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How to Source Clearance Items to Resell on Amazon

Dave Consolazio
February 6, 2024
May 7, 2024
Red balloons with SALE and percent signs on them

Clearance sales give resellers on Amazon and other platforms a golden opportunity to source brand-new products at extremely low prices. Buying items on clearance at 50–90% off their standard retail price and then later reselling them at or above that retail price is a great way to generate consistent profits on an annual basis.

Where and when can you find products on clearance to resell on Amazon? And what should you be looking for? Clearance items made up a substantial part of my Amazon business when I was a full-time reseller from 2015–2019, and in this guide I’ll share with you all of my tips on sourcing clearance sales.

Search for Clearance Items to Sell Year-Round

Sales signs in a store window

Later on in this article, I’ll go over some specific seasonal clearance sales to keep an eye out for. But regardless of what time of year it is, clearance items should always be a major aspect of your retail arbitrage strategy. I was always checking the clearance sections of the stores on my sourcing routes and using a scanner app to see how profitable items would be to resell.

The ScoutIQ product scanner is an excellent option for resellers looking to source clearance items. By simply scanning the UPC of a product in the clearance section, you can have important data on what that product is selling for on Amazon and how often it sells delivered to your phone in seconds. This valuable tool allows you to quickly analyze dozens of items in just a few minutes.

Bonus Tip: If your retail arbitrage business has scaled up to the point that you want to expand into other markets besides Amazon, you may want to give DataSpark a try. DataSpark is a Walmart Marketplace solution provider that has a barcode scanner similar to ScoutIQ’s, giving you key information on Walmart reselling opportunities instead of Amazon.

Walmart Clearance Items

Walmart parking lot

Speaking of Walmart, let’s start our conversation about spotting clearance deals with the biggest brick-and-mortar retailer in the United States. Just about every Walmart has a dedicated clearance aisle that is marked “Clearance.” This is the most obvious spot to check at all your local Walmarts.

Clearance items can also be scattered throughout the store, however. If you are selling electronics online with retail arbitrage or do well in other popular categories like books or toys, make sure to walk through those sections. Products on clearance are clearly labeled with big yellow tags that also let you know what the original price was.

For more on this strategy, check out Tactical Arbitrage’s excellent article on hidden clearance at Walmart.

Target Clearance Items

Target generally keeps its clearance products on end caps, which are the displays at the end of each aisle. Checking the end caps in every section is a good place to start, but it’s also worth walking through the aisles in your top resale categories as you will sometimes find clearance stickers on items located in their standard locations in the aisle.

Most Target clearance sales follow the same pattern, with products starting at 30% off and then moving to 50% off, 70% off, and in some cases 90% off. Clearance stickers can be found in either red or yellow interchangeably.

If you scan an item that is only slightly profitable at 30% off or 50% off, consider checking back in a week or two. That same item will be reduced further if it hasn’t sold.

ROSS Clearance Items

Most ROSS stores do not have a designated area for clearance items, so you’ll just have to keep your eyes open for clearance tags as you navigate through the store. ROSS uses small stickers with a pink bar at the top and white text that says “REDUCED,” placing these stickers on top of the original price tags. The store also stacks clearance stickers on top of each other, so if you see an item with multiple tags on it, that product is likely at or close to its lowest price.

Marshalls Clearance Items

Lamp with a red SALE tag

Marshalls, TJ Maxx and HomeGoods are all owned by the same company and all follow the same protocol on clearance products. Items being marked down for the first time receive a red sticker over the original price tag, and items on final clearance get a yellow tag over the red one. These stores often have clearance sections in the back corner, but you will also find items with clearance stickers throughout the store.

Take Advantage of Holiday Clearance Sales

All major retailers lean heavily into selling holiday-themed products. And as soon as those holidays pass, stores quickly blow out their excess inventory with holiday clearance sales to make room on the shelves for the next season or holiday.

These sales always create great buying opportunities for resellers that have storage space available to hold on to holiday-related products until that date rolls around again the following year. But when it comes to some of the most popular holidays in the United States, you don’t necessarily have to wait a year to reap the rewards of your clearance purchases.

February: Valentine's Day Clearance Sales

Gift bags with hearts and pink tissue paper

A big cardboard heart that says “Happy Valentine’s Day” on it obviously isn’t going to have much appeal after the holiday has passed. But lots of Valentine’s Day–themed items aren’t labeled specifically for the day and could have year-round appeal.

