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GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Presidents Day is a day in which the country commemorates true American heroes, but it also marks retailers' first major sales event of the season.

Some stores, including Walmart, Macy's and Best Buy kicked off Presidents Day sales two weeks ago, and if the trend holds similar to that of last year, sales at most stores could last longer than two weeks.

According to DealNews.com, among this year's top sale items include winter apparel, laptops and mattresses. Forbes cites Shop It To Me in claiming Presidents Day sales on such items are actually better than those on Black Friday.

DealNews.com lists several of the biggest deals, including Bass Pro Shops' $.74 baits and free shipping for online orders (with coupon code FREEFEB). IKEA is selling up to 80 percent off select items--a deal DealNews.com says is the best the store has offered all year. Shutterfly has 40 percent off sitewide (with coupon code PREZ 40). Yankee Candle currently is offering its $1 one-day sale on most candles, air fresheners and wax melts.

Walmart has up to 52 percent off on more than 230 items, including tablets, TVs and laptops. Best Buy has similar offers on electronics. Sears has up to 75 percent off select fine jewelry and 50 to 60 percent off select mattresses. Dell has up to 81 percent off laptops, desktops, tablets and electronics, and all orders are free to ship.

Deal experts warn consumers that as they take advantage of the discounts, they also must beware of exclusions on certain items. They also suggest consumers consider waiting before buying a new smart phone. The Mobile World Convention in Spain is scheduled for the end of February, and some newer smart phone models are expected to be unveiled at that conference.