Christa Geraghty | 

Ross vs. T.J.Maxx: Which Is Better for What Products?

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In a Ross vs. T.J.Maxx smackdown, who comes out on top based on price? Both stores are considered off-price retailers with killer deals. But how exactly are they different? How does Ross versus T.J.Maxx pricing stack up? I’ve got answers to these questions and more, including what happened when I spotted a factory outlet second at one of these two stores, and how their prices compare to regular retailers.

Even if you already know how Ross shopping works, and you know these ways to save at T.J.Maxx, I promise you’ll find out something new.

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Ross vs. T.J.Maxx: Low Prices (It’s a Tie)

1. Ross and T.J.Maxx both offer low prices thanks to inventory issues at other retailers.

a person pushing a cart in ross

T.J.Maxx and Ross both offer low prices because they use multiple techniques for buying their inventory. Aiming for 20% – 60% off, they buy stuff that designers have overproduced or items that department stores have overbought. Sometimes, they even buy inventory orders that another retailer has canceled for one reason or another.

Overstock happens when bigger department stores, like Macy’s, buy merchandise under a “buyback clause,” meaning that if the merchandise doesn’t sell, the manufacturers must buy it back. Manufacturers often turn around and sell these items to off-price retailers like T.J.Maxx and Ross to avoid having to keep them on hand.

Since buyers from T.J.Maxx and Ross are for hunting for deals every day, they aren’t limited to seasonal items, and inventory rotates more frequently than in a department store.


Ross vs. T.J.Maxx: Knockoffs (It’s a Tie)

2. Ross sells made-for-outlet merchandise that isn’t the “real” thing.

a person looking at womens clothing in ross

To keep prices low, Ross buys sloppy seconds from factory stores. And those seconds were specifically made for the outlet store. For example, I was surprised to spot Banana Republic items at Ross that I’m certain came from a Banana Republic factory store.

When I ran across the cardigan in the picture above, the three squares on the brand tag gave it away. I knew it was a made-for-outlet item from a Banana Republic factory outlet. This means the items had never appeared in a full-line Banana Republic store. These types of items are made with less-quality construction and fabric to be sold at a lower price point at the factory store.

No wonder the sweater was only $6.99!


3. Beware: T.J.Maxx brand-name clothing may be a knockoff.

Hand holding to different show wear breands with similar sounding names

As one KCL reader pointed out, and NBC4 Washington reported, T.J.Maxx licenses their own designer clothing using labels from well-known brands.

So that piece you think is a Christian Siriano or Nicole Miller may actually be a design that T.J.Maxx bought in bulk and stuck that brand’s label on.

How can you find out if it’s a knockoff? Flip the care labels over (the long white stack of tags usually sewn into the side of the garment at the bottom), and see if the very last one has “TJX Europe, Watford” printed on the back. If it does, it’s not the real thing.

Related: Learn more of our outlet shopping secrets so you can tell factory items from the real thing.


Ross vs. T.J.Maxx: Name Brand Jeans (Ross Wins)

4. Buy jeans like Calvin Klein or Tommy Hilfiger at Ross instead of T.J.Maxx.

a person looking at jeans at ross

In the battle of Ross jeans vs. T.J.Maxx jeans, Ross wins if you’re hunting down brands like Calvin Klein or Tommy Hilfiger. Just don’t buy your jeans from a department store. That’s the moral of this story. And honestly, the T.J.Maxx jeans selection didn’t have much in the way of Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger. They seem to favor brands like Democracy, Lucky Brand, and Kensie. If you love CK and Tommy, shop at Ross.

Even though both of these jean brands are currently on sale at Macy’s, Ross is cheaper.

Calvin Klein jeans

  • Ross: $24.99
  • Macy’s: $44.99 (reg $69.50)

Tommy Hilfiger jeans

  • Ross: $24.99
  • Macy’s: $38.08 (reg $59.50)


Ross vs. T.J.Maxx: Name Brand Socks (Tie)

5. Prices are comparable at Ross and T.J.Maxx for Calvin Klein and Adidas athletic socks.

a person holding up adidas socks in a ross

It’s safe to assume the moral of the story is that Macy’s is always more expensive than Ross and T.J.Maxx. The big headline here is that the two discount stores offer identical pricing on six-packs of men’s socks.

Here again, we see that even when something is on sale at Macy’s, it’s still cheaper at Ross or T.J.Maxx. In this case, both.

Calvin Klein athletic socks

  • T.J.Maxx: $9.99
  • Ross: $9.99
  • Macy’s: $29

Adidas athletic socks



Ross vs. T.J. Maxx: Nike Shoes (Ross Wins)

6. Shop for Nike shoes at Ross and save 33%.

a person looking at nike shoes in ross

Finding Nike deals (shoes especially) at discount stores can be like trying to hunt a cryptid in the wild. In a Ross vs. T.J.Maxx comparison, I recommend you start at Ross. The last few times I’ve tried to find anything Nike brand at T.J.Maxx, I’ve been disappointed. But Ross carries Nike shoes and sporting equipment on the regular.

Nike Women’s Air Zoom Pegasus


Ross vs. T.J.Maxx: Variety of Name Brands (T.J.Maxx Wins)

7. Shop at T.J.Maxx for higher-end brands and designers, including Calphalon, The North Face, and Michael Kors.

Hand holding a juicy couture bag

Once you know how to spot the potential fakes, as I mentioned above, you’ll be an expert at spotting the true designer brands.

Because T.J.Maxx buys from higher-end boutiques and manufacturers (including designers), you’ll find more and better brands there. Ross buys from less-expensive stores to begin with. Think middle-level department stores like JCPenney.

