David Meister dress on sale at Saks.

David Meister's shirred-print cocktail dress is currently marked down from $328 to $195.90 at Saks.com. Photo: SaksFifthAvenue.com

Despite recently swearing off sales, Saks Fifth Avenue is in discount mode once again!

The New York-based retailer is trying out its own version of 36-hour private online sales as a way to challenge online "members-only" sample sale sites like HauteLook.com and Gilt.com, reports the Wall Street Journal.

Saks tested its first private sale this week by sending out a select number of email invites.

Once at the site, the sale features a big clock that counts down the time remaining and limited quantities of off-season designer goods, says the source.
The retailer will run another test in November before the official launch next year.

HauteLook's CEO, Adam Bernhard, thinks his members-only sample sale business model is the future of retail, however, Bernhard dismisses Saks as his competition saying:

"Saks is first and foremost a full price distributor of brands," Bernhard told the site, adding that the discounted Web sales will be confusing to suppliers, who will ask: "Are they a full price retailer? Or a discount flash sale site?"

Meanwhile a Saks spokesperson told the source, "Our vendors are excited to work with us on this off-price initiative."

Sounds like there's a retail battle brewing, which just means more bargains for us!

Saks may be looking at discount options, but the New York-based retailer is still bringing out the celebrities with its A-list events.