It’s that time again! This weekend marks another Clear the Rack sale at Nordstrom Rack, where you will receive an additional 25% off clearance items. It’s one of my favorite sales and happens about once every 2 months, so I always try to make it in. I don’t find something every time, but over the years I’ve scored some of the best deals I’ve ever seen during CTR.
The store started implementing this sale within the last 5 years or so, and over time it has only gotten more popular. Nowadays, Racks flood with people throughout CTR weekend creating atrociously long lines for fitting rooms and checkout.
Here are a few quick tips for getting the most out of your CTR shopping experience:
- Shop during off-peak hours: Stores generally are much less crowded in the first and last hour of opening hours. Shop during any weekdays the sale is on, especially before 5pm. Avoid Sundays as their limited hours mean more concentrated crowds.
- Shop during crappy weather: I have noticed that the stores tend to get busier when it’s nice out. I think it’s a combination of nice weather prompting people to leave the house and warm weather prompting people to head to places with A/C.
- Go in with an open mind: Nordstrom Rack is not a place to go when you need something really specific, and it is even less so during CTR. Be willing to look through a lot of things before finding something you like. Also be okay with not buying anything to avoid impulse purchases that will require more time to return.
- Don’t shop in a hurry: Depending on how thorough you want to be, I’d allow at least 1 hour to shop. I recommend against shopping after the 2 hour mark as most people are pretty tired, dehydrated, hungry, and/or cranky, which is not conducive to making good judgments.
- It’s in the tag: the 25% discount applies towards merchandise labeled with a blue or red price tag. Where you find an item (i.e. in the clearance vs. regular price racks does not determine the clearance status–only the tag color does.
- Look down: During CTR hundreds of people are flipping their way through the clearance racks. Some get a little aggressive and as a result, a lot of clothes end up on the floor. I’ve found some real steals by just looking down on the floor. Sure, they may end up a little dusty, but they’re really no dirtier than any other article of clothing that gets touched and tried on day-in and day-out.
- Check the sizes around yours: There are a hundred reasons why an item ends up on the sale rack. Sometimes it’s had trouble selling because of sizing issues. I once found an Under Armour running shirt for $3 because it was labeled XS but fit more like an M. Another reason to check other sizes is simply because things often get misplaced. Be aware of foreign sizing (i.e. a UK 8 is a US 6).
- For items you have your eye on: Up until a few months ago, Nordstrom Rack did holds and price adjustments. That means if you found a clearance item you really liked but were just a few days early for CTR, you could still take advantage of the discount by either putting it on hold or buying it early and bring it back for price adjustment. Because neither of these are options anymore, your best bet is to take pictures of the item and barcode, and make note of size and color. Then, during CTR, present these to an employee, who can use their system to check inventories of their store and other nearby stores. There’s no guarantee the item will still be there, and it’ll be up to you to locate the item among the racks, but at least you won’t be going on a complete wild goose chase if someone else already bought it.
- Skip the line with mobile checkout: Any employee wearing a bright green shirt should be armed with a mobile scanner that can run card transactions at mobile stations dispersed throughout the store. Be warned, though, that the mobiles have functional limitations so that sometimes transactions end up taking longer than if you just stood in line for checkout.
- Save the returns for another day: Returns, especially online returns, tend to take much longer than checkout, and unnecessarily hold up the already long lines. With Nordstrom Rack’s 90-day return policy, there should be plenty of time that you can come back any other weekend to make your return.
For those that don’t live near a store or who don’t want to put up with crowds, the sale happens online as well. Be aware that the discount is already reflected in the online prices and that there is an $100 minimum (before tax) for free shipping.