With only a few days left before the Labor Day long weekend kicks off, a lot of Garden State residents are making plans to head to barbeques, the beach, the golf course - and the malls.

Many NJ shoppers are looking forward to Labor Day sales. (ariwasabi, ThinkStock)

An increasing number of New Jerseyans are waiting to do any type of serious shopping until there are big sales and deep discounts.

John Holub, the president of the New Jersey Retail Merchants Association, expects stores to be jammed for a couple of reasons.

"Back in the day people used to start their back-to-school shopping in July or August," he said. "Now people are waiting until the end of August, September, even leaning into October now to do their shopping. Right now it's not really just Labor Day, it's really back to school, back to college, you are going to find a lot of offers out there, a lot of incentives for people to come out and shop."

Holub said after the winter holiday season, the Labor Day long holiday weekend period has become the second most important time of year for retailers, especially smaller ones who are looking to draw as many people as possible into their stores.

"But it also is part of an art too, because you don't want to discount too much to the detriment of your profit," Holub said.

The bottom line, said Holub, is that since the Great Recession consumers have become a lot more price conscious, "so now these are the times when I think you are going to see people coming out because of these promotions."

Carol Kaufman Scarborough, a Rutgers Business and Marketing professor, agrees that consumers are increasingly looking for discounts on merchandise.

She said when really big events come along, like the Labor Day weekend sales, many people go wild for them.

"They provide excitement, often times retailers will have special events, special types of promos that are convenient for an entire family," she said.

She also said these major sales events are particularly important for smaller merchants, who sometimes work together to promote sales events that bring a critical mass of consumers to the same location at the same time, so everyone can benefit.

"Labor Day sales are important for retailers because of the opportunity to show off the store while providing a positive experience for the consumer, and this can including helping the consumer save money, while promoting future sales and events that are also attractive," he said.