Best Stores for Retail Arbitrage: The Ultimate Guide to Sourcing for Amazon FBA

By Christopher Grant

April 22, 2024

Finding the best stores for retail arbitrage can mean the difference between a side hustle and a thriving Amazon FBA business.

In this guide it is my aim to help you identify the stores you can use in your retail arbitrage business, from widely known retailers to hidden local gems.

We'll offer advice on store choices, tips for high-margin buys, and methods to scale your profits, without overwhelming you with any unnecessary fluff.

The Best Stores for Retail Arbitrage Success

When it comes to retail arbitrage, not every store offers the same opportunities.

Retail arbitrage opportunities are everywhere. From big box retailers, specialty stores, and even your local Dollar Store. There are discounted products perfect for resale on Amazon just about anywhere you shop.

Some stores offer a plethora of products at discounted prices, making them a treasure trove for arbitrage sellers.

Here, we'll dive into three types of stores that offer the best opportunities for retail arbitrage - big box retailers, specialty stores, discount stores, and Dollar stores.

Big Box Retailers

Walmart for Retail Arbitrage Sourcing

Walmart is one of the more well-known big box retailers - source

Big box retailers dominate the retail industry, making them gold mines for retail arbitrage sourcing. They offer a ton of great stuff at prices lower than other stores, and offer a wide range of product options from sporting equipment to gardening tools. With their frequent clearance sales and discounted items, they’re perfect for Amazon marketplace resellers.

Here are some of the best big box retailers for arbitrage sourcing:

  • Walmart - Offers an extensive and diverse inventory of items with frequent clearance sales. Competitive pricing and discounts make it one of the best options for retail arbitrage.
  • Best Buy - Specializes in electronics and appliances which can be highly profitable when bought on sale. Also offers open-box and clearance items for larger profit margins, but does require some knowledge of tech trends.
  • Target - Wide range of merchandise with occasional collaborations and seasonal clearances. Lots of opportunities for retail arbitrage across different product categories.
  • Marshalls - From discount fashion to clearance home goods, Marshalls offers a great range of products with constant discounts. Their inventory changes a lot so there are always products to consider.
  • TJ Maxx - Another discount retailer that offers a range of clothing and home goods. Under the same TJX brand as Marshalls, so you’ll see similar seasonal discounts.
  • Ross Dress for Less - Popular discount department store that specializes in clothing. Lots of sales and a wide range of products that are great for retail arbitrage.
  • Costco - Membership-only big box warehouses offer bulk items at discount prices, making it fantastic for retail arbitrage.
  • Sam’s Club - Similar to Costco. Plenty of bulk items for low prices make for great retail arbitrage opportunities.
  • Big Lots - Specializes in overstocked goods, making it a great spot for finding discounted goods in many different categories.

Successful retail arbitrage from big box retailers usually involves identifying trends and taking advantage of seasonal items. This could mean stocking up on discounted winter clothes to prepare for the holidays, or capitalizing on the latest trends in electronics and technology.

With so many different possibilities and opportunities across different categories of products, it pays to do a little research to maximize your profits.

Now let's move onto some common specialty stores that can be treasure chests for retail arbitrage sellers. From the Disney Store to Mattel and Lego, these retail stores offer unique, hard-to-find items that can command higher prices on online marketplaces like Amazon. While big box retailers offer volume, specialty stores offer value and niche finds for higher margins.

Toy Stores

Sourcing toys to sell on Amazon

Selling toys on Amazon can be extremely lucrative if sourced well - source

Toy stores are fantastic for retail arbitrage because they frequently have sales and discount periods on a large range of items. It’s worth keeping up with the latest pop culture trends so you know what’s going to sell quickly and what has great profit margins.

  • Disney Store - Disney products sell really well thanks to their high demand and a broad fanbase. With a range of collaboration products, limited editions, and store-exclusive items, there are plenty of products that are suitable for retail arbitrage.
  • Hasbro Toys - From My Little Pony to Star Wars, Hasbro offers a wide range of items across many popular franchises. There are usually special edition and collaboration items worth picking up for retail arbitrage, and they can appeal to both young and older audiences.
  • Lego - Lego’s massive catalog of exclusive sets and limited editions makes it fantastic for retail arbitrage. It’s in high demand among both children and adults, and the unique collaboration or themed sets can go for really high prices.
  • Mattel - While not as popular as other toy brands, Mattel still has its loyal fan base thanks to brands like Barbie and Hot Wheels. Lots of retail arbitrage opportunities thanks to the diverse audience and loyal fanbase.
  • Steiff - Steiff is well-known for making high-quality collectible toys. They appeal to a loyal and dedicated fanbase, so the items can sell for significantly more than their original price–especially if you pick up limited or rare items.
  • Build-A-Bear - Build-A-Bear’s customizable products typically aren’t a great choice for retail arbitrage. However, they frequently have collaborations with well-known brands such as Pokémon and Marvel. If you can find these products on sale, they can be excellent retail arbitrage opportunities.

