January 6, 2017

Was the Bath & Body Works Semi-Annual Sale Sucky in Store This Year?


Ok, so, the Bath & Body Works Semi-Annual Sale started like on Christmas night or something. I remember telling myself, “Oh you have to pop online and see what they have!” After that mental conversation with myself, I had another one where I was like, “Oh, it can wait, they have so much in store you can head to the store and see what they have!” After that it turned into me browsing online like at 3AM on Boxing Day and again, I told myself, “Meh! You can get all this in stores versus paying shipping!”

Fast forward and it’s like wait, why is the Semi-Annual Sale so sucky in store this year?

So, I went to to Bath & Body Works store and they were kind of wiped out. I can remember the Semi-Annual Sale having boxes and boxes of stuff available. Fragrance mists, candles, accessories, you name it and it was on sale and it was on sale for cheap. This year, the two stores I went to had body creams, shower gels, and no matching fragrance mists and a slew of hand soaps but not much else. I thought I’d be able to get my hands on some Twisted Peppermint and Vanilla Bean Noel left overs and none were to be had. I was also thinking I’d be able to score that Gingerbread House Candle Luminary but gone too! Candle sleeves, accessories, etc..all gone!

Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t head over on Boxing Day to score anything. That’s def a prime day to grab the best pick of the litter! But I did head out a few days later and typically even after a few days the selection is pretty darn vast.

But this year, the sale is really, really disappointing and kind of slim pickings.

Did you score?

Or was your shops kind of low on sales too?

This is the first year that I felt like the offerings were kind of meh….! I also kind of feel relieved too, better for my wallet right?

About the Muse

Isabella MuseIsabella is just an average everyday geeky girl who doesn’t blend her eyeshadow correctly, wears too much blush, and hopes she never finds her holy grail products because she likes the thrill of the chase so much. Her mission is to bring you super honest reviews on makeup, skincare, fragrance and all things beauty. She’s in no way an expert on the topic and she sure as hell isn’t a super model. But she’s passionate about makeup and is seeking like-minded individuals that like pina coladas, getting caught in the rain, and ones that enjoy spending hundreds of dollars at Sephora without feeling buyer’s remorse. If you’re that person feel free to reach out and leave a comment or follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Bloglovin‘.

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  • Sara

    They’re owned by the same company as Victoria’s Secret and I said the same thing about the VS SAS! In store was lackluster and it took them a few days to put the sale online even (which was also meh). I was in the B&BW store the other night and was hoping to find some scrubs. Nope! Only lotion and mists and such, nothing fancy. Wonder if it’s a company wide strategy to dial back the sales?

    • Isabella Muse

      YES yes yes THIS! VS was very slim pickings also online was equally bad. And they put on the website, “Select gift sets on sale in store” versus having any on sale on the site. I was kind of shocked. Could be, either that or it was a really good year and they just don’t have anything left for the sales. In that case=AWESOME!

      • Sara

        I read VS sales were down 4% this year and b&bw only up 1%. So who knows what they’re thinking!

  • Heather

    Oh geez, along with BBW, their ‘sister’ company, VS, was awful too. VS no longer sells clothing, shoes, ‘makeup’ (unless it’s a lipgloss, yawn), and seriously, there’s only so many bras 1 person needs. I don’t know anyone who really buys lingerie, and if they do, they’re not spending $80+ on 1 piece, so, ya, I think VS will eventually become extinct. And I do shop their PINK line, but again, only so many sweatshirts 1 person needs/wants. Their online ‘sale’ this year was sooo slim pickings, I didn’t even buy 1 thing!! I’m kinda feeling like VS has doomed themselves, and taken away 1 of my old favorite places to shop……..geez I miss all their makeup!!! Rant over!!

    • Isabella Muse

      Likewise for me with VS. They typically have tons of fragrance sets and perfumes but this year it was slim pickings! And yes I miss the makeup SO much!

    • Carol G

      Heather, I couldn’t agree more. Their makeup was excellent. I really miss it. I don’t even shop there anymore because the makeup is gone. I think they probably are doomed.

  • Teli

    I went on boxing day (27th here) and it sucked big time! There were a handful of old summer shower gels and lotions on 75% off, a few boxes of 3/$15 summer scented body care and the candles that obviously didn’t sell for $11.50. The other candles were still am arm and a leg. I picked up 3 xmas hand creams for $3 each and a single car smelly thing.
    I was disappointed, but my bathroom cabinet definitely thanked me 😛

    • Isabella Muse

      ok thank you for this because I didn’t and I felt like “Oh I missed out!” I typically get mists, perfumes, candle accessories, candles, etc…this year it was zilch! They had a display with a bunch of fragrance mists and I asked, “Are these on sale?” and was told nope, those are the normal price. I was somehow shocked by that for some reason lol! total sense of entitlement moment for a sale! Mine did too! I really didn’t need anything.

  • Jay

    BBW had some good fall candles when I went, and summery scrubs I’ve never seen before, but they have lower prices throughout the year. The deals didn’t seem that good. I just wasn’t feeling it this time. And holy moly so much of the store was regular price that everyone was confused!

