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Ask The Readers: Target’s markdown policy?

Today’s question is from Jay:

There are a lot of sites that explain Target’s markdown schedule, but I recently came across some info on Buzz Feed that said:

If the price of a marked down item at Target ends in 8, it will be marked down again. If it ends in a 4, it’s the lowest it will be. (It’s #30 on this list.)

I’ve never see this information posted anywhere else so I’m wondering if it’s true or not? Have you ever seen this before? -Jay

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  • Jessica says:

    I’m also curious, because I thought that after holidays they followed a 3-3-2 schedule, meaning that days 1, 2, and 3 would be 50% off, days 4, 5, and 6 would be 70% and days 7 and 8 would be 90 percent then salvaged. However, this year after Halloween, I went in on day 7 and the Halloween items were gone to salvage already 🙁

  • Emily says:

    I suppose, unless you’re willing to live at Target, if you see a good price on an item and you’re comfortable paying that price, it would probably be a good idea to just get it then. There’s no way to know if that item will still be there the next day or 2, 3, or 4 days down the road. Why waste money going back every day to check on the off chance it may go down again? Just a thought.

  • Joy says:

    Seasonal merchandise like Halloween and Christmas does not usually get clearance stickers. They follow an automatic at register 30-50-70-90 percent discounts. What Jay is talking about only applies to the items that get red clearance stickers. I think that may be an outdated rule. Normally, non-seasonal items goes by 15, 30, 50 and 70 percents off until it’s gone or salvaged. It doesn’t matter what it ends in. Most regular clearance items don’t go below 70%. Target used to do 75% instead of 70% but did away with that about 2-3 years ago.

  • Annie says:

    Based on a purchase I made at Target yesterday, I would say that the part about it not going any lower if it ends in a 4 is incorrect. I bought a mascara that was marked down to $2.24, and it rang up as $1.34. I assume it was supposed to be marked down again from $2.24 but they didn’t get around to it yet.

  • Christie says:

    I saw a great blog post about this and I wish I could remember where. It said that this is a myth and that the markdown prices simply depend on the original prices.

    I have no absolute confirmation either way, but I think the most reliable thing to look at is the percent discount. If you look at the top right corner of the clearance sticker you will see a 15, 30, 50, 70, or 90 denoting the percentage taken off. If you see a 70 on non-seasonal merchandise you can be confident that it’s not going any lower (90% is typically only a last resort for seasonal merchandise and some stores do not go that low on anything).

    • Laura says:

      I think I saw that same post. She did the math of it and proved it was a myth. I can’t remember where it was either though!!!! 🙁 I’m not convinced there’s one answer to the markdown mystery….from one store to another, it isn’t always consistent.

  • Heather says:

    My DH works part time at a Target. He has never come across this rule. Every store has a different schedule when it comes to “mark downs”. I believe there is a general time line they follow but then it depends (store size, product movement, staff availablity and such). I have found that the three Target that are close to home are always different when it comes to timing of mark downs. I also know that staff simply not wanting to deal with seasonal mark downs will end in things getting salvaged and not marked down again. (sad but true)

    I think it really come down to knowing your Target. How fast does product move? Are there enough items to make it another around of mark downs? You just have to decide are you happy with the price or are you willing to lose out by waiting?

    • rosanna says:

      I believe every store IS different. I have several couponer friends and we all talk about which store is marking down toys, school supplies, halloween, etc etc. One store 5 miles away might have marked down, but my store hasn’t. Very confusing.

  • Erin says:

    I saw this on a website earlier this year as well. However, it isn’t accurate, at least at my stores. I purchased some items that ended in 4, and a week and a half later, I saw that they went lower. As for holiday clearance, I tend to think there isn’t a strict formula, either. Or at least not since bargain bloggers keep such a well-publicized watch on such things. I live within a few miles of two Targets. One, which I refer to as the couponer’s Target since I find hot coupon deals tend to be out of stock there, is slower to mark down holiday items than the other store. It was also the first to start doing smaller markdowns on the holiday candy and food items after the holiday, which now seems to be the norm in my area. I think the strategy of the store with the slower mark downs is working for them very well. In the past, I’d see people who were clearly waiting for 70 to 90 percent off haul off cartfuls of “good” stuff (the pricer, nicer items). Now, once that store is at 70, what’s left is all pretty much junky. Target’s making more money, but in some ways, it seems more fair to consumers since a lot more of them are getting some sort of discount rather than just a few who happen to be monitoring the blogs at 8 am on the day that stuff goes to 70 percent. JMHO.

  • LA says:

    I worked at Target for years. Clearance varies store to store based on inventory and even store layout! It is highly probable that what is on clearance at one store will be different at another store. Stores do not honor other stores clearance prices. Normal markdowns follow the 30/50/70 rule. Some HBA/grocery items begin at 15. Holiday markdowns are not on a set schedule. Each morning the store receives an email telling them when the changes will take place. It is very common for a store to not even know when holiday items will go lower or salvage until the day before or morning of. I second what an earlier commenter said “if you see something you want, get it before it’s gone!”

  • Lori in NC says:

    You can buy the item if you don’t want to miss the possibility that it would be gone when it’s at 50% off — and then if you’re in the store again and see another one on the shelf and it’s down to 70% off, buy that one — and then take back that you got for 50% off. Just be sure you have that receipt or that they pull it up correctly in customer service. I did this recently with some washi tape (stocking stuffers).

  • Liz says:

    My mom and brother both worked at Targets in NM for years. It is, or at least was when they were working, true here about the ending in 4 thing. But sounds like not all Targets are the same perhaps? I don’t know if it’s ok to post to an outside popular couponing website/blog, but if you search in Google “Target clearance schedule and how to read the clearance tags” There is a helpful post there that is at least true here at our Targets. Hope that helps!

  • Rachel says:

    It definitely varies by store. When Crystal posted this summer that pool supplies were marked down I made sure to get to Target the next day, I was waiting for something specific. Nothing at our store was marked down. I went back several more times over the next few weeks. It was at least a month, maybe two before any summer stuff was marked down in our area. (But I did end up getting what I was waiting for for 70% off!)
    Another thing I just learned is to check online prices. I bought a pair of boots in store and took them back for a different size which they did not have. The customer service ladies checked online while I was there and the price was $10 cheaper then the store price. They told me is totally separate from Target stores. And since I have a RED card I got free shipping. Score!

  • Jennifer says:

    Regular clearance items go through 3 markdowns at Target. Either 15/30/50 or 30/50/70. Usually only some health & beauty, food and electronic items will start at 15%. You need to look at the first clearance and sticker to see how low the markdowns will go. If it has a 15% sticker, it will only get to 50% off. The red clearance stickers have a tiny number in the upper right corner that will tell you the percentage discount.

    Holiday clearance used to be structured but it’s not so much any more. The only thing that is certain is the day after the holiday food/candy items will be 30% off and decorations will be 50%. After that there are variations by store.

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