September 20, 2011

How (and Why) to Shop TJ Maxx

As a shopper that refuses to pay retail for most items, I practically live in TJ Maxx. On my lunch break or on the weekends, you can find me at a TJ Maxx either in the city or as far out as Naperville. Even when I travel, I try to visit the nearest TJ Maxx before heading back home.

For some, TJ Maxx can be a bit overwhelming because, unlike department stores and boutiques, every section is not organized by designer or color. It takes patience to go through the many racks and shelves but I guarantee that finding a designer treasure at a fraction of retail makes it all worth it.

When TJ Maxx contacted me to take a tour of the State Street store (with a complimentary gift card) and learn more about how the retail locations operate, I jumped at the opportunity. 

Of course, there were quite a few things I wanted to photograph to give you an idea of what you can expect to find there. But this time around I was more focused on providing you with information on how to successfully navigate the store and understand why you should frequent TJ Maxx.

Here's a little bit of what I already knew plus what I discovered during my personal tour (along with a few photos to entice you even more).


1. Overwhelmed by the rows of racks? Start on the displays that are located in the front of the store and on the outskirts of each section. These displays are organized by designer and size to help ease you into what I like to call " digging in the racks".

2. Pay attention to the "compare at" value on the tag. Not only will this make you even more excited about the bargain you are receiving, this will also help when reasoning with the spouse on how much damage you did. Works like a charm every time.

3. Buy now, think later. Due to the high turnover and limited quantities at TJ Maxx, leaving an item in the store pretty much means it will be gone the next day, or even in the same day.  If you like it, buy it. And if you happen to change your mind, take advantage of  TJ Maxx's extremely accommodating return policy.

4. Shop often because every TJ Maxx (and Marshalls) receives more than 10,000 new items each week

5. Befriend the store manager to stay up to date on when new shipments arise.

6. Purple tags are a label lover's dream. These indicate premium brands such as Prada, Celine and Rachel Roy.


1. Items in TJ Maxx are priced up to 60% less than department and specialty stores. Additionally, majority of these items are from the current season. I can actually attest to this since there have been several times where I've scored an item at TJ Maxx and later spotted it at another store at the retail price.

2. The buyers at TJ Maxx are "ultimate treasure hunters". And rightfully so! Unlike department and specialty stores who buy on a cyclical schedule, TJ Maxx and Marshalls buyers travel over 40 weeks a year to over 60 countries to find the best deals on the latest trends. This opportunistic buying explains why each TJ Maxx receives such a large amount of items per week. And with 1700+ stores combined, the buyers also have the ability to negotiate better prices and pass the savings along to customers.

3. You can shop all of the trends in one location. TJ Maxx is going to be well-stocked with the following Fall 2011 trend items:
  • capes and ponchos
  • faux fur
  • leather (from motorcycle jackets to knee high boots)
  • outerwear, footwear and handbags in bordeaux, jewel tones and neutrals
  • animal prints
  • wide leg trousers and jeans.

Being a social media junkie, I was excited to learn that some stores are now on Twitter!

Here are the Chicagoland Twitter accounts:* (my favorite lunchtime getaway location) (the best location for high-end designer items)

These store managers actively tweet about their new shipments as well as the designer items they currently have in stock. It's the perfect way to stay informed.

My last piece of advice for shopping TJ Maxx...

Enjoy yourself! A trip to TJ Maxx is hardly ever quick. With so many great items for women, men, children and home, set aside some time to simply enjoy yourself. That's how all the best treasures are found. Just don't buy up all of the good stuff. OK?

Are you a TJ Maxx shopper? Let me know your favorite locations and why.

*If you're not in Chicago and want to find out if your local TJ Maxx is on twitter, visit the store locator page and enter your zip code. The twitter name will be listed with the store, if applicable.

**special thanks to Mikinzie Stuart and TJ Maxx for the tour and gift card.

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Blogger Tara @ Haute Lunch said...

Great post! I love TJ Maxx and have found many wonderful treasures there! I totally agree with your shopping tips as well! I usually shop at the store on State (since it is closest) but it can get pretty crowded, so I like to go to the one on Fullerton if I have time.

September 20, 2011 at 11:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for this posting! I am one of those that gets overwhelmed with tj maxx! but i have hope now

September 20, 2011 at 4:47 PM  
Blogger Piper Alexander said...

I love the brown bag in the last pic! I may have to run over on my lunch break tomorrow. I love TJ's for shoes, bags and random home stuff. I normally don't do a lot of clothes shopping there, because, I hate to admit, I'm impatient.

For more home stuff, check out Homegoods.

September 20, 2011 at 4:53 PM  
Anonymous tiff said...

I love, love, love TJMaxx. Even though my mom passed recently and I thought I would never be able to go into our "hangout" again. I have managed to go in probably 5 times in the last month. Great deals :)

September 20, 2011 at 8:28 PM  
Blogger Andrea said...

Cool post Nikia! My favorite TJMaxx location is in Evanston. I like this location because I am always able to find AWESOME bags.

September 21, 2011 at 4:25 PM  

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