Once upon a time, a "white sale" was a marketing strategy designed to boost sales after the Christmas holidays. Back in the day, this was the best time of the year to buy linens, bedclothes, and the like because of the deep discounting. According to Wikipedia, Wanamaker's of Philadelphia was the first store to hold a white sale.
I always wondered why it was referred to as a white sale. My mother took me with her every year but she never bought anything white. Everything she bought was brightly colored, pastel or flowered. Right after the new year, we'd head to my mother's favorite department store at the time to load up on new towels, sheets, kitchen towels, bath rugs, bath mats, bed pads, pillows. She liked solid colors for towels but not for sheets. Sheets had to be flowered. My dad never said a word.In 1878, John Wanamaker of Philadelphia department store fame decreed January to be the time for a white sale. Bed linens, which were available in white only, were sold at a discount. It is believed he might have done so to keep linen makers in business during a slow time of year.
Nowadays, every other weekend is a major sale. If you don't believe that, get on a Macy's mailing list.
Perhaps you remember the old white sales held once annually at your favorite department store?