Deciphering Target’s Clearance Sales

I got some clearance deals at Target this week. I was reminded of an article I read a while back that talked about Target’s corporate price reduction policies. Here’s the brief article from The Consumerist.

Once you learn these simple rules you’ll know the difference between a good clearance deal and a great one.

Target Markdown Rules:

  • Target marks items down with percentages: 15%, 30%, 50%, 75% & 90%.
  • The upper right hand corner of the price tag will tell you the percentage off.
  • Item will remain at a percentage off for usually two weeks before progressing to the next level.
  • Consumable items, furniture, and electronics are generally the only things that go 15%.
  • Target’s full prices end in 9. Thereafter each price drop will reduce the final digit in the price to either an 8, 6, or 4. (eg. A $9.99 item at 30% off will be priced $6.98)
  • The lowest the last digit will drop is to 4. If you see something you want and the price ends in 4, buy it. The price won’t go any lower.

Holiday Clearance Rules:

  • 50% off day after holiday for three days
  • 75% off fourth day after holiday for three days
  • 90% off seventh day after holiday for 1-2 days

Here are some examples from today’s shopping trip. Good thing I had coupons for most of these items:

Food item 15% off. Blah deal:

Food item 30% off. Better deal. Ends in 8 so its the first price reduction:

Twice reduced. Now at 50% off & ending in a 4. The lowest price this product will go:

Also twice reduced (from 15% to 50%) & ending in a 4. Buy it now:

10 responses to “Deciphering Target’s Clearance Sales

  1. Thanks Dude! Totally just reposted in part and credited you on my blog! This was a fascinating find!

  2. WOW! I work there and I didn’t even know that…

  3. Awesome! Thanks :)

  4. You are on Reddit front page!

  5. Ex-Targeter (on the Price Change Team): If you look in the upper right hand corner it also has what percentage off it’s sitting at.

  6. Front page of Reddit! 7/31/12. For the record.

  7. The ending in 4 thing is not always true. Not everything ends in 9. They no longer do 70%, they assume all guest have a red card or debit card. Also something’s will go further then 15/30% when first marked down. Just an FYI

  8. Your first pic has the “was price” ending in a 4. Then the price clearly went lower.. Kinda makes your whole theory bunk no?

  9. Wow I would love to see how target respond to this… Won’t they change the pricing model now

  10. Thank you to everyone who sharred this on Reddit.

    To the dozens who pointed out the Cheddar Bunnies original price ended in a 4. To clarify: the lowest a SALE price will drop ends in a 4.

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