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Target methodology?

georgebjonesgeorgebjones Member Posts: 224
edited April 2011 in Buying & Selling Topics
Not sure the best title for this, but here goes. I am trying to figure out how target works. I have been to many different stores and they all have a good selection, but there will be some stuff on clearance at one, and not at another. One had all Prince of Persia on clearance 50% off right after christmas. Another store 4 miles away has a large POP stock regular price. Still another one had the Monster 4 game on clearance for $7, then a couple days later for $3. Then one store had the trolls mountain fortress on clearance for $69, and I was waiting for it to go lower, but I think I missed it. Anyone have any idea how their clearance works? Obviously different stores have different rules. I can give several more examples, but I hope you get the idea. Any way to know by their clearance tags if they are going to be cheaper, etc?


  • korkor Member Posts: 392
    I've never found any real rhyme or reason to how they do their sales either. We had the same thing at one store with the POP. I must have bought a dozen of the large sets at 40-50% off. A few weeks later they had them back in at regular price.

    We've caught sales at one, bought them out, and tried to go to another to hit their stock only to find the same sets are regular price. And no, they won't price match their own stores.

    I've come to the conclusion that Target is great if you stumble on a deal but we don't hold our breath....
  • rocaorocao Administrator Posts: 4,288
    Targets nationwide have two big annual clearances, one in January to make room for a new year refresh and another in the summer pretty evenly spaced from the January clearance.

    All clearances will drop in discount level until all the merchandise is gone. The stages are 15% off, 30% off, 50% off, 75% off, 90% off. The trend is to usually stay at a discount level for two weeks, but I've seen some stores stay at discount levels for longer than this. This is part of the reason different stores in the same region will be at different levels at any given time. I've heard it been explained that it is up to the discretion of the store manager, and I've also heard that it's determined by the categorization of the store by revenue (i.e. high volume stores are slower to discount).

    The day of the week that a clearance will drop to the next discount level varies by store and varies by department. For instance, even if the corporate mandate is to do toy markdowns on Tuesdays, some will begin Monday night, while others may be halfway through Tuesday before they get around to doing markdowns. I think the order of the department reductions also varies by store (i.e. toys Tuesday, furniture Wednesday, etc)

    For all the variables I've mentioned, the best way to make any sense of it is to inquire with the staff of your local Target(s) to see what their methodology is.

    Finally, it should be noted that some of the deeper discount levels have or are becoming a thing of the past. Target has contracts with second-run stores so it is more profitable for them to relieve their inventory that way than to fire-sale their stuff.

    From my experience, most desirable sets will go at the 30% level, and none will survive past 50%. Typing that makes me reminisce of Target clearances in the early 2000's where I would just start to think about buying sets at 50% and they would frequently make it to the 75% discount level.

    I hope that helps.
  • jwsmartjwsmart Member Posts: 298
    Target seems to be the least predictable source of Lego near me. My Target has never carried any of the Collectible Minifigures, and it just now (within the last month or so) got one of the two Atlantis polybags that came out in 2009...
  • aplbomr79aplbomr79 Member Posts: 159
    I've heard it been explained that it is up to the discretion of the store manager, and I've also heard that it's determined by the categorization of the store by revenue (i.e. high volume stores are slower to discount).
    It is no surprise to find them funneling leftover merchandise to the larger 'high output' stores. My wife was a long time employee and I have a number of friends that work in their corporate offices.

    Target is a master at marketing small, medium, and large market areas. In fact, they are starting to focus in on the 'hyper-market (those nearest to metropolis'. Their are currently 3 levels of Targets (soon to be 4). There is the SuperTarget store that is the maximum outlet/surplus (usually in large suburban markets); Target Greatland - mid-tier stores that carry all of the hard merch, little grocery (currently being phased out infavor of a new 'PFresh Target or being turned into SuperTargets); and the original Target - all the baselines but no groceries. Some UrbanTargets (CityTargets) are being built in metropolis centers. These CityTargets are geared towards Yuppies and Commuters that need to grab a few things before heading home for the night - in other words, these will not be the places to find deals on LEGO.

