Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Target, Walmart, and other retailers have been receiving daily shipments of home necessities like toilet paper and groceries.
These stores simplified shopping while maintaining a safe social distance by providing curbside pick-up free of charge. In addition, some stores have partnered with companies such as Shipt and Instacart to help customers at high risk maintain a safe social distance.
However, the supply of essential goods and hot-ticket items, like trading cards and video games, still doesn’t match their demand. One way to be a step ahead is to know when stores restock these in-demand items. In this article, we’ll show you the restocking schedules for major grocers and retailers in the U.S.
Why knowing when stores restock is important
Although most COVID-19 protocols have begun to relax, and vaccination rates continue to increase, there are still a lot of supply chain issues stemming from the pandemic. Availability of some essential goods is still variable and, in terms of non-essentials, trading cards have proved pretty tricky to find.
During the pandemic, toilet paper flew off the shelves of most stores. Stay-at-home orders led to a 40% increase in demand for retail toilet paper. There was an average 39% global increase in the amount of time spent playing video games, and entertainment purchases soared.
The demand for trading cards and video games was so intense that it led to physical altercations between customers. Target, Walmart, and other stores suspended carrying Pokemon and MLB trading cards in stores. As of June 1, 2020, most locations once again decided to carry a full selection of trading cards. Unfortunately, most of these cards usually sell out the day they’re restocked, and there are limits placed on how much an individual can actually purchase.
Due to the high demand for trading cards, retailers have begun varying the times that specific stores get to restock cards. Typically, the cards are restocked early in the morning, but all of this depends on the specific manufacturer. Therefore, the exact restocking schedule depends on the category of items and the location of a specific store. Let’s look at the restocking schedules for specific stores to help you know when to buy essential goods, as well as trading cards.
The first Target store opened in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in 1962 under the Dayton Company. Today, Target is one of the major big-box retail chains in the world, with 1,926 stores in the United States alone. The store sells a wide variety of apparel, food, furniture, shoes, toys, household goods, and electronics.
Target offers online shopping options such as order pickup, where you place your orders online, then pick them up at a nearby store. It also partners with Shipt to provide same-day delivery and have your Shipt shopper deliver your shopping at your doorstep.
Target Online is typically updated much faster than independent retail locations. If you shop online, the website is updated daily at around 9 am. Online items get restocked on a rotating basis depending on product availability.
If the product you’re looking for is out of stock, you can sign up to get notifications when it’s back. If you sign up on the website, you’ll receive an email notification, and if you sign up using the app, you’ll get notified on your phone.
Grocery and perishable items are typically restocked between 3 pm and 11 pm. Target gets regular food shipments on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. Getting to the store early is the best way to make sure you get all the groceries you need when they’re fresh.
If you’re on the hunt for a PS5 or Xbox Series X, Target restocks the most popular video games and consoles around 6–7 am before the store opens. This ensures that they stock shelves calmly without interruptions from customers. The most popular restocking days for video game products are Monday and Friday.
To stand the best chance of getting a console, you should be signed in to a Target account. This will automatically direct you to the store closest to your registered address. Since delivery isn’t an option, you’ll have to pick up the consoles in-store.
If you’re wondering what is the best day to shop for baseball, football, basketball, and Pokemon cards, Monday is the best day, but this may depend on which Target store you shop at.
Walmart was founded by Sam Walton back in 1962 in Rogers, Arkansas. By 1967, the company had expanded to 24 locations across Arkansas. Today, Walmart operates a chain of supercenters and has over 10,000 stores and clubs in 24 countries. Walmart sells furniture, clothing, electronics, groceries, toys, video games, tires, beauty products, and more.
The store also provides an online store with the same product categories. Walmart doesn’t have a specific schedule for restocking its online products. It prioritizes restocking items with the highest demand and will notify you if an online product is out of stock.
Also, some items will have stock alerts, but household products and smartphones don’t have stock alerts. Walmart provides curbside pickup for online shoppers that you can pick up in-store at a scheduled time or have them delivered to a designated parking spot outside your local store.
