Have you ever wondered how discount stores, such as Ross, and Marshalls, can sell name brand clothes for so much less than department stores? Do their low prices make you question the quality of what you’re buying? Maybe it’s like what you’ve heard about outlet malls, where some of the merchandise is specially made at a lower quality than what you’d find at a regular mall?
Watch this short (2:43) video I made sharing the truth about and Marshalls, based on what I learned at an event called Behind the Seams held last month in Chicago. (This is , if you can’t see the video viewer below.)
I found some of what I learned at Behind the Seams to be very educational and helpful to me as a bargain shopper, so I’m sharing what I learned with you. Plus, you’ll see the inside of my closet, which might prompt me to ‘fess up to the crazy way I organize my clothes – by type (formal/informal), then by color, sleeve length, and collar length. I can always tell if someone’s been in my things. :)
How Do They Keep Prices Low?
I learned two interesting things and Marshalls do to keep their prices low. First, they don’t have buy back clauses with designers. Major department stores that buy a quantity of dresses or shirts from a designer will include a statement in the contract where the designer will buy back whatever doesn’t sell at the end of the season. TJ Maxx and Marshalls don’t include that clause, which means they can negotiate a lower front end price. They pass that lower price on to you and me, making us happy shoppers.
One other interesting way they keep their prices down is related to their advertising. You’ll notice that the weekly sales flyers for department stores feature specific brands. The designers pay for that advertising, and of course we ultimately pay for it in terms of a higher price. If you notice, TJ Maxx and Marshalls never mention specific name brands in their ads, they just use general statements about having “department store brands.” Again, that translates to a lower price on the rack because the designer pays less to sell their merchandise in a TJ Maxx or Marshalls store.
The Truth About Quality
Even as a bargain hunter I sometimes question “does lower price mean lower quality?” I really question this with clothing, knowing that a lot of merchandise in outlet malls is actually lesser quality than its department store counterpart. Good news! This is NOT the case with TJ Maxx and Marshalls.
TJ Maxx and Marshalls carry the exact same merchandise that you’d find in a department store. Same season. Same quality. Same designers. They buy some directly from designers and some from department stores that have purchased too much. Either way, it is brand new, first-run, department store quality stuff.
Since designers don’t buy back merchandise at the end of the season you may find an occasional piece that is from last season. The label always discloses this saying, “Last Season” so you always know what you’re getting.
I also found it interesting to learn that each store gets about 10,000 new pieces of merchandise each week. That reminds me of a thrift store in that it’s a bit of a treasure hunt and you never know what you’ll find.
All in all, I feel like a more educated consumer after having attended the Behind the Seams event. That will translate into a smarter shopper since I better know how to fit and Marshalls into my shopping routine now.
Are there other discount stores like TJ Maxx and Marshalls?
Fortunately, this is a resounding YES. There are so many stores that offer fantastic quality at extremely low prices, and now that I know that these stores offer fantastic quality, I don’t know if I will ever go to expensive department and retail stores ever again. I have listed my top 7 stores that will help you save money.
As discussed earlier, when it comes to quality for a great low price, it is tough to beat TJ Maxx. offers deals on apparel, shoes, makeup, handbags, home decor, jewelery, Men’s apparel and shoes, and more.
With over 1000 stores in 46 states, is one of the most popular discount retailers. Owned by the same company as TJ Maxx, it is very similar to TJ Maxx. Like TJ Maxx, Marshalls sells a variety of name brands, such as American Eagle, Hollister, Kate Spade, Nike, and more. Marshalls tends to sell more “high end” brands than TJ Maxx for slightly higher prices, but they are essentially quite similar.
Hobby Lobby is seriously amazing, and there are always so many great items on sale; I am especially fond of their Fall decor sales and I always seem to find something I love in their . From home decor to craft supplies, every Hobby Lobby provides a unique and enjoyable shopping experience at extremely low prices. If you have not checked Hobby Lobby out, you are missing out!
Burlington Coat Factory
I love Burlington Coat Factory for their great deals on coats. clothing, and shoes. They have over 500 stores in 45 states, and offer name-brand merchandise for up to 65% off the prices of other retailers. They also have a wide range selection of baby items, linens, and home decor.
Do you love discounts on arts and crafts, custom framing, home decor, and seasonal products? Then you will love . Michaels is always offering amazing discounts and sales, perfect for saving money on a wide range of items. Before you head to , don’t forget to check out our article: 11 Money-Saving Tips To Help You Save At Michaels.
When it comes to amazing sales, Kohls is truly second to none. I never pay full price for anything at Kohls, and honestly, sometimes I forget there are other stores to shop. With their coupon deals, Kohls cash, and seemingly infinite sales, I get some amazing stuff for really low prices at . Kohls sells clothing, footwear, bedding, furniture, jewelry, beauty products, electronics, and housewares.
I was contemplating putting Amazon onto this list, but considering just how affordable, convenient, and awesome Amazon has become, it has made the list. on literally everything. Whether you need books, electronics, clothing, dog toys, household essentials, or even food, you won’t go wrong choosing Amazon.
**Disclosure: TJ Maxx and Marshalls provided my transportation and lodging for the trip to Behind the Seams as well as a $100 gift card to use in their stores. All opinions in this video are mine. Read our disclosure statement for more details.