Recently I attended the Marshalls and T.J. Maxx Holiday Blogger trip where I learned many things I didn’t know about the two stores.
On the trip flight, accommodations, transportation, and meals were provided.
While there I was surprised about the amount of information I didn’t know about either Marshalls or T.J. Maxx even though I consider myself a seasoned bargain shopper!
Here’s a list of some of the things I learned at the event last week.
10 Things You Didn’t Know About Marshalls and T.J. Maxx
1. Each of their 1700 stores received 10,000 items a week. Some stores get shipments every day, some a couple of times a week. Store owners never know what the shipments will contain. Every time you shop it’s like walking into a new store.
2. No Coupons and No Sales (even Black Friday). Marshalls and T.J. Maxx know that by using coupons or sales the customer will hold off on purchasing an item and instead wait for a sale. They would rather the customer purchase the item right away, especially because their merchandise is always changing. While they are not offering any special deals or coupons for Black Friday, they are open at 7 am – and don’t forget about those 2300 iPads that will be shipped to stores this week!
3. Customer Study: A social anthropologist studied the average Marshalls and T.J. Maxx shopper. It was found their typical customer is a glass-half full person. They are usually open minded and love the thrill of the hunt. They don’t go into the store with an objective, instead they are motivated by “What am I going to find today?”
4. For the Guys: Half of the Marshalls and T.J. Maxx customer base are men.
5. Flexible “No Walls” Concept: Their buyers can purchase 5 or 500 of an item because not all of the stores carry the same merchandise. This allows the buyers to purchase large quantities to carry in all stores or only a few pieces to carry in select stores.
6. Marshalls and T.J. Maxx are able to pass on great value to their customers because:
- Their buying team is made up of great negotiators who travel 40 weeks or more per year to 60 different countries (vs. department stores who buy seasonally).
- They buy direct from the vendors and designers. They save money by cutting out the middle- man as well as owning and running their own distribution centers
- They offer certainty to the vendors and designers: they will pay on time, they never return merchandise to vendors, and they don’t come back to the vendor or designer asking for advertising money.
7. Don’t Pay for the Display: At Marshalls and T.J. Maxx they maintain low prices by keeping operating costs low – no carpets, no fancy mannequins, no fancy fixtures, etc. This allows them to offer quality merchandise at a great price.
9. Biggest Myth: The biggest myth about the two stores is that, “In order to offer the products at such low prices, there must be something wrong with them.” This is not true. Only 5% of their goods are irregular and those that are will be clearly marked. The irregularity is also something that the average customer will not notice.
9. Defining Value: Marshalls and T.J. Maxx only sell merchandise that meets the following qualifications:
- Fashion – it must be a fashion classic or an on-trend, current season style
- Quality – it must be first quality. They never compromise on this.
- Brand – it must be a designer or brand name that customers know, trust, and will be proud to own.
- Price – it must be negotiated to sell for up to 60% less than if found in a department or specialty store.
10. Marshalls and T.J. Maxx are not Discount Stores: They are off-price stores. The difference is this – off-price stores sell brand name and designer merchandise, while discount stores primarily sell private label merchandise. The discount stores may offer some designer names but the difference lies in the quality of the merchandise. A blouse selling at a discount store for $29.99 was manufactured to sell at that price. At off-prices stores like Marshalls and T.J. Maxx a brand name or designer blouse selling for $29.99 was manufactured to sell at approximately $50.