Welcome to the Wonderful World of Target Perimeter Perusing!
As many of you know, Target B&M stores are known for their terrific clearance deals. This thread is for GottaDeal.com forum members to share their latest clearance finds. Also, please keep non-clearance discussion to a minimum - there are other threads for discussing weekly sale ads and store policy. This first post will contain some background information on the wonderful world of Target clearance, otherwise known around here as Perimeter Perusing!
You may have noticed that although the sticker price (the red-orange clearance sticker) show one price, many times the items will actually scan for a lesser amount. You can use this to your advantage because many shoppers without the benefit of being GottaDeal members do not realize this and pass the item by, thinking the sticker price is the actual price. Also, many times an item is not marked clearance in any way but still may be on clearance, so if you have an item that you would consider buying if it was on clearance, we suggest you take it to the nearest scanner and check the price that comes up. This is especially true of items which other members have reported being on clearance at their local store.
The standard clearance pattern at Target usually begins by items being marked down 15% or 30% at the beginning. This price can last somewhere between two weeks to a month, depending on how well the item sells at this price and what department the item is from. Then the item typically drops to 50%, again for anywhere from two weeks to a month in most cases. Generally, the lowest an item will be marked down is 75% off, with a few exceptions.
Items considered 'holiday' or 'seasonal' items have been known to go as low as 90%, and you will find a few occasional display items or things found in the stockroom after inventory discounted in the 80%-90% range. In many cases, the lowest price an item will go will usually end in $x.x4 or $x.x8, but this is not always the case for 100% of items, so take that into consideration.
A typical markdown schedule for the seasonal or holiday clearance is as follows:
Traditional Post-Holiday Target Clearance Schedule
50% off - marked down on the day after the holiday, usually lasts for three days
75% off - marked down on the fourth day after the holiday, usually lasts for three days
90% off - marked down on the seventh day after the holiday, usually lasts for 1-3 days
Other than Christmas, this is usually the schedule used for post-holiday clearance, including Valentine's Day, Easter, Summerville, and Halloween, for at least the last few years.
The holiday mark-down does seem to fluctuate from store to store on occasion, but to help demonstrate how the holiday clearance has gone in 2008 and 2009, here is the Decatur, AL clearance dates for Valentine's Day and Halloween, courtesy of Timswife81404:
Feb. 15th, 2008 = 50%
Feb. 18th, 2008 = 75%
Feb. 20th, 2008 = 90%
Feb. 15th, 2009 = 50%
Feb. 17th, 2009 = 75% (red dot dollar spot too)
Feb. 21st, 2009 = 90%
Nov. 1st, 2008 = 50%
Nov. 4th, 2008 = 75%
Nov. 8th, 2008 = 90%
Nov. 1st, 2009 = 50%
Nov. 3rd, 2009 = 75%
Nov. 7th, 2009 = 90%
Target initiated a controversial new return policy in November 2002 that says any seasonal clearance items returned will be refunded at the current clearance price, even with a receipt showing a higher purchase price. They updated the policy in April 2003 to specify these items as Christmas trees and decorations and Halloween costumes and decorations. Other seasonal merchandise should still be refunded at the price stated on the reciept.
Christmas clearance is an animal all to itself. The dates appear to be as follows:
50% off - always December 26,lasts four to five days
75% off - within a day or two on either side of New Year's Eve/Day (12/31-01/01)
90% off - within a day or two of Epiphany (01/06)
The Decatur, AL markdown schedule for Christmas in 2007, 2008 and 2009 was as follows:
Dec. 26th, 2007 = 50%
Dec. 31st, 2007 = 75%
Jan. 4th, 2007 = 90%
Dec. 26th, 2008 = 50%
Dec. 30th, 2008 = 75%
Jan. 6th, 2009 = 90%
Jan. 2nd, 2009 = 75% Dollar Spot Christmas (black dot)
Dec. 26th, 2009 = 50%
Dec. 31st, 2009 = 75% (black dollar spot too)
Jan. 5th, 2010 = 90%
Twice a year, Target has a major clearance on toys. Once in January and again in the summer.