    • Isabella Muse

      I know right? They had sale bins and above it there were mists but not on sale!

  • Carol G

    I didn’t even bother going this year. The last few years have been uneventful so I just told myself this year not to even bother. I don’t need anything and I really didn’t want to waste my time just being disappointed. Sounds like I didn’t miss anything at all!

  • Jen R

    Not only were pickings super slim, but I feel like everything I bought smelled…OFF somehow. Been using my sale Vanilla Bean Noel hand sanitizers and they all have an element of bug spray or something gross to them. I think I’m going to just throw them away. 🙁

  • Stephanie

    My Bath and Body Works was ok, but I was only looking for the Vanilla Bean Noel and Winter Candy Apple scents. I walked out with just one antibacterial gel and a mini body lotion to carry in my purse. My wallet was grateful, lol.

    I’ve been so over the Victoria’s Secret semi-annual sale for a while now. I’m only interested in their underwear, but by the time I go, I can never find my size.

    • Isabella Muse

      ha your wallet was as grateful as mine. It signed in relief when I walked out of the store!

  • erinface

    I was disappointed, too in the sale this year.

    I’m equally bummed about VS because they sold the only yoga pants that fit me properly, and now they’re venturing away from clothing which means my beloved pants have been discontinued. Womp womp.

    • Isabella Muse

      they have cut back on everything. makeup, clothing, if they do away with perfume I’ll curl up and cry!

  • Sarah

    I got lucky because I started shopping xmas night. I got the candles and body care I wanted. I had a 25% off coupon and free shipping. This was the best time to use it. I didn’t want to lug 20 candles through the mall. But, yes the BBW and VS sales this year were confusing and sparse. I did not know that VS stopped selling shoes and clothes, thanks for that bit of info. VS was a downright joke. Didn’t spend a penny there. I am not royalty, I dont need 200 pairs of underware, thank you very much.

  • Cassie

    The only things I’ve seen online and might buy are a lotion and mist combo from about three years back that was a favorite of mine then, but, I thought the same thing–that the pickings seem slimmer this time around. Getting a little tired of seeing the same scents (“Carried Away,” “Dark Kiss,” etc.) every semi-annual, as well…

  • Dee

    It wasn’t just me then. I went in store several times and was surprised at what wasn’t there.

  • Carole

    With regard to BBW, I was disappointed that the returning scents (Dark Kiss, Cucumber Melon, etc. We’re only 50% off. Typically they bring back the retired scents at $3 for the SAS. Maybe they will be cheaper for the last days of the sale. I also miss the makeup at VS, as well as the bigger selection of clothing they used to have

  • Kimmwc03

    Yes, I agree. They were selling out of stuff before Christmas at my store so that’s probably part of the problem.

    • Isabella Muse

      Not mine, they had SO much stuff! but after X-mas there was nada in the sale bins!

  • bebe

    I was at my store five minutes after they opened (8:00AM) on the first day, and there was hardly anything of worth in the 75% off bins. I considered myself extremely fortunate to have been able to grab a few mists and scrubs in the Holiday Traditions scents. I went back a few days later, but it was even worse. And this is a sale that is supposed to last for an entire month?? LoL!!! If this is any indication of what we can expect to see at future semi-annual events, then they can count me out. I’ll stick with their one day flash sales, which in the long run, are much better..especially since they have decided (effective 12-26-2016) to distribute coupons via email only, and have discontinued the paper bounce-back. 🙁

    • Isabella Muse

      I feel so much better now as I thought by waiting that I missed out on a ton of stuff. I was shocked because there were a lot of items in the stores I visited the last week of Christmas. I MEAN a lot. I was shocked it wasn’t available at the sale, no way they sold that all! I wonder if maybe they packed it up and shipped it to outlet stores???

    • Sarah

      No more mailer coupons?! Where did you hear this (not that I don’t believe you, just curious)?

      • bebe

        The manager told us when I went to the SAS on the first day, that we would no longer receive coupons with our in store purchases. I called Customer service when I got home to confirm this, and was told yes, it’s true, that BBW will no longer be giving out the bounce-back coupons in store, only thru email, however, they will continue to send out the mailer coupons. The reason is supposedly to save money previously spent printing out paper coupons.

        • bebe

          ..and I think it is a big mistake on their part, since so many people have not been getting the company’s emails, despite numerous attempts at signing up, in store, as well as calling customer service. It might discourage them from shopping as often, or maybe even altogether, because they won’t be able to get that discount. Also, check out the Facebook BBW fanclubs. There are a lot of employees who are members, and they give out a lot of inside information. 🙂

          • Sarah

            Thanks for the info! It seems like the BBW I knew and loved years ago is no more.

  • FrugalCat

    Yeah, it was not nearly as good as some in the past. I got a couple of things but was meh about everything this year.

  • Lori

    I was wondering if the Outlet stores have kind of ruined the SAS. I don’t have an Outlet here but it crossed my mind.

  • Pandora

    There is just something about that damn $5.99 shipping fee that pisses me off!! I only find myself buying from them online once a year during the winter SAS if I end up making a huge order. Otherwise, I just can’t – my brain rejects paying for BBW shipping . Maybe if they had a Sephora Flash type of thing I could get on board.

