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Think You Scored a Designer Deal? Here's What You Actually May Be Buying at TJ Maxx, Marshalls

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You made a trip to T.J. Maxx or Marshalls and think you bought designer clothes for a fraction of the cost, but some of those items actually have a "TJX" label and were manufactured for the stores through licensing agreements with the designers. Consumer Reporter Susan Hogan explains. (Published Thursday, Aug 15, 2019 | Credit Susan Hogan, Meredith Royster) You made a trip to T.J. Maxx or Marshalls and think you bought designer clothes for a fraction of the... See More

You made a trip to T.J. Maxx or Marshalls and think you bought designer clothes for a fraction of the cost, but some of those items actually have a "TJX" label and were manufactured for the stores through licensing agreements with the designers. Consumer Reporter Susan Hogan explains.

(Published Thursday, Aug 15, 2019)

When you shop at T.J. Maxx or Marshalls, you think you've scored a deal on designer clothing you would find in a high-end department store.

But that may not be the case. 

Some items sold at the discount stores have a small "TJX" label, naming the parent company of T.J. Maxx and Marshalls. A retail expert told News4 that this is a sign that the items were manufactured specifically for the stores, and have designer labels because of licensing agreements with the designers. 

The quality and fit you expect from a designer label may not be what you get from a licensed item, said retail expert Ron Hess, a professor at the College of William & Mary. 

Here's a TJX tag we found.
Photo credit: NBC Washington

"[Shoppers] feel like, 'I'm not really getting the value I thought I was when I bought this,'" he said. 

Shoppers should be skeptical of price tags that list the price and a "compare at" price," Hess said. Such comparisons can be misleading because the exact same garment may not be sold anywhere else. After all, it was made specifically for the store. 

On its website, TJX says identical items sold in their stores aren't always available for price comparison, so they are compared with "products of similar type, quality and style."

To see if you're actually buying designer clothing at T.J. Maxx or Marshalls, find the inside tag with washing instructions and look for the letters TJX. 

Customers we spoke to outside a T.J. Maxx in Washington, D.C., said they were surprised to hear about the TJX labels.

"That bothers me, especially when people don't know that's what's happening," one man said.

Another woman said she just wanted a bargain, no matter who actually made it.

"Hey, if it looks good, I don't care," she said. "It's better than paying full price."

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