Sure, you’ll find a gem at Ross every now and then. (I found a Dooney & Bourke handbag that retails for $288 for just $109.99 at Ross recently.) But if you’re a designer brand lover, head to T.J.Maxx.

Here are a few brands I noticed at T.J.Maxx just on one shopping trip recently. Ross either doesn’t sell these at all or doesn’t have even close to the variety of inventory for the brand:

TIP: If your T.J.Maxx brick-and-mortar store goes womp womp when it comes to designer handbags, check


Ross vs. T.J. Maxx: Comparable Pricing (It’s a Tie)

8. “Comparable Value” pricing on price tags is always lower than actual retail prices, thanks to lawsuits.

Person picking up a stack of jeans of jeans from a

Both Ross and T.J.Maxx have been in legal trouble in the past for inflating their “Comparable” pricing in order to make items seem like a better deal than they really are.

For example, as noted in the T.J.Maxx class action lawsuit, a Michael Kors handbag had a “Compare At” price of $328, but the actual retail price listed on the manufacturer’s website was only $228.

Fast-forward to today, and comparable pricing on both Ross and T.J.Maxx tags will now be lower than actual retail prices, presumably so the companies can cover their bases and ward off any more lawsuits.

For example, I found Calvin Klein jeans at Ross that list a comparable value of $35, but when I look for similar Calvin Klein jeans at stores like Macy’s, I can’t find a regular price pair for less than $69.50, which is also what the manufacturer’s price tag lists. (This isn’t including sale prices you might find at a department store. Discount retailers can’t keep up with sale prices and always compare to full prices.)


Ross vs. T.J.Maxx: Toys (It’s a Tie)

9. Feel good about toy shopping at either Ross or T.J.Maxx. Both have Squishmallows!

Person holding a rainbow squishmallow pointing to the brand tag with a tjmaxx sticker price on it

Between the two stores, you’ll be able to find Barbie, Disney, Nerf, Lego, Cocomelon, Squishmallows, and more. Comparing prices between the two is difficult because they don’t carry identical toys, despite the fact that they offer similar brands. For example, Squishmallows are cheaper at Ross than at T.J.Maxx, but I could only find one or two of them. Inventory was low at T.J.Maxx, too.

So, I’d focus on comparing against major retailers and then aiming to find the toys you want to buy. And of course, with Squishmallows, it depends on the character.

16-Inch Squishmallow Prices Compared

  • Ross: $11.99
  • T.J.Maxx: $15.99
  • Amazon: $24.99+

Related: We can teach you all about where to buy rare Squishmallows.


Ross vs. T.J.Maxx: Baby Goods (Ross Wins)

10. Ross offers several brands in their baby department, including Avent, Huggies, and Aveeno.

a person holding up huggie diapers and aveeno lotion

Ross simply has more baby deals. In addition to more racks of baby clothing in general, you can find Carter’s and Gerber bodysuits at Ross, along with all kinds of bottle supplies and even baby wipes on the cheap. Look for brands like Huggies, Aveeno, Fisher-Price, Dr. Brown’s, Avent, Bright Starts, and more.

T.J.Maxx offers Tommee Tippee and some Dr. Brown’s pacifiers, but the selection is very limited.



Ross vs. T.J.Maxx: Aeropostale & Gap (Ross Wins) Hollister & American Eagle (T.J.Maxx Wins)

11. Your brand preference will determine which store to shop.

Model shopping for jeans at Tjmaxx

Comparing Ross vs. T.J.Maxx when it comes to these popular brands, you’ll find they each favor a couple, but neither carries all brands. You won’t find Gap or Aeropostale at T.J.Maxx, and you won’t find Hollister or American Eagle at Ross. Both discount stores offer noteworthy savings on the respective brands they offer. Shop accordingly.

(Hey, factory outlet sleuths, the Gap merch I see at Ross is usually not factory-made. It appears to be from actual Gap stores.)




Ross vs. T.J.Maxx: Everyday Shoes (Ross Wins) and Dress Shoes (T.J.Maxx Wins)

12. Should you buy shoes at T.J.Maxx or Ross? It depends.

Person trying on shoes in T.J.Maxx

If you’re looking for a variety of brands, be sure to cruise through the shoe section at both Ross and T.J.Maxx whenever you’re in the store. T.J.Maxx shoes offer better deals for dressier styles, while Ross is best for everyday shoes.

Both stores sell Toms, Adidas, and Nautica. Additionally, Ross sells Nike, Crocs, Vans, and more.

Here’s a price comparison of two of those brands.

Vans high tops

Sherpa-lined Toms

  • T.J.Maxx: $24.99
  • DSW: $59.99

Related: Never pay full price for your shoes! Learn these Nike Factory hacks and how to get Crocs on sale.


The overall winner in the battle of Ross vs T.J.Maxx? Both!

a person holding up a tj maxx bag in front of a ross sign

Here’s the final tally for the categories we looked at:

  • Low Prices (Tie)
  • Knockoffs (Tie)
  • Name Brand Jeans (Ross Wins)
  • Name Brand Socks (Tie)
  • Nike Shoes (Ross Wins)
  • Variety of Name Brands (T.J.Maxx Wins)
  • Comparable Pricing (Tie)
  • Toys (Tie)
  • Baby Goods (Ross Wins)
  • Aeropostale & Gap (Ross Wins) Hollister & American Eagle (T.J.Maxx Wins)
  • Everyday Shoes (Ross Wins) Dress Shoes (T.J.Maxx Wins)

With the final tally at five ties, four wins for Ross, and three wins for T.J.Maxx, it’s easy to say Ross wins over T.J.Maxx. However, overall they tied five times, plus each store had two wins for specific brands. Together, these final scores indicate that the true winner between Ross vs. T.J.Maxx depends on what you’re shopping for.

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