Secrets Retailers Don’t Want You To Know About Their Price Tag Codes

Did you know simple retail price tags contain secret information? Once you read this list and uncover the codes, you’ll save yourself big money on great items. Costco, Home Depot, Kohl’s and so many more big box retailers use simple numbers on their price tags to note new markdowns, limited price drops, final clearance items and a lot more. Scan this list, print it out and transform yourself into a shopping ninja.

American Eagle Outfitters

American Eagle offers stylish, hip clothing at relatively good prices. Look for these numbers on the price tag to drop that even lower.

If the price tag ends in:

.95 – You pay full price. No price tag savings here, but use a coupon for discounts.

.99 – Clearance price and the best available price you’ll find. You may find a separate price sticker attached which also indicates a clearance item. The numbers and their meaning on the separate price sticker will vary by store.

.00 – Clearance price and the best available price you’ll find. You may find a separate price sticker attached which also indicates a clearance item. The numbers and their meaning on the separate price sticker will vary by store.

BJ’s Wholesale Club

BJ’s Wholesale Club operates on the East Coast and in Ohio. They also have their own secret pricing codes.

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If the price tag ends in:

9 – Any price that ends with the number ‘9’, e.g. .19, .59, etc., indicates full price.

.90 – These indicate a manager’s discount. The store wants to move this merchandise. They discount this at 10% per week up to 60% off until they discontinue it.

What items do they discount? Typically products that lose their value after a customer opens them. That could be stereos, TVs, laptops, etc., AND are the last product in the store with no chance of being restocked.

.00 – These indicate a manager’s discount. The store wants to move this merchandise. They discount this at 10% per week up to 60% off until they discontinue it.

Check the product codes also. These give you an idea whether or not BJ’s plans to restock or discontinue the items, helping you get more savings.

If the product code ends in:

1 – Full price item and will be restocked.

2 – Discontinued item and will not be restocked. After awhile, the store will discount them at the manager’s discretion.

7 – One time purchase, will not be restocked. These are your seasonal items. Get them now because they won’t come back.

9 – Manufacturer returns, will not be restocked. BJ’s will send these items back to the manufacturers within the week, get them now.

Costco Wholesale

Costco gives its shoppers tremendous values at already strong prices. Add in these price cracks and you’ll drop those savings down even further.

If the price tag ends in:

.99 – Full price, no markdown.

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.97 – Price markdown. These items haven’t sold as well and Costco has requested a special price markdown from the vendor.

Pro Tip: Compare the markdowns with original prices. To find the original price, bring the item number to a store associate and they will look it up for you.

.88 – Manager specials. Costco applies this price tag on display items, returned (but still sellable) items, or end of inventory items. Find these items in less accessible areas of the store, since Costco saves the prime foot traffic areas for their regular price items.

.00 – Manager specials. Same pricing system as .88.

Asterisk – These give you the best deals. Find tag with asterisks in the top, right hand corner, and that end in 7. Costco marks these as ‘pending delete’ and the retailer intends to remove this item from the store forever.

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Any other number – Numbers not noted above indicate manager’s or manufacturer’s specials. Pricing will vary by store.

Pro Tip: Look at the date under the price. This indicates when Costco created the shelf tag or changed the price. Come across a regularly stocked item and the date indicates a recent price drop.

Gap & Old Navy

The same company owns Gap and Old Navy, so pricing codes will not vary between either store.

If the price tag ends in:

.47, .49, .97, or .99 – These indicate clearance or discontinued items. You’ll get the best deals with these.

Pro Tip: Gap and Old Navy lower clearance prices by 30% or 40% off and do so at the end of season.

Home Depot

When it comes to costly home remodeling and repairs, these codes can help you rack up big savings.

Pro Tip: Focus on yellow tags, ignore white tags. Home Depot only uses yellow tags for clearance items. White tags, regardless of the ending numbers, mean full price.

If the price tag ends in:

6 – Prices ending in .06, .36, etc., indicate 6 weeks left until the next price change. These items have hit their second markdown cycle. Home Depot uses 2 markdown cycle before they close an item out. More on that later.

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3 – Same as 6, but with 3. These items have 3 weeks left before the next markdown. Depending on how much you want these items, you can risk waiting or grab them now.

Pro Tip #1: Keep an eye on items with 3 on the end and wait 3 weeks. They drop to a penny after 3 weeks in Home Depot’s system. They call this “pennying out”. Associates should take them off the shelves, but many times, these items might stay on the shelves for a bit longer. Now’s the time to grab great items for a penny.

Pro Tip #2: Look for yellow tags with 10% off noted on the top. Home Depot uses these tags for store returns in workable condition, but may have a missing part. If you can live with that, you’ll get a good deal. Not only that, you can ask for an even lower price than the one on the tag at checkout. You will get it most of the time (unless the manager acts like a big meanie).

 J.C.Penney

This retailer hit a few hiccups some time ago, but now have gotten back on track. Here’s how to get even better prices at this solid retailer.

If the price tag ends in:

.00 – Full price. Use a coupon if you want a discount.

