Archived Softlines Closing Zone

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Jul 10, 2012
So I was wondering how other stores goes about zoning softlines at night. I'm feeling very overwhelmed as our store has suddenly wanting the zone to be very detailed. We're pretty short handed (or they just don't give us enough payroll) at closing time. We usually only have two team members in softlines during closing, someone for phones and another who mostly responds to backup when needed. We're expected to size all racks, clearance, tables and now push go backs. Does anyone have any tricks or techniques that work well at your store? Thanks! :)
Jun 8, 2011
Here ya'll go:

I'm afraid I don't work mornings much, so I can't write a guide for that portion of the softlines work. I do know about closing in softlines though. :)

There are two main ways of zoning - which you do depends on how many softliners are closing.

On busy days when there are four or more team members in softlines, everyone will have their own areas. Typically, it's dividied up into: men's and baby basics, toddler racks and boys, girls and shoes, and ready-to-wear. On top of that, accessories, intimidates, and the pulls are given to the team members that arrive earlier than the others. (the team member who arrives at 4 pm might have intimidates and the pulls on top of their two other areas, for example.) Sometimes there is also a team member who's sole job is to do foreign when there are five or more team members on duty. Everyone's duties, at least at my store, are written down at the fitting room.

On slower days with only three team members working, typically one person will start in men's, the next in baby basics, and the last in toddler racks. When the zone in their areas are done, they go to the next area on the circuit that hasn't already someone zoning it. The circuit is, men's, baby basics, toddler racks, boy's, girl's, accessories, intimidates, shoes, then ready-to-wear. Ready-to-wear is typically zoned from Merona to Xhileration, as Merona gets less traffic - that means your zone lasts longer.

Men's, toddler racks, boy's, girl's, sleepwear, and ready-to-wear:
- Help guests find what they want.
- Collect any foreign that doesn't belong in your areas.
- Refold any unfolded shirts on the tables and make them look neat. There's a pull out folding tray on some of the tables that you can use, if you'd like.
- Make sure all the clothing is hanging correctly. The hanger should be turned so that when the clothing is facing you, the top of the hanger makes a backwards C.
- All jackets should be buttoned up or zipped up so that they look nice and won't fall off the hanger.
- Clothes should be in size order. XS, S, M, L, XL, XXL, XXL for men's, girl's, boy's, and ready-to-wear. For toddler racks, it's NB, 3M, 6M, 9M, 12M, 18M, 24M, 2T, 3T, 4T, 5T. For pants, the numbers should go from small to large. Also, 6X goes behind 6. (6X is a size typically seen in girl's pants)
- Make sure the racks are aligned properly; they should be in a neat grid pattern.
- Move any abandoned carts out onto the race track so they can be pushed back to the front of the store.
- Finger space all the hanging clothes. Don't bother finger spacing the clearance racks on the first zone - wait to do that until touch ups, because the spacing will be destroyed quickly after the first zone if you do it.
- Get the foreign for your area from the fitting room and put it all back where it goes. If you are unsure where something goes, ask another team member. If the item is the last one of it's kind (you can use the PDA to check), hang it with similar items.
- Have a pen on you to write on any tags of stolen product you find. Include the time you found it, the date, where you found it, and your initials. The tags all go to the fitting room for the operator to handle.

Baby basics:
- Pull all the produce forward so that it covers the holes on the shelf.
- Make sure hanging product is hanging with similar products on the right peg.
- Diapers should be not be stacked on top of each other on the top shelf, stacked two high on the middle shelves, and stacked three (or as many as will fit neatly) on the bottom shelf.
- The food aisle should have all the food pulled forward, facing forward, and looking neat. The glass cans of food should be stacked two high; it makes it easier in the long run if you try and keep the cans deep zoned (pulling all the product forward, not just the first two or three) but you might not have time for that. Be careful handling the glass cans - they like to fall. If one does fall, follow typical target spill procedures to clean it up.
- If someone wishes to purchase a crib, check on the PDA to make sure the crib the guest wants is in stock, then have it pulled. If you don't know how to pull something yourself, call backroom and have them pull it for you (have the DCPI of the crib ready for them if you do this.)
- Stack the Similac baby formula two high; on some of our product, we turn the second formula on it's front and balance it on top of the bottom Similac.

- Pull the bras forward so that they're not all pushed to the back of the rack.
- Make sure all the bras are on the hanger correctly. There shouldn't be more than an inch between the hanger and where the triangular part of the bra starts. (no bra should be dangling at the end of it's straps.)
- Bras should be hanging with similar bras, unless they are on a clearance rack.
- We don't put our bras in size order, but this may be different at other stores.
- Panties should be in bins with similar panties. When putting back foreign, it helps to take note of whether they are Gilligan or Xhileration, as the two brands have their own separate bin areas.
- Panties should be pulled forward in the bins, so that the guests can see them easily.
- Xhileration socks, the folded ones in the bins, should be laying neatly on top of each other, sorted together with similar socks.

