Next, River Island and Dorothy Perkins price tags reveal which items going in the sale – and how much the discount will be

If a price tag has a scribble of numbers and letters on it, you might not want to buy the item just yet as it can mean that the product is about to be reduced.

Money-saving blogger Charlie Stopford Sackville, the founder of price tracker tool The Price Drop Alert Tool, said many shops write a secret code on an item's label before they lower prices.

He said the high street shops that use this trick the most include Next, River Island, and Dorthy Perkins.

The Sun put the tip to the test by mystery shopping at five branches of these high street brands in central London.

We found several examples of the label trick in a branch of Dorothy Perkins in Oxford Street, but none in Next or River Island, so it will depend on the shop you visit.

Charlie said it's not just enough to notice the scribble on the label.

You also need to pay close attention to see if the note includes any numbers.

The money-saving pro said the code is usually a letter and a number on a price tag, such as A10.

The letter isn't important as it's a note to staff to tell them where an item will be moved to in the shop.

But the number can tell you how much an item will be reduced to.

How to find the cheapest deals

  • Find the cheapest online prices: Google Shopping is a good tool for finding the cheapest price – it searches a wide range of retailers of various sizes
  • Abandon online shopping baskets: Don't go straight to check-out after putting the items in your basket – it may tease retailers into giving you discount codes
  • Ask a site to negotiate a fee for you: If you're struggling to find a deal, Flubit is a free site that aims to negotiate discounts for you
  • Sign up to retailers' newsletters for big discounts: It sometimes means a percentage discount code, or a straight discount off your first shop
  • Check when stores discount groceries: Check with your local store when they discount food items that are about to expire – this is the perfect time to nab bargains

For example, if there's a £20 top which has a scribble on the price tag that says B18, there's a good chance the top will be reduced to £18 in a sale very soon.

When The Sun investigated, we found that the number on the scribble didn't match up to the reduced price on every item.

But it was often close to the sale price, so the label code can be a good indicator of roughly how much the discount will be.

Charlie told The Sun: "Codes like these are used pre-sale, so as you begin to shop for some summer looks, there’s a high chance winter clothes tags have codes on them.

"Unfortunately, it’s near on impossible to figure out when exactly the sale is going to start, but you can be assured it’ll be soon if you see these markings."

So if you see a scribble, stop yourself from buying it until the sale starts so you can save some money.

If you see an item already in the sale with a scribble on it, it's unlikely the price will be reduced further.

It's just that the label will still be on the item from before it was moved to the reduced section.

And of course, this savvy trick only works in stores, not online.

Last week, we revealed how Home Bargains labels can indicate how long an item will be in stores for.

And at TK Maxx, you can tell if an item has been reduced twice or more just by looking at the label.

We've revealed all the secrets and best tricks to shopping at TK Maxx in a guide.

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