Pogue’s Basics: Money — The Insiders’ Truth About Gap, Banana Republic, and Old Navy

Yahoo Finance

If you wander into a Gap, Banana Republic, or Old Navy store and pay the price on the tag, you’re a sucker. Plain and simple.

You should never pay full price at Gap, Banana Republic, or Old Navy.

A single mother-ship company runs all three chains, and they all follow the same fascinating business model. They price the clothes higher than you might expect — but then they shower the world with sales and discounts and deals. All the time.

First, they run a 40%-off-everything sale for a few days every couple of months, often tied to holidays. The sale usually runs for several days.

The crazy part is that some items are already on sale when the 40-percent-off sale rolls around. That is, you can get 40 percent off of the sale price. If you want to be notified about these sales, you can sign up for their email newsletters. As a handy bonus, the mere act of signing up for that newsletter usually gets you a coupon for 15 or 20 percent off.

And if you plan to shop there more than once, sign up for the store’s credit card. It’s discount magic. You get 15 percent off whatever you’re about to buy right now, when you sign up for the card, plus 10 percent off in the next two months, plus 10 percent off everything you buy any Tuesday at the Gap. Plus even more of those 40-percent-off-everything sales. Plus $5 back on every $100 you spend.

By the way, this message is not brought to you by those stores. I just want to save you money.