Shoppers looking online for deals at TJ Maxx and Marshalls have likely noticed something on those websites: not all items have their designer listed.
For certain items, a box prompts shoppers to click to reveal what brand it is from.
Kimberly Greenberger, managing director at Morgan Stanley, told Business Insider's Mary Hanbury in 2018 there's a simple reason for this. Some brands don't want it to be known that they're selling their products at a discount.
"If any of the discounted stuff gets picked up in a search engine then it compromises that brand's ability to sell at full price everywhere," Greenberger said.
The off-price channel is helpful for brands that need to offload inventory. In stores, shoppers encounter a "treasure hunt" kind of experience that has them finding designer deals hidden among the racks.But that equation becomes tricky online, where brand names and prices are searchable.
"The brands don't want it online," Greenberger said.
In part because of this dynamic, off-price retail has not traditionally been a strong online business. When TJ Maxx and Marshalls parent TJX Companies shut all of its stores in response to the coronavirus pandemic, it shut down its e-commerce operations, too.