviously, I had to resource my limited comments with due diligence. If anyone has any objections or criticism to my post then please publicly place them below. All other comments are very welcome.

White cashmere
Without assessing what’s in a mattress you have no way of working out if the sale price is a good deal or not.

It was interesting to note that Which? did a more intensive probe over seven months culminating in July 2010. They analysed 12,793 on-line prices for 330 sofas and beds and concluded that ‘offers’ from seven out of eight major stores they tracked- could mislead customers. The seven shops they refer to and monitored were: Bensons for Beds / DFS / Dreams / Furniture Village / Harveys / SCS / Sleepmasters.

The remaining store they tracked and found to buck this trend was Bed Shed, with sales typically lasting four weeks out of the thirty-two weeks monitoring period.

Mattress Sales that last far longer than the RRP period

All this research and investigation into mattress sales shows one main trend. That retailer will often only list a model at its full price for a limited period of time, sometimes only in one store out of many. The sale price is more akin to the real expected price for that mattress. So you need to bear this in mind, rather than thinking of the ‘discount’ you’re getting you should be thinking, is this mattress good value for money?

Bensons for Beds: Fiji Deluxe Bed was on sale for seven months which during that time it was never sold at either £599.99 or £699.99 the quoted higher price. There was also an ‘Extra Discount Price’ on The Ashleigh Divan at £399.00 despite this being the Original Sale Price. They report that Bensons for Beds used this ‘Extra Discount’ price for eleven weeks after Christmas before the same price simply became a ‘sale’ again.

Sleepmasters: Opulence Double Divan was on ‘Sale’ for either £989.99 or £1099.95 over the same period of time but never for the higher price of £2199.95.

How to work out the quality of a sale mattress?

We have written a series of articles here explaining exactly what to expect for different price points of retail mattresses. This will help arm you to be able to interpret sale prices vs real-life quality. There is a lot to cover but if you know your budget these guides will help explain exactly what to look for to save you being ripped off or potentially buying a poor mattress.

  1. What to expect from a £500 Mattress
  2. What to expect from a £750 Mattress
  3. What to expect from a £1000 Mattress
  4. What to expect from a £1250 Mattress

Why doesn’t John Ryan Have Sales?

The last twenty years or so have seen how the ‘sales’ tag sparks interest in consumers looking for a bargain or deal. We have a very detailed article here on just why we won’t follow the same sales tactics as the big retailers do.  We don’t find them fair or in your best interests as the consumer. However, we do sometimes offer extra discounts off our Clearance mattress models from time to time as stock clearance. Were a real mattress bargain can be had.

Outlet models have been returned under our 60-Day Love it or Return it Guarantee are then sold at a significant discount. We also offer interest-free credit on all of our beds over £360 meaning you can spread the cost over 6 or 12 months making it far easier to buy the bed of your dreams. All of which avoids you needing to guess what the real value of the RRP is. We do sometimes offer mattress discount codes which you can see here.

What should I expect my money to get me in a mattress?

If you’re wondering what your hard-earned cash can buy you with a mattress we have a handy table below. Always make sure you check this against the ‘deal’ you’re looking at during that bed sale.

How much to spend on a double mattress?What can I expect for my money?
Under £500Will not get you much at best a 13.5 gauge open coil/cage sprung with a thin polyester layer or a solid foam mattress.
£500Entry level spunbond springs with some form of synthetic upholstery. Usually one sided mattresses.
£750The beginnings of a basic pocket springs unit with 800 – 1000 count. No substantial amount of filling other than foams and synthetic materials. Two sided models.
£1000Should get you away from most low ranges and into the mid-range pocket spring models.
£1250Should get you a decent pocket sprung mattress with some Natural Fibre content.
£1500Should get you many manufacturers mid-range models with Natural Fibres
£1500-£2000Should get you a Hand Made primarily Natural Fibre Quality Mattress
£2000+You should expect 100% Natural Fibres and Traditional Hand Made Construction Method.
£5000+A Bespoke Hand Made Sleep System, High-end Spring Units & Featuring the Worlds Most Luxurious Natural Fibres.

If something sounds too good to be true it usually is.  Take care can caution if you’re making decisions that have an RRP or sale price as part of that decision making.  You would be better using our mattress comparison tools, GSM and guidance articles to find a suitable mattress within a given budget point rather than simply being led by what may feel like ‘a bargain’.

Retailers have a number of tricks to make you feel that you need to make an urgent decision. You should always take your time when choosing a new mattress to ensure you pick the very best mattress for your requirements.

Our small expert friendly team are on hand to help you navigate this murky world and can be reached on 0161 437 4419.

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