For example, a cute stuffed bear holding a heart could make for a nice anniversary or birthday gift. Clothes, accessories, blankets, pillows and many more gifts decorated in pink, flowers or hearts could also double as Mother’s Day gifts in May. Be sure to take advantage of this shopping opportunity on a yearly basis.

July: 4th of July Clearance Sales

Hand holding a sparkler and a miniature American flag

The same logic applies to clearance sales after the 4th of July. Holiday-labeled products may have limited appeal after Independence Day has passed, but products and decor displaying the American flag are always in demand, and they can be grabbed at a big discount on clearance.

November: Halloween Clearance Sales

Halloween clearance sale graphics

Believe it or not, when it came to Halloween clearance items, I enjoyed sales all year long regardless of whether the products were labeled specifically for Halloween. Clearance Halloween decorations and inflatables can be used throughout the year for themed rooms or parties. And costumes also have similar applications year-round for children and adults alike.

January: Christmas Clearance Sales

Christmas sale with gift boxes and bags

There is no better time to shop clearance sales at brick-and-mortar stores than in the weeks right after Christmas. Like Halloween, Christmas decor has a surprising amount of staying power throughout the year.

The even bigger clearance opportunity comes from all the non-Christmas items that go on sale. Retail stores load their shelves with popular items, toys and electronics that make great gifts for Christmas for the holiday season. But these products also work as gifts for birthdays and special occasions.

The first couple of weeks of January were always my favorite time to source for items to resell on Amazon. I could load up my Amazon store with things like board games, puzzles, and sports team–themed blankets that I never had any trouble selling for a profit long before Christmas came around again.

Pay Attention for Seasonal Clearance Items

Identifying when certain types of products and categories go on sale at the places you like to source at comes with experience. You can also anticipate some of these clearance sales by thinking about what is in and out of season, and plan to make adjustments to your retail arbitrage strategy accordingly.

Weather-Based Clearance Sales in Spring and Fall

Man wearing a fancy coat found on clearance

As winter comes to a close in February, retail stores begin to prepare for warmer weather. Winter clothes usually wind up on clearance racks in January and February, as do other seasonal products like portable heaters and fireplace accessories.

The opposite occurs once the summer months wrap up. Warm-weather clothes, bathing suits, portable air conditioners, pool toys, and gardening supplies get cleared out as stores gear up for the cold weather and holiday season.

While it’s true that these seasonal items sell best in their most relevant months, there is always a market for many of these products. People in certain parts of the United States get chilly and need jackets or portable heaters in the spring and summer. Here in my hometown of Los Angeles, plenty of pool toys are still being used in the winter. Don’t hesitate to stock up during these clearance events if the prices are right.

Summer Toy Clearance Sales at Walmart and Target

Stuffed animals

January marks an excellent time to stock up on toys thanks to post-Christmas clearance sales. Those may be fairly obvious to most savvy shoppers, but what some may not know is that Target and Walmart also have big toy clearance sales annually during the summer as well.

Both of these popular retail stores start putting many of their toys on clearance in June and get up to 70–75% off by July. This gives Walmart and Target the chance to refresh their inventory ahead of the upcoming holiday months in the second half of the year. And it gives resellers a golden opportunity to stock up for those key months too.

Learn the Seasonal Sales and Clearance Patterns in Your Area

All the tips that I’ve assembled in this guide come from my years of experience shopping for clearance items to resell on Amazon. These should be generally applicable for everyone doing retail arbitrage, whether you are just trying it out as a hobby or doing it as a full-time business.

But the real advantage you will have over your competition is doing your own research in your local area. I’ve covered the major big box stores here. Are there other smaller stores in your area with niches you can target? What are the clearance sales like at those places? The best way to find out is to explore. By constantly keeping your eyes open for sales and scanning all clearance items for profitability with your ScoutIQ scanner, you are bound to find some tremendous opportunities.

Browse through and read our other blog posts that are data-driven insights with our very own proprietary data and learn more on Mother's Day trends and best practices, Easter sales, price elasticity of demand, Amazon FBA fee changes, Amazon product title optimization, winter seasonal products, Amazon end of year sales, Valentine’s Day trends and best Amazon fulfillment centers by location and throughput.

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