Walmart stores restock groceries overnight from 10 pm to 7 am when the store is closed to the public. Depending on how busy the store is, some Walmart locations restock groceries throughout the day. The store typically opens from 6 am to 11 pm local time. The store also partners with Instacart to offer same-day delivery for groceries and household essentials.
Walmart doesn’t usually announce set times that they restock trading cards to keep collectors from coming in and buying up all of their inventory. However, many Walmart stores seem to restock cards Friday morning to have enough trading cards available for the weekend. This includes Panin, Pokemon, Topps, and Magic the Gathering. However, you can use the “Search My Store” feature to check in-store product availability and prices.
Items with less demand like clothes, school supplies, and home appliances are restocked when the store is closed and during working hours.
Publix was founded in 1930 by George W. Jenkins in Lakeland, Florida. It started out as a single store, and now it’s the biggest employee-owned American supermarket chain.
As a full-service grocery retailer, Publix has meats, fresh produce, deli, kitchen tools, frozen foods, pantry items, flowers, plants, health products, and beauty items.
If you’re unable to shop in-store during opening hours, you can select anything you want online, and Publix will have the items delivered to you through Instacart. The store also offers curbside pickup.
Publix restocks its food inventory on a daily basis, typically early in the morning. This is especially the case when it comes to meat and produce. Flower deliveries arrive at Publix stores five to seven days a week.
Kroger first started in 1883 in Cincinnati, and the store has grown to become one of the largest grocery store retailers with over 2,000 locations. The company focuses on providing high-quality produce and non-perishable items with the aim of reducing hunger and food waste nationwide by 2025.
Kroger has an online delivery service that makes it easy to shop online for groceries and pick up the order at the nearest Kroger store. The Kroger Store Mode is a service that lets you check out the store’s inventory levels on your phone.
Kroger and its brands restock produce every night once the store closes, whereas dairy, meat, and bread get stocked during the day. The best days to go and shop at any Kroger store are Wednesdays and Fridays. The store provides discounts for dozens of items every Wednesday, and digital members get a free grocery item every Friday through their app.
Amazon started as an online bookstore in 1994 and has grown to become one of the most influential economic forces in the world. It is also widely recognized as one of the “Big Four” Tech Companies.
The multinational technology company is based in Seattle, Washington, with warehouses and affiliate offices located around the globe. Amazon is the largest online retailer in the world and offers a wide selection of items from every shopping category you can think of.
Amazon changed the way consumers shop by offering speedy and affordable delivery options — other retailers have been trying to catch up ever since.
Here are some of the delivery options you can expect when you shop:
- Two-day shipping
- One-day shipping
- Same-day delivery
- Whole Foods and Amazon Fresh offer curbside pickup for Prime members
- Amazon Hub delivery for picking up items from places separate from your home or business
- Amazon release date delivery for pre-order goods such as books, video games, or movies
Amazon’s restocking schedule depends on how much control they have over the products. This all rests on whether the item belongs in the 1P or 3P relationship category. 1P refers to a first-party relationship where Amazon acts as the retailer and brands are the wholesale suppliers. Amazon controls how the product is priced on the marketplace as well as restocking.
On the other hand, a 3P or third-party relationship means brands and vendors have more control over their products on the Amazon marketplace. Therefore, Amazon has no control over when 3P sellers restock products.
When shopping for high-demand items like PS5, Xbox Series X, or GPUs, you can set alerts on their product pages to get a notification once the item on the site goes back in stock.
One way to do this is by setting availability alerts through Amazon. Just sign up to the Alert Me box that appears on the right side of the product information page. Another way of doing this is by using services like backinstockalerts.
Meijer started in 1934 in Greenville, Michigan, as a supermarket chain and has grown to become a supercenter with 242 stores across six states. It’s also the 26th largest retailer in the United States. The store sells everything from groceries, electronics, clothing, footwear, toys, furniture, jewelry, housewares, and sporting equipment to medicine and pet supplies.
Meijer has partnered with Shipt to offer grocery delivery services to its customers. It also provides curbside pickup for customers who don’t want to browse through the aisles. Like other retailers, you’ll receive notifications when out-of-stock items are made available online. Meijer has a weekly ad section to show you current discounts, BOGO deals, as well as mix and match deals.
