Do you like that ‘rush’ you get when snagging that designer garb for just a little coin? Me, too. I have spent a good portion of my career in catalog and retail fashion and have a ‘nose’ for value. This is what I would like to refer to as ‘unisex advice.’ Men like to shop as much as women… but will most likely not admit it if that means a day at the mall holding their girl’s purse.
This time around I’m going to focus on one of my favorite stores. Macy’s.
‘Back in the day’, I would only go to Macy’s if someone I knew was registered there. Then, I discovered the clearance racks!
It is part of a store’s display strategy and their space planning whenever they move the merchandise around that the clearance items go to the back. These are normally displayed on ’rounders’ or racks. The heaviest marked-down merchandise tends to be at the very back of a department. Focus on the signs. Pricing and signing are actually regulated by the Department of Weights and Measures and ‘surprise visits’ are conducted by this entity to ensure compliance.
Your best bet on finding value is in the 50% and higher range. 50% basically means, ‘buy one, get one’. Yawn. Where I start to sweat is when I enter the 60% and higher. It is important to pay close attention to this merchandise. This is your chance to pick up a little bit of wonderful that you wouldn’t even consider at regular price.
Now, once you enter into 75% and higher, you might have to lower your standards a tad and be creative. It may say Hugo Boss, but it can still be ugly. This is when I start thinking about future birthdays and holidays for friends’ gifts. Somehow a Carolina Herrera label on a pair of plaid clamdiggers makes them more palatable. I’m just sayin’.
Here, labels matter. I might have walked past a rack of Calvin Klein slacks at regular price and thought, ‘Eh.. doesn’t move me’. Once I see it on a deeply-discounted rack, all of a sudden it’s the best pair of slacks I have ever seen!
One of the most important things I have discovered at Macy’s is the price-check kiosks they have strategically placed throughout the store. Trust me when I tell you: chances are good that the $14.99 sweater you think is a great deal is actually priced lower. I once walked out of Macy’s with two sweater vests and paid a grand total of $12.
(Running back and forth between the clearance racks and the price-checker does qualify as ‘cardio’, by the way.)
The other nice surprise I have had is on the regular display merchandise. Pay close attention to the signs, many times this merchandise has a nice discount as well. There are regular specials, especially on merchandise that the Corporate Buying Office has over-bought. Display space is costly real estate and they need to make sure their merchandise pays for itself.
Keep an eagle-eye peeled for deals. Get dirty if you have to, crawl under a rack or dig towards the back of that shelf. It really pays off!