Top 101 Stores For Retail Arbitrage Sourcing

March 25, 2023

The top stores for retail arbitrage sourcing are thrift stores, dollar stores, and liquidation stores. You can also find bargains from clearance aisles of discount retailers like Walmart, Target, and Home Depot. Specialty stores like CVS and Walgreens are also wonderful sources of items to resell.

In my 3 years running an Amazon FBA business, knowing where to buy is one of the most important factors to succeed in e-commerce. Retail arbitrage sourcing is your system for finding and buying profitable products to resell.

You need to develop your system to source products to resell efficiently. Without this knowledge, you will end up wasting your time and gas driving around and scanning items in the wrong retail store. If you can't find new fast-selling products to replenish your inventory, your business will slowly bleed from monthly overhead costs like storage fees, software subscriptions, and VA salaries. 

As you run your online business, diversifying business models is one of the actions I would highly recommend. Personally, I enjoy running a local lead generation business alongside my Amazon store because it has a great business model and it's a way to manage the risks of running online businesses.

Top Stores for Retail Arbitrage Sourcing - Thrift Shops

One of the best stores for retail arbitrage sourcing is the Salvation Army. Being a non-profit, the Salvation Army sets low prices, so there’s a significant chance you can find great deals there. Other non-profit thrift stores like Goodwill, Stuff, ReSource, and Value Village can also have great bargains. Mom-and-pop thrift stores are also excellent sources because they are less popular and fewer resellers raid these stores.

Remember to negotiate when you are buying in bulk. And try to befriend the manager and staff or get their numbers so you can call if they have new stock.

The downside of buying from thrift stores is there’s a lot of junk. So you need to develop an eye for your profitable product category. Make sure what you buy is in good condition and still has good packaging.

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    Salvation Army
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    Value Village
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    St. Vincent De Paul
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    Mom-and-Pop Thrift Stores

Top Stores for Retail Arbitrage Sourcing - Dollar Stores

Dollar Tree, Dollar General, Family Dollar, and Five Below are the best dollar stores for retail arbitrage. Be careful though that you avoid gated items. Make sure you know your categories and work to get ungated in others so you can expand your business. It can be tempting to buy those cheap Lego sets, but you are definitely gated in that retail arbitrage product category if you are just starting out.

Different stores have different specialties, so make sure that you take note of where you get your best items so you can visit the same stores again.

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    99 Cents Only Stores
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    Dollar General
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    Dollar Tree
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    Family Dollar
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    Five Below

Top Stores for Retail Arbitrage Sourcing - Liquidation Stores

Liquidation stores are an excellent source of discounted products for retail arbitrage. In some stores, you might buy entire pallets. Some stores do auctions while others don’t. Don’t be afraid to bargain when buying in bulk.

Be wary of Amazon liquidation pallets though. These are items that didn’t sell on Amazon, so make sure you know your category. However, they might be good at selling on eBay.

Here are 13 liquidation stores that you can check out.

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    Mid Tenn Wholesale
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    Merchandize Liquidators
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    Genco Marketplace
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    Direct Liquidation
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    Continental Wholesale
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    BlueLots Liquidation

Top Stores for Retail Arbitrage Sourcing - Discount Retailers

The most popular stores for retail arbitrage sourcing are discount retailers. Their clearance aisles are a favorite among Amazon resellers because of the sheer number of items that are available. This allows you to save time because you can cover a lot of categories with just a few visits.

Here are 29 discount retailers you can check out.

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    Bargain Hunt
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    Big Lots
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    BJ's Wholesale Club
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    BrandsMart U.S.A
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    Cost Plus World Market
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    Dillard’s Clearance Center
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    DD’s Discounts
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    Macy’s Backstage
  11. 37
    Continental Wholesale
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    National Wholesale Liquidators
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    Nordstrom Rack
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    Ocean State Job Lot
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    Office Depot
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    Ollie's Bargain Outlet
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    Roses Discount Stores
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    Ross Stores
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    Saks Off 5th
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    Sam's Club
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    Shoppers World
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    TJ Maxx
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    Tuesday Morning
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    United Apparel Liquidators
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Top Stores for Retail Arbitrage Sourcing - Malls & Specialty Stores

Malls are not your usual stops for retail arbitrage sourcing, but the good thing with malls and outlet malls is you can find different specialty stores that you normally wouldn't see driving around. A mall would also have multiple stores that you can check out on one trip.

Specialty stores are great, especially when you already know your category. You just need to go straight to the stores in your category and they have a much bigger collection for your category compared to the general retailers.

Here’s a list of stores and categories that you may want to check out. Remember to avoid the stores where you are gated. Get ungated first.

Health & Beauty

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    Bath and Body Works
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    Rite Aid
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    Sally Beauty Supply
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    Vita Cost
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    The Vitamin Shoppe
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    Vitamin World
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    Ace Hardware
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    Bealls Outlet
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    Best Buy
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    Bed Bath & Beyond
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    Christmas Tree Shops
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    Hobby Lobby
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    Home Depot
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    True Value

Shoes & Clothing

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    Finish Line
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    JC Penney
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    Old Navy
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Sporting Goods

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    Academy Sports + Outdoors
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    Bass Pro Shop
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    Dick's Sporting Goods
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    Sierra Trading Post


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    Disney Store
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    Hasbro Toys
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    TV’s Toy Box
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    Vermont Teddy Bear

The Best Retail Arbitrage Items To Buy

The best retail arbitrage items to buy in stores will vary per store, but these are some of the best categories you can expect to find good deals. The marketplace is always changing, so the things you can buy cheaply and sell for a higher price also change.

The products you sell are dictated by what you can buy at a low enough price and the category where you are ungated if you are an Amazon retail arbitrage seller. To get the most out of your products, you need to follow my top retail arbitrage sourcing tips.

Here are some of the best categories that you’d want to look at:

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    Arts & Crafts
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    Cell Phones & Accessories
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    Home & Garden
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    Office Supplies
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    Party Supplies
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    Pet supplies
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    Tools & Home Improvement
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    Video Games
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    VHS Tapes

If you are an Amazon retail arbitrage beginner, there are more opportunities in gated categories because you have slightly less competition, so it's important to get ungated as soon as possible.

Regardless of the category, you always want to look at clearance racks. You should be able to find a heavily discounted product or two in clearance aisles.

Just as important in knowing what to buy is knowing the products to avoid as a new Amazon seller. Products in gated categories, glass or fragile items, and products in over-saturated markets are just some products to avoid.


With a huge list of stores, you now have a lot of options for sourcing items for Amazon arbitrage or eBay retail arbitrage. You need to look at a lot of stores because with retail arbitrage you don't know where your inventory will come from.

And that's the biggest challenge with the retail arbitrage business. It's unpredictable and hard to scale. You depend a lot on luck, which is not a great way to do business.

While I do have an Amazon business, my preferred online business is local lead generation because it doesn't eat a lot of time. It's passive, predictable, and scalable. Check out this business when you get tired from too many sourcing trips.

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Ippei Kanehara

$52K per month providing lead generation services to small businesses is for digital hustlers, industry leaders and online business owners.

His #1 online business recommendation in 2023, is to build your own lead generation business.

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