Hardware Stores

Hardware stores offer great profit margins, especially when it comes to appliances and tools. Doesn’t require too much research or knowledge of tools, but it does help if you check for items that are highly rated on Amazon before you purchase items. These stores offer high margins, but the initial cost of the items can be quite high even if they’re discounted.

  • Home Depot - Great choice for those focusing on home improvement and gardening tools. Requires a bit of knowledge of the niche, but plenty of arbitrage opportunities.
  • Lowe’s - Similar to Home Depot, offering great discounts and clearance deals on home improvement products and appliances. Keep an eye out for seasonal clearance sales.


Pharmacies can be a great choice for retail arbitrage, but it requires some knowledge of health and wellness products. These stores occasionally offer clearance sales for their products, and some carry items like toys and beauty products that can offer good margins. However, you’ll notice a lower volume than other retail arbitrage opportunities since it’s considered a niche.

  • Walgreens - Pharmacies like Walgreens can be profitable when there are large discounts or popular seasonal items.
  • CVS - Similar to Walgreens. Occasional discounts and clearance sales for a variety of health products, but low volume compared to other options.

Video Game and Pop Culture Stores

Gamestop for Retail Arbitrage sourcing

Gamestop can be a valuable resource for retail arbitrage sellers - source

Pop culture, entertainment, and video game stores can offer excellent retail arbitrage options if you’ve got experience with those niches. It can be very profitable to find and resell underpriced pop culture items and games.

  • GameStop - Great for pop culture merchandise and video games. Clearance sales offer arbitrage opportunities, but may require a bit of knowledge on gaming trends to maximize potential profits.
  • Hot Topic - Specializes in pop culture merchandise, covering a wide range of product categories such as fashion, accessories, toys, and merchandise. Great retail arbitrage option for anyone who’s in-tune with the latest pop culture trends.
  • Barnes & Noble - While known as a bookstore, Barnes & Noble also has a section dedicated to collectibles, board games, trading cards, and pop culture items too. They often stock items that are hard to find elsewhere due to demand, and may also have discounts and clearances too.

The key is to find items that people really want and are willing to pay a premium for. The more knowledge you have of a particular niche, the easier this will be!

Dollar Stores and Thrift Shops

The magic of retail arbitrage often unfolds in dollar stores and thrift shops. These stores are a paradise of low-cost products that can be resold at a higher price on online marketplaces. From popular home and kitchen products to beauty and personal care items, the possibilities are endless.

Dollar stores are great options for people new to retail arbitrage because their items are priced low and can offer good returns if you can identify undervalued products. The key is to look for branded products that are usually sold for much more than generic brands.

  • Dollar Tree - Dollar Tree often has unique finds that can be resold for a profit, especially if you buy them in bulk. Dollar Tree tends to stick with prices that are at or below a dollar, making it a great place to start for people new to retail arbitrage.
  • Dollar General - Much like Dollar Tree, there’s a huge selection of affordable products on offer which make it great for bulk buying and selling. However, not everything is sold for a dollar, so be careful when looking at prices and discounts.
  • Family Dollar - Plenty of opportunities at various price points around a dollar. Includes lots of household and clothing items. Take advantage of sales and discounts for good retail arbitrage opportunities.
  • Five Below - While they target a slightly higher price range, Five Below frequently offers trendy items in categories like toys and electronics, and they’re usually branded which can boost their popularity.

Thrift stores can be excellent sources for retail arbitrage, but they can be a bit hit or miss depending on their location and how busy they are. You’ll find some amazing details in some thrift stores, but others may have a lack of arbitrage opportunities due to a lower volume of products.

  • Goodwill - One of the largest thrift store chains in the country. Goodwill offers a huge selection of products from books and video games to home appliances and electronics. Their inventory changes all the time, so it’s a good place to check on a regular place for undervalued items that you can resell on Amazon.
  • Savers/Value Village - Savers (or Value Village in some areas) usually has a huge range of accessories, clothing items, and household goods that are well-organized and make for great arbitrage opportunities.
  • Salvation Army - Another great option that you can find across the country. Be sure to check for discounts and keep an eye out for undervalued items that offer easy resale opportunities.
  • St. Vincent de Paul - Although they don’t operate in every state, St. Vincent de Paul usually carries a mix of different clothing, furniture, and household products that can be great for reselling thanks to their low prices.
  • Local Thrift Stores - If you don’t have a large thrift store chain near you, then it’s worth checking local thrift stores for undervalued goods. You can often pick up some fantastic deals in these smaller stores.

