My wife gets those Bloomingdales/Macy's sale announcements at a rate of two to three per week, and if you read the small print, it usually lists all the brands NOT included in the sale. I guess it's a common practice. As a rule of thumb, assume everything that might be of interest to you will NOT be included :-)
Typically Bloomingdale's allows discounts on better brand & some designer items. Macy*s is extremely restrictive on using coupons and usually excludes all designer/better brands. Normally, these coupons are valid only on items that are already reduced at both stores. At Macys*s better brands would include, but are not limited to: DKNY, Kenneth Cole, Hugo Boss, FCUK, Diesel, Polo, Tommy, etc. They do not allow you to use the coupons on these brands. At Bloomingdale's they allow you to use the discount on all the above brands and Bloomies tends to carry more upscale better brands such as Theory, Paul Lafontaine, Hugo Boss, etc. Here at the Bloomies NY store they carry designer brands such as John Varvatos, Michael Kors, Comme des Garcons, Armani Collezioni, Helmut Lang, Marc Jacobs, etc. Bloomies will allow you to use the discount (usually 15% or 20% off) on most of these brands as well. As for the markdown schedule typically there is a set schedule and if you come back once every couple of weeks you begin to learn that schedule. Also, at a store like Bloomingdale's get in the know with a nice SA, (they call them brand specialists) who can call you when things get marked down and put them aside for you (like they can do at Saks). You can really do well with sales at Bloomingdale's.