- Purses, hats, scarfs, belts, and gloves should be on the correct peg with similar product together. People like to move stuff around, so you need to look for anything that obviously is out of place. (red gloves hanging on a rack with a bunch of blue purses, for example.)
- Purses should be zipped and buttoned up if possible.
- Double check any hats on shelves and make sure the stacks of hats haven't been moved to over the wrong price.
- The wallet/clutch display tends to be irrevocably mixed up at our store, but do your best to move all the product forward and stuff with similar stuff.
- Look through the jewelry wall and jewelry turn tables for any out of place jewelry or any empty packages.
- Make sure all the jewelry in the $4.99 is actually the $4.99 jewelry and isn't out of place jewelry.

- Pull all the boxes forward and make sure they're neatly stacked on top of each other.
- Make sure the display shoes pairs are pushed together and facing forward. Boots should be standing up right, if at all possible.
- If you find an empty box, try and find the pair of shoes that go in them. Keep in mind the size - don't put a size five shoe in a box labeled as size 11. If you can't find the shoes for the box, put the box in your cart.
- At the end of the day, take your empty shoe boxes to the baler. Make sure nothing but friendly baler material goes into the baler!
- Keep an eye out for shoes that Target doesn't actually sell. Some people leave their old shoes when they steal our's.
- The slippers on the back wall should be on the correct size peg. The slippers in the bins should be neatly ordered and the cartoon kid slippers should be all facing forward.

... I think that's all. It's all I can think of right now, at least. :)

Deli Ninja

Formerly Softlines Ninja (Now in Deli Flavor)!
Oct 2, 2012
As far as being understaffed goes, make sure you are communicating to your TLs and ETL... A mid-day zone can set the closing team up for success. This would be a good thing to ask about, if you're not sure a mid-day zone is being done. Also, make sure to ask for help as you need it!


"Can you go to 3, please?" *Turns off walkie*
Nov 19, 2012
As far as being understaffed goes, make sure you are communicating to your TLs and ETL... A mid-day zone can set the closing team up for success. This would be a good thing to ask about, if you're not sure a mid-day zone is being done. Also, make sure to ask for help as you need it!

Mid-day zone? What's that?

At my store we usually only have 1 TM + Fitting Room/Operator between 2-6 and closers come in at 7:30. When there are extra hours we have someone come in early, but they usually start zoning RTW or Boys/Girls. I always inform my TL and ETL that I do have mostly open availability and would be able to help with a mid-day zone, but my ETL is new and hasn't figured everything out yet.
Jul 10, 2012
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #5
Yeah, there's definitely no midday zone. They only have 1 operator during the day to my knowledge. I'm hoping when summer comes they put another sales floor person to help push go backs and do a midday zone. I think we had more sales floor working when I first started?


2 Many Hats...
Mar 5, 2013
Also... when short staffed we tend to zone from the outside in... making sure all objects are off the floor, tables are folded, and all merchandise that does not belong in the department is removed. For the most part when they walk SL (at least in our store) they do so from the racetrack. Rarely do they step onto the carpet and actually check individual racks. They seem to want first impression to be clean and tidy and don't really go into details. I was actually told by an ETL to zone that way (from the outside in) in case I ran out of time. If they're asking you to do a perfect zone, I'd ask them what they're priorities are. Let them know that a perfect zone will most likely mean that not all departments will get touched. I did have my SL-ETL tell me once that he'd prefer I chose an area to pay "special attention" to each shift and make sure that it's not the same area from shift to shift. In other words, rotate which departments get sized and racks get finger spaced all the way through so that every fixture is touched.


Whoever's working (not closing) at night usually tries to at least fold tables in their area before they leave so it's not too much work to do. On some nights, though, we only have 4 softlines people for the entire day. On those days, we just don't do a full zone. When I close by myself, I fold the tables, pick things up off the floor, zone the racks on the edges (close to main aisles), and I just kinda straighten everything in the infant gondola. I hang all the shoes in the right place, I make the ones on the shelves look neat, and try to have them somewhat in the right place. Sometimes if a table is really bad, I fold everything and don't put it in order. It all looks good... until you walk up to it and realize some things are out of place or not in order.

When they walk around inspecting and such, they don't go through it with a fine tooth comb. If they wanted it to be perfect, they'd spend the money to get more people working on it.
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