.99 – Clearance prices. The vendor still owns the item, so J.C.Penney must follow their pricing guidance. The price will be lower than normal, though not as low as it could go.

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.97 – Reduced clearance prices. J.C.Penney fully owns these items and can price them however they want. Every two weeks, the retailer lowers the item by half until it reaches $2.97. After that, J.C.Penney removes them from the store.

.98 – Indicates “2 for” deals. Find this number and you get 2 for that ticketed price.

Kohl’s

Kohl’s rivals J.C.Penney in terms of quality and price. Solid, dependable items at reasonable prices. Though they don’t have a specific price tag code, you can still get great deals with these cracks.

If the price tag contains:

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NM – Look for all these codes in the top right corner of the electronic shelf tag. NM means “New Markdown”. Don’t buy these just yet. It means the item goes on clearance that night or the next day. Come back for a better deal.

S – Sale Price. Nothing too remarkable here. Your usual sales prices.

GV – Great Value. These indicate a limited time price drop for a day or two.

Pro Tip: Kohl’s discounts clearance items every month or so with smaller discounts in between. They discount based on quantity and color. Those that sell better get smaller discounts, those that don’t sell get larger discounts.

Clearances usually start at 60% off and reach up to 90% off. Before they go on clearance, Kohl’s will label them as “limited quantity” and discount them 55-60% off.

Use your coupons with clearance items to get bigger savings.

Lands’ End

Lands’ End makes high quality clothing and if you can buy them at good prices, they’ll last you quite long.

If the price tag ends in:

.00 – Full price, no markdown.

.50 – Full price, no markdown.

.97 – Clearance or temporary sale items.

.99 – Clearance or temporary sale items.

Office Depot

Office Depot keeps their pricing scheme under wraps, but keep these known codes in mind.

If the price tag ends in:

1 – Prices ending in .01, .31, etc., have entered the first phase of a four phase clearance/markdown cycle.

2 – Prices ending in .02, .32, etc. Second markdown cycle.

3 – Prices ending in .03, .33, etc. Third markdown cycle.

4 – Prices ending in .04, .34, etc. Fourth and FINAL markdown cycle. After this point, they get closed out and removed.

Pro Tip: Any other numbers indicate full prices.

Petsmart

Keeping our loved ones fed and clothes can add up. Refer to these secret codes in mind and get great prices without skimping on your pet.

If the price tag ends in:

9 – Prices ending in .09, .39, etc., indicate full price.

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7 – Prices ending in .07, .37, etc. mean ‘reduced to clear’. Petsmart may mark these clearance products as clearance, but might miss tagging some. Look for the 7’s when you shop there.

Pier 1 Imports

Fancy up your home at Pier 1 Imports without dropping a ton of money. Here’s how.

If the price tag ends in:

.95 – Full price. No deals here.

.00 – Full price. No deals here.

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.98 – Clearance items. Exactly what we want. Look for these tags to get the most savings.

.48 – Clearance items.

Sam’s Club

If the price tag ends in:

1 – Prices ending in .01, .31, etc. mean on sale and a clearance item. Jump on these for great deals.

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If the shelf tag contains the letter:

A – Active item. For all these letters, look in the upper right hand corner of the shelf tag.

N – Never-Out. An item always in stock.

C – Canceled. Sam’s Club plans to zero these items out and remove them from inventory. These will have, or will soon have, clearance prices.

Pro Tip: Look for display models marked with a ‘C’. Double win for you. Negotiate with the store manager and get at least a 20% savings.

Sears

Home of Craftsman, Kenmore and Lands’ End. A wide assortment of everyday items you’ll save big on by using these hints.

If the price tag ends in:

.99 – Full price. Use a coupon for savings.

.97 – Discontinued items on clearance. You’ll get better savings than full price. If you really want to save, keep waiting until they hit the next markdown cycle.

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.88 – Final markdown price. They don’t go lower than this. Hop on these deals before Sears closes them out of inventory.

Target

You really can find everything you want here. Shoppers who come here regularly can really save a bundle each month by keeping these codes in mind.

If the price tag ends in:

.99 – Full price. Find a manufacturer’s coupon to save.

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8 – Prices ending in .08, .38, etc. mean clearance items with marked down prices.

4 – Prices ending in .04, .34, etc. mean clearance items with marked down prices.

Pro Tip: Check out the tiny print in the top right hand corners of clearance stickers. These show you the percentage off the original price. For example, the pic above shows ’50’, indicating 50% off. But that’s not all.

Target drops prices at set percentages: 15%, 30%, 50%, 75% and 90% off. Their markdown cycles last 10-14 days. Use the tiny print to judge how long to wait before buying the item.

Wow, what a list! These price tag hacks give you a great way to turn from an everyday shopper into a savvier, smarter shopper. You’ll save a ton of money and get lots of stuff for great prices.

Do you know of a price tag code or hack that we missed? Let us know and we’ll update this list. Or make a suggestion on your own savvy shopping ways. Lots of help on this guide came from these sources here, here and here. Check them out for more savings tips.

Share these tips to a friend and help them save on their next trip to the store.