Aaron Bostrom | 

How to Read Target Clearance Tags

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KCL loves shopping at Target—between their Cartwheel offers, low prices and general coupon-friendliness, their deals are tough to beat. But one of the best ways to save at Target is to take advantage of their incredible clearance deals.

Clearance is most often located on end caps, but you can also find them hidden in the aisles. In addition to regular clearance markdowns at the end of each season, after holidays and during semi-annual toy clearance sales, there are amazing clearance markdowns to be found year-round.

And if you know how to read the signs, you can make sure you’re getting what you want at the lowest possible price! Here’s how to decode Target clearance tags so you can get the absolute best deals the store has to offer:

Before you read on, make sure to take a look at the KCL Target deals page and check out our article on how to coupon at Target.

Target Clearance Finds—Stock up on Milk-Bone and Sheba Cat Food!

Target’s “unofficial” markdown schedule

All Target inventory goes through a markdown phase that is in set increments: 15%, 30%, 50%, 70% and so on, up to 90%. Here’s the unofficial markdown schedule so you’ll know exactly when to look for the best deals:

  • 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 usually end in the numbers 6 or 8 (for 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 an amazing 90! These numbers correspond to the percentage off that product is now being sold for.
  • Price tags ending in $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 current percentage off for two weeks before progressing to the next level.
  • Price tags ending in $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 at which 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: Though unrelated to clearance items, anything that ends with $0.49, $0.79 or $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.

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