Here are the dates for the January toy clearance in Decatur, AL:
Jan. 10th, 2008 = 75%
Jan. 15th, 2009 = 75% on MOST toys some still 30-50%
Jan. 29th, 2009 = 75% on remaining toys
Jan. 15th, 2010 = 75% (Friday)
Other departments have an annual major clearance. Dates will be posted here as they become known.
Jan. 19th, 2009 = 75% on MOST already clearanced
Jan. 26th, 2009 = 75% on remaining clearance
Target is one of the few stores where many (although not all) of the cashiers have the ability to bargain when an item doesn't scan with a price. There are times when an item will scan as 'clearance + tax' - be happy in these situations instead of groaning. Sometimes the cashier can do a price override to find the most recent lowest price, but sometimes if you say "I'll take it for (whatever 75% off the marked retail price would be)" they'll just key that in. It's always worth a shot.
The same thing applies for an item that scans 'NOF' (Not On File). This means the item is so old that it is completely out of the computer inventory system. Again, a good suggestion is to try offering the 75% off the retail price, but if necessary a price can usually be looked up at the Guest Services Desk. However, if an item has gone 'salvage,' this may backfire on you. In this instance Target marks the item back up to full retail value before pulling it from the shelves and donating it to a charity such as Goodwill or the Salvation Army for a tax write off. This is one of the reasons how Target can claim to donate so much to charity.
The markdown teams in each many stores have been known to keep to a standardized schedule, but there are stores that have different ones, so your experience many vary. For those who do follow the standard schedule, the departmental markdown days are:
Traditional Department Mark Down Schedule
Monday - Electronics, Kids' Clothing, Stationery, Cards, Gift wrap
Tuesday - Domestics, Women's Clothing, Pets, Market Pantry
Wednesday - Men's Clothing, Toys, Health and Beauty, Lawn & Garden
Thursday - Housewares, Lingerie, Shoes, Sporting Goods, Movies, Music, Books, Decor, Luggage
Friday - Automotive, Cosmetics, Hardware, Jewelry
Note that while this schedule says nothing about weekend markdowns, many Perimeter Perusers on the forum have seen items change in price between a Saturday morning shopping trip and one done on a Sunday afternoon. But nobody has found any rhyme or reason to what gets marked down on those days though - another part of the fun.
Target does not have a layaway plan, but die-hard Perimeter Perusers have tried various methods of getting around this. Most are constantly debated on the forum as far as being 'ethical' or not, so we'll leave it for you to decide for yourself. Just don't be surprised to find some differing opinions if you bring it up in this thread.
When an item goes 50% off and there are several left, some posters have said they find a hiding place to put the item. They then go back to see if the item is still there several weeks later, and if so, scan it to see if it has dropped in price. Some common hiding places shared are in the middle of a round clothes rack, where all of the clothes hide the item, about a third of the way off the floor of a stack of pillows or behind similar items, perhaps with newer packaging, on the proper shelf.
Sometimes, when items are getting scarce at 50% off, posters will buy them at that price and hold on to the receipt. If they find the item later at 75% or 90% off, they will buy the item again, remove any clearance stickers that show the lower price and return the item at another time with the older, higher priced receipt, as long as it is within the 90-day return period.
While not technically a clearance topic, in this thread, you may see reference to MM Juice or MM packs. These refer to 10 packs of Minute Maid juice boxes that can generally be bought for $.69. They are found in the juice aisle mixed in with the 15 packs. This usually includes only the Grape, Apple & Fruit Punch flavors -- never Orange Juice. They look exactly like the 15 packs which are generally stocked on the shelf, but instead of having 3 rows of 5 boxes, there are only 2 rows. They are often mixed in with the others, and even hidden in the back behind the 15 packs. You may go months or longer before you find your first set, but they really do exist. They are not an urban legend. And most of us can attest that you'll do a little dance in the aisle when you find them the first time.
Helpful Target Clearance-Related Links
Target Store Locator
Target Coupon Generator
Target Clearance Locator