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10 Things You Didn’t Know About TJ Maxx & Why Prices Are So Low

If you are a budget fashion lover, then you likely take it to the ‘Maxx. By “it,” we mean your paycheck. And by ‘Maxx, we mean the much-adored budget retailer TJ Maxx.

Yes, TJ Maxx is likely the source of many dropped dollars, if you like your clothing and home decor to cost less than department stores. But when you’re down for a style hunt, you probably pull into the retailer’s parking lot without much thought on how exactly TJ Maxx does it all. But there’s a slew of relatively unknown facts behind the store’s inception and concept—not to mention insider tips to help you get the very best deals along the way.

If you want to know what a TJ Maxx yellow tag means or the difference between TJ Maxx and Marshalls (and yes, there is a difference), check out these 10 fast facts about TJ Maxx.

1. The first TJ Maxx stores opened in 1977.

In 1976, a discount retail corporation recruited Bernard Cammarata, who was the general merchandising manager of Marshalls at the time, to spearhead the launch of a new off-price chain selling apparel and home decor. A year later in 1977, the first two TJ Maxx stores opened in Auburn and Worcester, Mass. That history adds up to more than 40 years of deals.

In 1995, Marshalls was acquired by TJX Companies (TJ Maxx’s parent company), even though the inception and overall concept of TJ Maxx was likely inspired by the long-standing success of Marshalls stores.

2. Forget what you’ve heard: TJ Maxx is not a discount store.

Though you can score some pretty stellar deals at TJ Maxx, it’s not technically a discount store. TJ Maxx is an off-price retailer, which means it stocks excess inventory from merchandisers. According to the TJ Maxx website, the retailer sources inventory from “a wide variety of opportunities, which can include department store cancellations, a manufacturer making up too much product, or a closeout deal when a vendor wants to clear merchandise at the end of a season.” Discount stores, on the other hand, buy merchandise at full wholesale price but take less markup than traditional stores.

3. There’s actually a difference between TJ Maxx and Marshalls.

Though many shoppers think of the sister stores as interchangeably similar, TJ Maxx and Marshalls both have some distinct features. TJ Maxx has an expanded jewelry and accessories section and features more designer pieces for sale. Marshalls, on the other hand, offers family footwear, an expanded men’s department and a dedicated juniors department.

4. The majority of TJ Maxx products aren’t damaged or irregular.

According to SheFinds, 95 percent of products sold at the retailer are in top-notch condition, with damaged or defective products making up only a reported 5 percent of all TJ Maxx inventory. And don’t worry, any condition issues will always be disclosed on the tag—but it’s rarely a concern.

5. TJ Maxx is actually called T.K.Maxx in the U.K. and Ireland.

The TJX corporation launched T.K. Maxx in the U.K. in 1994. The slight name change was reported to avoid confusion with the existing discount department store chain T.J. Hughes, which already existed in the U.K. and was not affiliated with the TJX corporation.

6. There are more than 1,200 TJ Maxx locations around the world.

As of January 2021, there were more than 1,200 TJ Maxx stores around the world. For those curious, there’s another 600-plus T.K.Maxx locations in the U.K. and Ireland. Out of the 50 states, only Alaska doesn’t have a TJ Maxx location.

7. According to insiders, Wednesday is the best day to shop.

TJ Maxx shoppers claim that the retailer receives its biggest shipments (and marks down the most items) on Wednesdays, making it the best day to score new products and top deals. But deals and markdowns happen all during the workweek—just not on weekends. Other insiders claim shopping midday during the workweek—specifically Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays—will help you beat crowds and score top deals.

This Tuesday, May 16, 2017, photo shows a T.J. Maxx store price tag on a shirt, in Des Moines, Iowa. The cost of clothing, auto insurance and health care rose in August 2017, according to consumer price information released Thursday, Sept. 14, 2017, by the Labor Department. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
A TJ Maxx store price tag on a shirt, in Des Moines, Iowa.
CREDIT: AP

8. Yellow price tags mean the item is at its final and lowest markdown.

In the case of TJ Maxx, yellow means go. A yellow tag on TJ Maxx merchandise means the item has been marked down to its final—and lowest—price. Any introductory markdowns are printed on red stickers, while regularly priced merchandise features white labels comparing a product’s TJ Maxx price to its normal retail cost. But be warned: Some reports claim these retail prices may be slightly inflated, giving the impression of a better bargain.

9. TJ Maxx stores in select regions sell discounted designer merchandise.

And we mean designer. Select TJ Maxx stores have deals on top designer pieces in a special section called The Runway. In The Runway, you can find some of the biggest names in fashion, with some shoppers discovering Gucci, Celine and Saint Laurent pieces in the sought-after section. You can also shop The Runway (and regular TJ Maxx pieces, for that matter) online. When shopping in stores, The Runway merchandise will have a purple tag.

10. TJ Maxx has its own private labels, which turns out some of the merchandise the store stocks.

According to HerCampus, an estimated 10 percent of products available in TJ Maxx stores are created under independently-owned private labels. Clothing featuring the label Frou Frou, Mercer and Madison, Between Me & You, and more are all owned by The TJX Companies. These items are created especially for sales at TJ Maxx and Marshalls locations.

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