    If you live near a 'small-market' Target, typically your selection is meager and prices are higher than those in the larger stores. My suggestion is that you frequent a larger Target (if allowable) and search their selection.

    I know that this is a lot to digest, but Target has had Walmart and others in their sites for some time - and it seems they know what they are doing as they are now the 'low price leader' in the Midwest.
  • georgebjonesgeorgebjones Member Posts: 224
    Wow, this is a lot of great info. This helps, I have always been wondering. I think I will have to go pay a visit to the managers to find out what their policies are. Thanks all of you, hopefully others will find this information useful, too.
  • TalasAntaresTalasAntares Member Posts: 124
    I have noticed in the past 10 years or so that the clearance deals at my local Target have all but dried up...I remember buying orange Halloween Buckets for something like 50% off, I think some of those silver anniversary tubs were the same way. Of late those deals are non-existent, but I do keep an eyeball on the weekly sales and now and then something gets a good discount.
    Don't even get me started on WallyWorld.

  • rocaorocao Administrator Posts: 4,288
    @georgebjones: no problem, just leave something on the shelves for me ;)
  • georgebjonesgeorgebjones Member Posts: 224
    @rocao - only if it's something I don't want. haha. :)
  • tommyboatommyboa Member Posts: 36
    Keep a eye on this thread after Christmas and in the summer, they have all the tips, tricks and cheats in there.
  • korkor Member Posts: 392
    ^ Thats some good info. Thanks!
  • knuclear200xknuclear200x Member Posts: 45
    edited April 2011
    I've learned one thing about Target Clearance: If you see it, GET IT. In my opinion and experience, I've cruised through clearance sections in TRU and Walmart, but all they have are items of little interest that hang around for...nearly more than a year. It's almost like the toy sections at Ross or TJ Maxx.

    Target clearances most their GOOD stuff, in order to make room for more good stuff. It's almost like they can't get rid of it, so it's like "QUICK EVERYONE, get your price taggers and label every year-old toy you can find! Go, go, go!" To this day I still regret not picking up that Agents set with the two big sharks for $25.
  • brickmaticbrickmatic Member Posts: 1,071
    Yeah, Target does have good deals on good sets. And the sets tend to retail at MSRP, unlike the inflated prices of TRU.
  • wander099wander099 Member Posts: 114
    I can't wait until Target gets to Canada and replaces Zellers, some of those deals you guys get are amazing! Best Zellers ever gets here is an occasional buy one get one half off for specific themes (never seen anything better where I live) and Walmart hardly ever knocks down Lego prices.

    There are two Zellers where I live and both are mediocre, so surely anything would be better when it comes to Lego. I mean, one looks like a bomb went off in the Lego section (sets on the floor, boxes torn open, duplo mixed in, etc.) and never gets anything new until months after it is out everywhere else (that is if it gets it at all). And the other doesn't have much stock either. I just go to the better one when I know there is a deal, like by one get one half off on a specific theme.

    When Target gets here I will definitely be checking it out for deals on Lego.
  • madforLEGOmadforLEGO Chicagoland USMember Posts: 9,500
    I have also had trouble finding the Collectable minifigs at Target, my GF says she sees them all of the time, but I have yet seen one fig at a target...
  • brickmaticbrickmatic Member Posts: 1,071
    I find that it is hit or miss with the collectable minifigs at Target. However, get the barcode and scan it at the price check. It will tell you which aisle it is in if it is there.
  • georgebjonesgeorgebjones Member Posts: 224
    Good point, brickmatic, I will have to try that.
  • yys4uyys4u USA SoCalMember Posts: 1,092
    I experienced something that might be useful to you guys. The other day I was strolling through target looking for CMF, they had none, but then I saw that Tron had been released in a nice 4 disc set and was on sale for 5 bucks lower than retail. Then an employee told me they had a limited edition version that had sold out, so I had them look up another store that had it. I went to the next store and they had it but at a higher price, (not on sale). I asked the employee at the electronics department and he said that clearances aren't always at all targets. But I price checked it anyways and it actually was on sale, despite what the employee said and the fact there was no clearance sign whatso ever. So it might be worth price checking just in case.
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