Industry secrets: where T.J.Maxx really gets its merch

Despite the ongoing retail apocalypse, there’s a lot of oohing and ahhing about the longtime success of T.J. Maxx. It’s one of the only retailers out there today that’s still doing well, and for good reason. Shoppers love a bargain, being able to buy brand-name goods at a fraction of the full-price value. $20 for a Calvin Klein blouse, worth $80 at regular department stores like Macy’s? Sold!

When asked how it sell goods at such low prices, T.J. Maxx is extremely secretive. It does take the chance to toot its own horn by discussing how it sources goods directly from manufacturers, making all sorts of deals like buying last minute overstock, not including buyback clauses in contracts that require manufacturers to accept returns for unsold goods, and other wheeling-and-dealing behind closed doors that allows it to pass the savings onto consumers.

There doesn’t seem to be much questioning about these supposed tactics from the media that covers T.J. Maxx–it apparently has a history of staying mum and protecting its vendor sources. It projects an image of having insider connections to vendors who would be embarrassed to disclose that they sell to T.J. Maxx. Because of this, while fast fashion retailers like Forever 21 and H&M have been the subject of continued harsh media scrutiny, T.J. Maxx hasn’t been made to answer for its business practices and indiscretions.

As mentioned, T.J. Maxx is extremely secretive about its sourcing. But it’s still possible to make some guesses about its sourcing tactics based on a couple media articles and my dad’s encounters and experiences as a vendor.

Here’s the real deal.

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