T.J. Maxx and Marshalls attract bargain shoppers, and for good reason. Shoppers will find that almost all merchandise in both T.J. Maxx and Marshalls is discounted between 20 to 60 percent off the original retail prices.
How T.J. Maxx and Marshalls Keep Prices Low
Retailers that buy merchandise in large quantities usually have agreements with the wholesalers that guarantee that they will buy back a percentage of the merchandise that does not sell within a certain time period. Because T.J. Maxx and Marshalls do not engage in this practice, their cost of goods is lower than many of their competitors'. The savings are then passed on to the shoppers.
T.J. Maxx and Marshall buyers are a lot like bargain shoppers. They are aggressive, and unlike other retailers, they do not lock into just buying seasonally. If they spot a product that meets their quality standards, looks good, and they can get it at the right price, they will buy it. This translates into savings for their shoppers and a constant, ever-changing flow of merchandise into the stores.
If You Like It, Buy It
To use a dated and overused saying, buyers who work for T.J. Maxx and Marshalls "think outside of the box." They deal with thousands of vendors around the world, which opens up a lot of opportunities to the buying teams. They may make a purchase directly from a manufacturer one day and negotiate a great deal on designer merchandise that has been overproduced the next day. They may buy 5,000 units of an item in the morning, and 12 units of another item in the afternoon.
Unlike other retailers that try to clear the store racks of the odds and ends, T.J. Maxx and Marshalls buyers will sometimes buy the wholesale "odds and ends."
For example, typically retail buyers will reject merchandise that is not available in a predetermined size range. They may like a designer shirt, but in order to buy it they need to be able to allocate a specific number of each size to the stores. If the designer only has large and extra-large sizes left, most buyers will pass and the wholesale cost of the item will drop. Not these buyers. If they think the item will sell and they can get it at the right price, they will buy it despite the limited size ranges. When allocating the item to the stores, they may decide to send one large and one extra-large to each store.
The stores do not have replenishment inventory sitting in stock rooms. When they receive merchandise, it all gets put on the selling floor. That is why when shoppers see an item that they really like and the price is close to what they wish to spend, they should go ahead and buy it.
Know What Differentiates the Two Retailers
Shoppers have various opinions about T.J. Maxx and Marshalls. Some shoppers believe that the merchandise at T.J. Maxx is better than what they can find at Marshalls. Other shoppers feel that they find cheaper prices at Marshalls. However, it all depends on what a person is shopping for. While both retailers share similar price structures and some crossover in merchandise does exist, they each have unique areas that are stronger than the other.
T.J. Maxx differentiates itself from Marshalls with an expanded assortment of fine jewelry and accessories, and in some stores, The Runway, a high-end discount designer department. Marshalls differentiates itself from T.J. Maxx with a full line of family footwear and an expanded men's department, as well as its junior department, which is called The CUBE.
The Secret Behind the Color of the Tag
Shoppers looking to find the very best prices at T.J. Maxx and Marshalls should look for the yellow price tags. Items with yellow price tags are deeply discounted and as low as the price is going to go. Red price tags are used for sale merchandise and may receive additional markdowns. White price tags are regular priced items. Purple price tags are used on items from "The Runway," which is a section in some of the metropolitan stores that carry very desirable, high-end designer merchandise. The Runway items are a rare find in most suburban stores, but there are some out there.
The Best Time to Shop
Weekly markdowns are generally distributed to the stores on Tuesdays through Fridays. Some seasoned shoppers say that they have had the best luck in terms of selection on sale merchandise when they shop on Wednesday mornings.
End-of-season merchandise is cleared out of the stores in January and July. Pricing is aggressive and the merchandise sells quickly. This is a good time for shoppers to make extra visits to the stores because the prices are adjusted down more frequently than other times of the year.
Ignore the "Compare at" Prices
T.J. Maxx and Marshalls do a good job of filling the stores with off-price desirable merchandise. They do not do as good a job with accurate "compare at" pricing.
The "compare at" price is designed to show shoppers what other retailers are selling the item for in order to show the savings that they are getting by making their purchase at T.J. Maxx and Marshalls. Unfortunately, the "compare at" prices are sometimes (a lot of times) inflated. Despite this, the item could still be selling for a better price when compared to other retailers.
T.J. Maxx and Marshalls do have some irregular merchandise in the stores, but not a lot of it. The irregular items are clearly identified and the discount is already figured into the price. While some shoppers will try to haggle the prices down even further, the store management follows pricing policies that limit this kind of negotiation.
This is not the case with damaged merchandise. Management does have some flexibility to drop the selling price of a product that is damaged, but again, they work within the company policies on how much additional savings they can take off of the price. This does not mean that shoppers should not ask for a price adjustment on damaged merchandise that they want to buy, but they need to keep their expectations on a more conservative side.
Consider Buying Discounted Gift Cards
T.J. Maxx and Marshalls do not distribute coupons, run category promotions, or hold store-wide sales, so when shoppers are looking for additional savings that go beyond the prices on the tags, they will often look online for a discounted gift card.
Discounted gift cards are sold online at websites like Raise.com, GiftCardGranny.com, and CardPool.com. The savings can vary, but generally, shoppers can shave another at least another 5 percent off the price.
The gift cards can be redeemed at T.J. Maxx, Marshalls, and HomeGoods.