Target Training: How Target Marks Down their Clearance Items

Today, I am talking about my favorite thing about shopping at Target…their clearance items!!   Once you know how and when Target marks things down, you can easily find stuff for 70% off, not just lame stuff that nobody wants, you can find GOOD STUFF!

How do you find clearance items?  The clearance items at Target will have a red sticker.   In the lower right hand corner you will see the price they are currently marked down to.   The lower left hand corner will let you know what the origninal price was.  Plus, you can find the percentage of the markdown in the upper right hand corner, so you don’t have to do the math!   They make it super easy on us.  Clearance prices generally end in either a 4 or an 8.

This example shows:

  • This items is marked down to $2.48
  • The regular price was $9.99
  • The percentage it is marked down is 75% off! (Target’s new markdown level is 70% off)

Where do you find clearance items?  Most of the clearance items are found at the end of the aisles, usually on the endcap facing a wall.  You can usually see a clearance sign posted at the endcap.   When items are marked down for the first time, there is a good chance you will still find them in the aisle.  Once they have several items on clearance, they will get moved to an endcap.

How do they mark things down?  They have a system for marking down their clearance. In general the markdowns go 30%, 50%, & then 70% off.  There are exceptions to this rule, sometimes more popular or everyday items will start at 15% off.   Often, you will find that the food, healthy & beauty, electronics and Lego’s will start at 15% off.   Holiday and seasonal items follow a different markdown schedule, they will get marked down to as low as 90% off.  SWEET!

Generally, they mark things down to the next level every 2 weeks (sometimes it is longer, or shorter).  So, if you see something in sporting goods that you are interested in that was just marked down 50%, if you come back on Thursday 2 weeks from that day you should find it at 70% off.  Sometimes you will come back and the item will all be gone.  If it is something I really need, I will buy it at 50% off.   If I am buying items  for the future, or for my gift closet,  I wait to see if I can get it at 70% off.

Here is an example: I kept an eye on a specific item, so I would be able to document the clearance markdown for you.

  • I stopped at Target on a Thursday, and noticed they had just marked down these Monopoly games to 30% off, it was regularly $14.99, so it was $10.48
  • Two weeks later, the game had gone down to 50% off, it was only $7.48
  • Then four weeks from the original markdown, I found that the game had finally been marked down to 75% off, it was only $3.74

What days to items get marked down?  Generally, Target marks down their items Monday-Friday.  Each department usually is assigned a certain day that they do their markdowns.   Knowing this schedule is a key factor in finding great deals at Target.  Holiday items don’t follow a set schedule, so they could get marked down on a weekend.    I am sharing the Target markdown schedule.  It is important to note that some stores may follow a different schedule, and also departments can change to a different day.   As an example, several years ago the markdown for the toy department used to be on a Wednesday, it now seems like the majority of the stores have moved to marking the toys down on Thursdays.

Mon. — Electronics, Accessories, Kids Clothing, Books, Baby and Stationary, (Cards, Gift Wrap, etc.)

Tues. — Domestics, Women’s Clothing, Pets and Market (food items)

Wed. — Men’s Clothing, Health and Beauty, Lawn & Garden items

Thur. — Housewares, Lingerie, Shoes, Toys, Sporting Goods, Decor & Luggage

Fri. — Auto, Cosmetics, Hardware, & Jewelry

It’s  important to mention that there is a good chance that clearance prices will vary by store.  You may find some towels on clearance to 70% off at one store, and run over to another Target to try to get more and find that their towels are only marked down to 50% or even 30% off.

I will be sharing lots more clearance information over the next 2 weeks.   This week I will be sharing more about:

  • The BIG clearance that happens when they reset each departments (example: The BIG Target toy clearance in January and July)
  • How Holiday clearance gets marked down

For more posts in the 20 Days of Target Training, click the image above.

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  1. Anna Styles says

    When I asked whether a lamp which I bought on clearance would be the same price at another store the employee told me that each store is different. The lower volumne store will mark an item down sooner because a higher volumne store has a better chance of selling it at full price.

  2. says

    @Melissa I thought the baby items were marked down on Mondays, but I haven’t bought baby items for a couple of years, so I could be wrong. That was one of the departments I wanted to check on before I posted it for sure.

  3. says

    I think I might create the above list at business card size, laminate it and put it in my wallet. I can NEVER remember when things get marked down! Thanks for the great info!

  4. Mrs Gallagher says

    A former Target employee and friend told me that when the last number in the clearance price is ‘4’ that’s the farthest it will be marked down.

    Also, @Laura…..GREAT IDEA!!! I can’t remember my name 1/2 the time so that would be a helpful idea!

  5. says

    You can get these items by sending a subscription application.
    If you are resourceful enough, you could even get most of the stuff that your baby would need.
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