I like Banana Republic, but I certainly don’t love it. They have great deals and very simple, classic pieces. I haven’t had a bad experience with the sales staff and am generally able to get in and out of there without being hassled. However, there are a few things you must know to maximize your experience and savings when shopping at Banana Republic.
Be wary of the quality. At full price, Banana Republic’s merchandise is WAY overpriced – especially for the quality. I have a strict policy of never paying more than $30 on any one item because I don’t feel the quality commands any more than that.
Merchandise doesn’t change much from year to year. Banana Republic has a formula and darn it, they’re not going to stray from it. They’ve had a Mad Men line that has done reasonably well, though in my opinion it isn’t terribly different from what they usually carry. They have nice prints, but not a lot of unique originality. But this isn’t always a bad thing. If you need a black dress or a white button up, you’ll always find it there.
Wait for the sale on top of sale sales. I will not buy anything from this store unless it is at least 30% off their marked down price, which happens often. Then, about 6-8 times (maybe more) a year they’ll have 40% off mark downs. But, once a year, after Christmas, they offer the crown jewel of sales: 50% off mark downs. This is when I do my heavy Banana visit. You’ll likely find me buying way more than necessary and stocking up on coats and sweaters at this event.
Avoid shopping online. I can honestly tell you I rarely shop at www.bananarepublic.com. They offer better deals in the store and you don’t have to pay that pesky shipping fee. For example, the website will offer you 30% off mark downs, while the store will be simultaneously offering 40%. Plus, I find that the store has better mark downs – the same sweater that’s on the website for $39.99 is in the store for $29.99. They also have excellent Final Sale finds. Maybe they are online returns or from last season, but either way, it’s worth going in to a store to see for yourself.
Use the store credit card for sales. I don’t have a Banana Republic credit card. Mostly it’s because I don’t shop there enough, but I do feel like I miss out on some extra deals. Banana often offers an extra 10-25% off if you use their store card. This includes their affiliate brands as well (ie. Gap and Old Navy). If you do have a card, try to combine a sale on sale with the card discount and immediately pay off the card after your purchase, right there at the register. My policy is to NEVER leave the store with a balance on your card. If you can’t afford to buy it out of your checking account, walk away.
Do you have extra tips for maximizing your shopping experience at Banana Republic? Did I miss anything? Let everyone know by leaving a comment below!
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