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

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Stephanie MialkiGuest Blogger
July 03, 2016 · 11k Views

When most shoppers look at price tags, they check for a clearance sticker or a red line through the price, signifying that the item is marked down. Well, there’s actually more to it than this! Because of the similar internal pricing system that all stores use, typically, the last one or two numbers of a price or a code will tell you all you need to know about the cost of the item. By knowing how to recognize these codes and learning what they mean, you’ll be able to figure out if the item is full-price, clearance, or if it’s going to be marked down even more. Become a master code-cracker, and save yourself some big money at these popular stores!

P.S. Click on the retailer's name to visit their coupon page on DealsPlus!


1. Costco

Source: Smatterist

At Costco, prices ending in .99 indicate full-price, while prices ending in .97 signify a markdown. Prices ending in .88 or .00 are manager’s discounts, usually applied to display items, returned items, or end-of-inventory items. If you find a price tag with an asterisk in the top, right-hand corner, it means that the item is going to be discontinued and will probably be discounted even more.

>> SEE MORE: 15 Costco Shopping Hacks Every Shopper Needs to Know

2. Sears

At Sears, prices ending in .99 are full-price items. Prices ending in .97 indicate discontinued or clearance items that could continue to be discounted over time. Lastly, prices ending in .88 are your best deal as this indicates a final markdown price.

3. BJ’s Wholesale

Source: Living Ithaca

It’s important to check prices AND product codes at BJ’s. Prices ending in 9 are still full-price. Prices ending in .90 and .00 signify a manager’s discount. These are items that the store wants to clear out for any number of reasons - perhaps they’ve been opened and have lost their value, or maybe it is the last product of its kind with no chance of being restocked. These items are usually discounted 10% each week, maxing out at 60% off in total.

Product codes are also key to take note of at BJ’s, as these tell you whether or not the item is going to be restocked or discontinued. Product codes can be found on the price tag right next to the item number. A product code ending in: 1 means the item is full-price and will be restocked; 2 means the item is discontinued and will not be restocked (these items may be discounted even more after some time); 7 means it is a one-time purchase and will not be restocked (these are usually seasonal items); and 9 means the product is going to be returned to the manufacturer very soon and will not be restocked at all.

>> SEE MORE: Who Has the Best Prices: Costco, BJ's, or Sam's Club?

4. American Eagle

At American Eagle, a price ending in .95 is full-price, while a price ending in .99 or .00 is clearance price. As is the case with the Gap, Inc. stores, there may be an additional discount sticker added to the price tag, but these additional discounts vary by store.

5. Dick’s Sporting Goods

Source: MLive

The price tags at Dick’s Sporting Goods are pretty simple. Prices ending in .00 or .99 indicate full-price items, while prices ending in .93 or. 97 indicate clearance items.

6. Pier 1 Imports

Pier 1 is another simple one to decode. Here, prices ending in .95 and .00 are full-price items, while prices ending in .98 and .48 are clearance items.

7. Home Depot

Source: Six String Bliss

At Home Depot, it’s important to recognize the numbers on the price tag, as well as what they mean. A price code ending in .06 indicates a clearance item, and typically, these items have 6 weeks until the next price drop. A price ending in .03 means that the item will be gone from the store forever in just 3 weeks. By looking at the date printed on the bottom of the price tag, you should be able to determine when the item will be marked down again or removed from the store completely.

>> SEE MORE: 11 Home Depot Discount Hacks & Tips for DIYers

8. Staples

Staples uses letters to code their price tags. Price tags with the letters A, I, or P indicate full-price items, while price tags with the letters C or F indicate that this is probably the cheapest you’ll find that item.

9. Old Navy, Gap, & Banana Republic

Source: The Krazy Coupon Lady

Each of these Gap, Inc. stores use the same pricing system. Prices ending in .47, .49, .97 or .99 all indicate discontinued or clearance items, and this is probably the best price you’re going to get on these items. On occasion, though, these stores will take an additional 30-40% off toward the end of the season, so be sure to keep your eye out!

>> SEE MORE: 10 Proven Ways to Save Money at Old Navy

10. Office Depot

Office Depot takes a few more steps than Staples does, in terms of markdowns. Prices ending in 1 indicate the first clearance markdown; prices ending in 2 indicate a second clearance markdown; prices ending in 3 indicate a third clearance markdown; and prices ending in 4 indicate the fourth and final clearance markdown. Any other end-number means you’re paying full-price.

11. Sam’s Club

Source: A Working Pantry Blogspot

Checking for numbers and letters is essential when shopping at Sam’s Club. Prices ending in 1 indicate a sale or clearance price. In addition, there is a letter next to the item number in the top, right-hand corner of the shelf tag. ‘A’ means ‘active item,’ which is an item that is normally always carried; ‘N’ means ‘never out,’ which is an item that should always be in stock; and ‘C’ means ‘canceled,’ which is an item that is soon to be discontinued and discounted.


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Stephanie Mialki is a mommy of two under two, a fitness enthusiast, and a digital marketing guru. She spends all of her spare time….oh wait, what spare time? She has a passion for business building and has successfully assisted more than 20 entrepreneurs start their own companies.
scorpion650Jul 04, 2016