Macy’s Will Have Fewer Promotions With Coupons, Lower Clearance Prices

There’s a subset of department store customers who love playing coupon games, clipping bonus coupons from flyers and newspapers to get an extra percentage off items that are already on sale. Macy’s, long a great place to shop if you love to stack coupons on top of clearance sales, will stop that practice in favor of simply marking their clearance items down more in the first place.

For example, instead of marking down an item 50% and then distributing coupons for 20% off the clearance price, Macy’s would simply mark the clearance items down 60%. They won’t eliminate coupons entirely, just simplify deal-hunting, and experimenting with the idea that bargain-hunting is still super-fun even if you don’t remember to bring in your coupons.

The Washington Post reports that in test stores, ditching coupons for clearance items has worked really well, helping the company sell clearance items faster and make room for the next season’s merchandise.

There’s a risk here, and that risk is the ever-present spectre of Ron Johnson, the CEO who tried to bring simple low prices to JCPenney instead of artificially high prices and convoluted discounting games. It turned out that JCPenney’s customers enjoy the pricing games, and especially enjoyed coupons, which feel like getting a special deal that isn’t offered to everyone.

If you see the clearance coupons return, that will mean that this nationwide experiment didn’t work out.

Why you won’t have to lug so many coupons to Macy’s anymore [Washington Post]