    Last year when I went around this time, they still had plenty of winter scents and a few 75% off scrubs at one of the nicer, but smaller locations near me. Although no luck for candles. I was also crazy enough to head out to a mall location on the last day of the sale and the only really good thing was that I was able to score were a few 75% off fall wallflowers and a couple of Christmas specialty soaps.

    I haven’t shopped online or gone to store yet this year, but if I do I will definitely update on my experience. Does anyone know what their return policy is without a receipt? I have a few candles that I’ve only burned once, and for Christmas I was gifted quite a few bottles of lotion and shower gel that I don’t really fancy. Thanks!

    • Isabella Muse

      lol I totally relate to this! Last year felt bigger to me. Lots of candles, perfume, mists, etc…none of that this year. Just body lotion, shower gel, and lots of hand soap! They’ll take the return but they use your driver’s license to track returns.

  • Iris

    The ones I went to had a lot of basics: fragrance sprays, shower gels, lotions, etc. but none of the more unique holiday items I was looking for. Specifically, the hair mists. Better luck next year or I may pick the hair products up as soon as they’re released if they do them again. I forgot about them until post-Boxing Day.

  • Trillium

    I placed an order on the first day of the sale. Several days later I get an email that my whole order was cancelled due to being out of stock! Turns out that only one item was OOS (the one I wanted most) but they cancelled everything, so I had to re-place it. I was annoyed because I kinda felt like it was probably in-stock when I placed the order, but they took forever to get to it. Not to mention they could have just shipped the rest. 😉 I wasn’t too impressed with the online selection overall though.

  • Trang Rios

    I have noticed that the highly anticipated semi annual sales for both bath n body and Victoria’s secret have been slim pickings over the last couple of years. I know my wallet thanks me but its still disappointing. I totally remember the endless bins of sales years ago! I probably still have back stock from it…lol!

  • Katy

    Hey Muse,
    I was just catching up on your site and noticed this post. The sale runs until the 22nd-ish, and initially when I went it, I was so disappointed. I was looking to get some backups of the Freah Snow Blossom and Fresh Sparkling Snow goodies because those scents seem pretty unique and versatile. Selection was totally crappy.
    However, I found another store a few days later that had a couple things I wanted and found that they release more stuff throughout the sale.
    I like the Cashmere Glow and Sensual Amber scents because they layer under some of my perfumes well (Flowerbomb, Tom Ford Noir Pour Femme, TBS White Musk Smoky Rose), and initially they hadn’t released them, but they have now put them in the sale. I visited a couple days ago and a lot of minis were out (sprays, lotions) and a few EDTs, too. It might be worth a second look!

    • Isabella Muse

      Hey Katy, typically they have a new “sale” selection weekly during the semi-annual sale. Like one week they’ll focus on bringing back lotions and the next week they’ll do mists. But so far, I haven’t seen anything good offered. I’ll have to hope back in and see, maybe I’ll get lucky like you did 😀 thanks for the heads up!

  • Jenncess

    I went to 4 different BBW and each store had different items… although NONE had the one I was looking for Champagne Toast. However Twisted Peppermint and Vanilla Bean Noel were in stock and everywhere in one store. I think the shipments are hit and miss as to what each store gets. Each one I went to had plenty of a few types of scents but none of the others… it was odd… One store was STOCKED with the Napa series… but zero Christmas scents… then another with tons of Christmas but no fall scents…

  • Keisha

    There is a general consensus that both the Bath and Body Works and Victoria’s Secret semiannual sales were not great at all and I fully agree. In my opinion, there seems to be a lack of quality in the sale products; on both sides. Usually, Bath and Body Works has been known to bring back discontinued favorites, but I have noticed that last year and this year’s sales have been relatively poor; there have been less products in the 75% off bins than ever before and the majority of the scents that are popular that consumers want to purchase are not even included in the sale itself. They basically discontinued all of the major favorites and replaced them with watered-down repackages. Don’t get me started on Victoria’s Secret. This year’s online sale is very poor. There was barely any good stuff. In recent years, the quality of their products has been declining. Their bras (especially the Body by Victoria) have become boring of late and are no longer as cute as they once were. They are skimping on the lace on the Body by Victoria collection. Don’t get me wrong, they are the most comfortable bras ever, but in my opinion they seem to be running out of design ideas. Lately, the patterns and colors have become mild and ordinary. They also need to stop using cheap cotton to make their sleepwear. The cotton is so cheap and thin, but yet the price is still the same or in some cases the price has gone up. People deserve quality for their money. It seems like they are cutting back on the quality of the cotton used to make the underwear also. They need to focus on quality and not the bottom line.

    • Isabella Muse

      The past three year’s both have really sucked 🙁 It’s sad because the sales were awesome and I always found some killer deal. Not anymore sadly. It seems like VS isn’t the only one guilty. everyone seems to be cutting back on quality lately 🙁 and still charging the same price!

  • Jiya

    Do u know if they have the men’s body washes and sprays on sale during the SAS? What about car scents? Really need some lol