The trick is to visit these stores regularly, build relationships with the employees, and keep an eye out for those hidden gems. If you're heavily into selling used items, you may also want to compare Amazon vs eBay when it comes to selling online.

Suggested Reading

A complete guide to Amazon FBA retail arbitrage

Tips for Selecting Profitable Products

Half the battle in the retail arbitrage model lies in retail arbitrage product selection. Whether you’re eyeing seasonal trends, everyday essentials, or high-value items, knowing what to sell and when to sell it is crucial in turning a profit.

Seasonal Trends: Back to School and Holiday Rush

Buying behavior can be significantly swayed by seasonal trends. Back-to-school and holiday seasons are prime times for retail arbitrage.

During these periods, products such as the following are hot commodities:

  • clothes
  • ornaments
  • toys
  • backpacks
  • pens
  • lunch boxes

To make the most of these seasonal spikes, it’s crucial to plan your sourcing well in advance and ensure your inventory is ready for the rush.

Everyday Essentials

You can rely on everyday essentials, ranging from toiletries to kitchen utensils, for steady profits. These products are always in demand, providing a constant stream of potential buyers and ensuring constant market demand.

The key to cashing in on everyday essentials lies in sourcing high-quality goods at a low cost and setting competitive prices.

High-Value Opportunities

The chance to maximize profits per sale comes from high-value, profitable items. Products from categories like Home & Kitchen, Beauty & Personal Care, and Clothing can command higher prices, offering retail arbitrage sellers a chance to enjoy greater profit margins.

It’s all about spotting these big-ticket items and leveraging their high-demand, high-profit potential.

Sourcing Techniques for Retail Arbitrage

Mastering the art of retail arbitrage sourcing can set you apart in the competitive field of retail arbitrage. From leveraging clearance racks to using scanner apps and exploring multi-store sourcing, let's discuss some of the techniques that can help you source like a pro.

The Clearance Rack Strategy

Bargains can typically be found on clearance racks. They’re the perfect place to find products with a low range price tag, providing ample room for profit. But scoring on the clearance racks is not just about finding discounted items - it’s about finding the RIGHT discounted items.

Look for products that are popular or always selling, and make sure they are in good condition to start selling.

Scanner Apps and Tools

Selleramp Scanner App

SellerAmp is one of the best Amazon seller scanner apps for retail arbitrage sellers

With the advent of technology, retail arbitrage sellers are increasingly relying on scanner apps. These apps allow you to scan a product’s barcode in-store and instantly provide crucial information such as pricing, sales rank, and estimated profits on Amazon.

Some of the seller scanner apps you can try include:

Multi-Store Sourcing

A single store may not cover all your needs. That’s why multi-store sourcing is a smart strategy for diversifying your inventory and increasing your chances of finding profitable products. It’s about exploring different stores, comparing prices, and identifying the best deals.

If you are comparing stores, I would recommend that you also consider online arbitrage. This method allows you to source products from the comfort of your own home, rather than having to visit multiple physical store locations.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the best stores for retail arbitrage?

Consider checking out thrift stores, dollar stores, liquidation stores, clearance aisles at Walmart, Target, Home Depot, and specialty stores like CVS and Walgreens for retail arbitrage finds. Happy hunting!

Is Amazon OK with retail arbitrage?

Yes, Amazon allows retail arbitrage as long as the products are sold in an unchanged, new condition. So, if you buy and sell it as new, it's acceptable to resell the product on Amazon.

Can you actually make money with retail arbitrage?

Yes, you can make money with retail arbitrage, but it may take time to turn a profit and the profit margins can vary greatly. Take a look at the case study in my retail arbitrage review - $13million+ with retail arbitrage 😳.

What is retail arbitrage?

Retail arbitrage is the practice of taking advantage of a price difference between two or more markets, essentially reselling products. An example would be purchasing a product at a lower price from one store and then selling it at a higher price elsewhere.

How can I identify profitable products for retail arbitrage?

To identify profitable products for retail arbitrage, track seasonal trends, focus on everyday essentials with constant demand, and spot high-value opportunities. Good luck!


In the world of retail arbitrage, strategic sourcing, smart product selection, and efficient logistics can pave the way to success.

Above all though, your product sourcing is going to be where the money is made. If you find products that people want, you have a ready-made market on Amazon.

They key to arbitrage success is finding the right products at the right price, so you can make a profit when you flip them.

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