The two stores are affiliated with Marmaxx Group, so they are able to negotiate what they pay for goods and what savings they can offer to customers.

There are good reasons that bargain-seekers shop with T.J. Maxx and Marshalls outlets. The two stores are affiliated with Marmaxx Group, the largest retailer of clothing and home décor in the country, so they are able to negotiate what they pay for goods and what savings they can offer to customers. Their usual discounts are 20 to 60 percent off original retail prices.

They keep prices low by bypassing agreements with their providers to buy back a percentage of the merchandise if it doesn’t sell within a certain period of time. So they can offer customers a lower price than retailers that agree to the “buy-back.”

T.J. Maxx and Marshalls hire aggressive buyers who pay attention to more than seasonal factors. If a product meets the quality standards and they can get it at a good price, they buy it. The practice ensures an ongoing flow of merchandise.

Marmaxx works with thousands of vendors around the world and they use past experience to make quick purchases on bargain items. They may buy what other retailers might consider “odds and ends.” They are not as fussy about such things as size ranges, etc. If they think they can sell the item, they buy it.

Different shoppers have different opinions about the two retail outlets, depending on what they are shopping for. T.J. Maxx offers fine jewelry and accessories and in some of its stores, The Runway is a high-end discount designer. Marshalls has a full line of family footwear and a junior department called The CUBE.

Knowing something about the price tags at the stores can help shoppers find the best deals. A yellow price tag indicates a deep discount; white tags are regular-priced items; purple signifies items from “The Runway” which offers desirable, high-end goods. The latter are harder to find, but there are some available.

Tuesdays through Fridays may be the best shopping days at these stores. Some shoppers regularly bet that the discounts will be more advantageous on Wednesday mornings. January and July are the months when end-of-season merchandise is offered. Prices are adjusted downward more often in these months.

If you comparison shop, be aware that T.J. Maxx and Marshalls don’t do a good job with such information. The “compare at” prices may tend to be inflated. Use the Amazon app to see comparisons.

The stores discourage haggling. Irregular items are clearly marked and the price takes it into consideration. Damaged items may give shoppers some leeway to bargain with management, but expectations should be on the conservative side.

Discounted gift cards are offered in place of coupons, category promotions or store-wide sales. Savings can vary, but shoppers can expect to shave at least another 5 percent off the price by using the gift cards, which are available through websites such as Raise.com, GiftCardGranny.com and CardPool.com. The cards can be used at T.J.Maxx, Marshalls and HomeGoods.

Twila Van Leer

Journalist/writer for more than 50 years. Pulitzer Prize nominee, 1983 for coverage of the first permanent artificial heart. More than 50 national, regional, local awards for news writing. Main writer for a memorial book for Deseret News' 150 th anniversary and for a book recounting the 1997 re-enactment of the pioneer trek from Omaha to Salt Lake City. Co-writer and editor of "True Valor," a book on the history of the artificial heart. Author of the book, Life Is Just A Bowl Of Kumquats, a wonderful story of a house wife and her trials with raising a large family.

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