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How to Read Target Clearance Tags

Chereen.Langrill

Who doesn’t love Target? It’s a favorite go-to store for everything under the sun: the hottest trends in fashion, affordable and cute clothes for the gym, cosmetics and beauty products, and so much more.

In addition to their convenience and amazing product offering, they stack coupons and ad match!

But when you understand their clearance tags and cycles, it is possible to score even better deals!

Learn Target’s Clearance System and Save More

Every section of Target has a specific clearance spot. Clothing has select clearance racks, and aisles have end caps with clearance products visibly displayed. Target routinely marks items for clearance near the end of a season as well as post-holiday and during their semi-annual big toy clearance sales.

Target Marks Down Products Weekly. All Target inventory goes through a markdown phase that is in set increments: 15%, 30%, 50%, 70% and so on, up to 90%.

Target’s “Unofficial” Markdown Schedule. Know the unofficial markdown schedule in order to take advantage of the best deals and know exactly when to look for them:

  • Monday: Baby items, children’s clothing, electronics, and office supplies/gift wrap/stationery
  • Tuesday: Home décor, women’s clothing, and domestic items
  • Wednesday: Food, health and beauty items, men’s clothing, toys, and garden items
  • Thursday: Lingerie, housewares, sporting goods, shoes, and luggage
  • Friday: Cosmetics, jewelry, hardware, automotive, and home improvement

The “Every Two Weeks” Markdown Schedule. Target typically further reduces unsold clearance merchandise every two weeks once the markdowns have begun, but this can vary based on region, amount of unsold inventory, and manager discretion. If you are watching an item and see that it has been marked down 30% or 50%, come back in another two weeks to see if it has been marked down further.

How to Read Target Clearance Tags

  • 15%: When an item goes on clearance at Target, the first markdown is usually 15%. You can tell exactly how much the item has been marked down by looking at the upper right hand corner of the red clearance tag. If you see the number 15, it is marked down 15%. The original price of the product will always be listed on the left-hand side next to the word “was,” and the new price of the item on clearance will be located on the right, next to the word “now.” The last digit of the item will mainly end in the numbers 6 or 8. Example: $7.48.
  • 30%, 50%, 70% and 90%: If you look closely at the red clearance tag, you might notice the higher clearance numbers 30, 50, 70 or even a giddy 90! These numbers correspond to the percentage off that product is now being sold for. The original price of the product will always be listed on the left-hand side next to the word “was,” and the new price of the item on clearance will be located on the right, next to the word “now.” E.g.: $3.88.
  • Price Tags Ending With $0.06 or $0.08: If the price of the item on clearance ends in $0.06 or $0.08, the item will be marked down again during the next markdown cycle as long as there is inventory in the store. The item typically will remain at the next percentage off for two weeks before progressing to the next level.
  • Price Tags Ending With $0.04: If the last number in the price of the item ends in $0.04, the item has been marked for final clearance, and this is the lowest price that Target will sell the item.
  • Random Price Tag Endings: Often, Target price tags end with $0.00, $0.01, $0.05, $0.07, etc. I spoke with some store managers and was told these endings are arbitrary and simply indicate an item is on clearance with no specific meaning, and the item will continue on its clearance cycle.
  • Sectioned Clearances: Seasonal merchandise such as holiday, back-to-school, and summer items are examples of these clearance products. Many of these are holiday branded and will be reduced at a much faster rate than the typical two-week increment because Target needs the space for new inventory. Often the products begin at 50% off, then are reduced to 70% off, and continue on up to 90% off within two weeks. Also, items may not be individually marked; the entire section will be at one discount rate.
  • Gift Card Bonus Price Endings: This has nothing to do with clearance items, but since we are talking about price tag endings, anything that ends with $0.49, $0.79, and $0.99 indicate a Target Gift Card promotion is in effect. The Gift Card offer details will be listed at the very top in red, and the amount of the gift card will be listed on the card or offer.

Other Savings Tips

  • Use the scanner. Sometimes the clearance team members miss an item that should have been re-stickered with a lower price. Take the time to check the price with a scanner. Also, scan things that are one of a kind to see if the price is even lower than listed.
  • Look for repackaged items. These items could be something that was purchased online and returned to the store, a return without a box, or two-piece clothing items missing a top or bottom. While they may not be the prettiest item in the store, you can often snag a great deal!
  • Watch for “As Is” items. Merchandise with tags labeled “AS IS” are typically items Target doesn’t carry anymore, and in an effort to move those products out of the store, they are sold at clearance prices.
  • Use Your Target REDcard. Cardholders making purchases with Target’s REDcard receive 5% off, or 5% cash back.
  • Keep your receipts. Target has a strict return policy that limits the number of returns you can make without a receipt ($75 per year). However, Target tracks every credit card purchase, so if you lose your receipt, have customer service scan the returned item and your credit card. If they find the transaction, they will let you return the item without the physical receipt. If you do have your receipt, Target will adjust the prices on items that go on sale within 14 days of the purchase. (Note: They do not adjust clearance prices.)
  • Take advantage of Target’s price matching policy. If you find an item in a competitor’s ad, bring it to Target and they’ll match the advertised price. The competitor’s ad must be local and current, and the product must be the identical item (brand name, quantity and model number).
  • Sign up for mobile coupons. Sign up to receive coupons via text message on your mobile phone. To redeem, simply show the cashier the barcode.
  • BYOB (bring your own bag). For each reusable bag used at checkout, Target gives back $0.05. It’s a great way to keep plastic bags out of landfills while putting a little money back in your pocket.
  • Use coupons. Not only does Target accept manufacturer coupons, they also can be stacked with their store coupons.
  • Will it get better? If you wonder if the price is the best possible, ask yourself if you really need the product now. If the answer is “yes,” perhaps it’s the best time to make the purchase since inventory won’t be replenished. If you want to see how low it can go, remember that Target’s policy is to mark down items in two-week increments. Try setting a reminder on your phone to check back and see if the item has been marked down again, or just look for the number with a price tag ending with the number $0.04.

 This has been a guest post by Deborah from San Diego, CA
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