Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Retail arbitrage - Kmart style

Most days during my lunch hour, I find myself roaming the aisles of the local Kmart, getting a little exercise, and, of course, looking for bargains on their clearance racks.  Last year, I found a mother lode of marked-down toys ($.99 and $4.99 each); earlier this year, it was thermal underwear ($.99 each) and insulated character lunch bags ($.99 each). 

Today, it was men’s Wrangler shorts.

Lately, the store has been putting racks of clearance spring and summer clothing outside the front doors, but it has been mostly Kmart brand women’s clothes at a 50 percent discount.  Yesterday, I noticed that the clothes had dropped to $.99 each, but it was still all women’s styles.  As I walked past the racks today, the name “Wrangler” jumped out at me, and upon closer examination, I noticed that they were men’s shorts, so I grabbed a couple of pairs to price inside to make sure they were actually $.99 as advertised on the sign.

I walked inside the store, set off the shoplifting alarm, and headed to the nearest price scanner.  Both pairs scanned at $.99, and after a quick, but really unnecessary check of Ebay completed listings, I grabbed a buggy (or a shopping cart for all my non-Southern readers) and headed back outside.

I "wrangled" some shorts today
Having learned my lesson about buying everything once you find a bargain, I loaded the buggy with all the shorts, losing count along the way.  I wheeled the buggy back inside, again setting off and ignoring the shoplifting alarm, and headed toward the nearest check-out line, ignoring the bemused glances from other shoppers.  The sales associate was very nice, albeit a bit chit chatty, while checking me out, but I did learn that more items were scheduled to be marked down.   I guess I’ll be spending my lunch hour at Kmart again tomorrow.

All told, I purchased 42 pairs of shorts, and spent a whopping $44.99.  According to the receipt, I saved $652.70, which I hope will be my actual profit from this spur of the moment shopping trip.
Of course, now I have to make time to list all the shorts, and find room to store them.  I keep harping on finding time to list stuff, and while it actually does stress me out to have so much inventory just sitting around, it beats the alternative of having nothing.


  1. Man you are about to make some money! I work near a K-mart so I might be heading there after work. Do you think holding off until the spring the price would go up on eBay?

    1. If you check the completed Ebay listings, you'll see that Wrangler shorts currently are selling close to new prices. Of course, once cold weather really sets in, sales probably would taper off until spring.

    2. Good point. I hope you make some quick sales! Great read

  2. What a great deal! I never think about looking for clearance items to resell. I'm not a big retail shopper but I might have to start checking out the stores for good deals! Thanks for the info! ~~Pam