Groceries and toiletries are restocked from Monday to Saturday. Even though Meijer doesn’t have the trading card selection Target and Walmart do, they do carry some cards such as Topps and Pokemon.
Each customer is limited to sets per release to prevent one person from buying out the entire inventory. It’s also worth noting that sports cards are only sold in-store. Trading cards are usually restocked on Friday at 3 pm.
Electronics and video games are not restocked at specific times. When it receives its shipment of computers, laptops, televisions, smartphones, printers, and speaker systems, Meijer restocks overnight. Meijer doesn’t get shipments every week for highly desirable consoles like Nintendo Switch and PS5.
Walgreens was founded in 1901 as a neighborhood drugstore in Chicago by Charles Rudolph Walgreen. Since then, Walgreens has become the second-largest pharmacy chain in the United States, with over 8,000 stores.
Its online store features all the prescription filling you can expect from the physical store and offers deals for most frequently-used household essentials like soaps, diapers, and shampoos. Walgreens offers curbside pickup for goods purchased online.
Walgreens typically only restocks 1–2 times a week, with shipments coming in early in the morning from 3 am to 9 am. Shipment frequency is dictated by manufacturers, with toys, trading cards, and electronics getting restocked once every 1–2 weeks.
Groceries and pharmacy goods are usually restocked Monday and Thursday in the early morning, but this depends on location.
CVS started in 1963 in Lowell, Massachusetts, as Consumer Value Store. Today, it’s the largest pharmacy chain with over 9,000 locations in the United States. The store sells high-quality health care, medication, and beauty products. At CVS.com, item availability depends on the stock that’s available from nearby stores.
Just like Walgreens, non-food items such as Pokemon cards and Squishmallows are restocked once every 1–2 weeks. Food and medication are typically restocked 1–2 times per week.
To check CVS stock before your visit, log into your online account and type in the product you’re looking for in the search bar. Scroll down to the button that says “Check Store Availability,” and you’ll get up-to-date stock availability based on your zip code.
You should order your prescription within five days of your medication running out to ensure they have time to refill your order. This way, if your local store doesn’t have your medication in stock, they can redirect you to another CVS store.
Costco started in 1976 as Price Club store in Seattle. It was housed in a converted airplane hangar. Today, the store is a global retailer with billions of dollars in revenue, and it has stores in eight countries. Costco sells books, cleaning supplies, clothing, electronics, hygiene items, baby goods, large appliances, beauty products, and garden and lawn equipment.
Costco’s online inventory is updated in real-time. Once you place an order online, it’ll be shipped to your local Costco warehouse for in-store pickup. Online stock levels usually get updated from 9 am to 12 pm.
Costco doesn’t have a universal restocking schedule, and it all depends on your local warehouse. The store gets multiple grocery shipments every day. Local warehouses restock depending on volume, management, and when it receives new produce shipments.
The Costco warehouse gets three to six shipment loads every morning. Essential and specialty items come in daily, usually early in the morning before the store opens. Stores with lower demand may only get their shipments on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
PS5 drops at Costco are rare, and consoles are some of the items it only sells exclusively to its members.
Dollar General started as a family business in 1939 in Kentucky. The name changed to Dollar General Corporation in 1955, and the company went public in 1968. As of 2018, Dollar General boasts over 15,000 stores in America, and it’s one of the most profitable companies in the rural United States. It’s now based in Goodlettsville, Tennessee.
The store offers a wide range of products from household essentials, groceries, seasonal items, pet supplies, clothing, and more.
You can order products from Dollar General online and have them delivered to your doorstep. The DG AutoDeliver program allows you to receive products based on the frequency you set. You’ll be able to save 5% off the regular retail price on each recurring order and get free shipping on recurring orders that are above 25%.
The largest restocking day at many locations is Monday morning. Groceries are restocked overnight between opening hours, so the best time to go shopping for groceries is as soon as the store opens.
Finding great Hot Wheels cars and Pokemon cards can be hit or miss at Dollar General. It’s best to go early on Mondays because that’s their main restocking day.
Albertsons is an American grocery store that was founded in 1939 in Boise, Idaho. The company is the second-largest grocery store in the United States after Kroger. Albertsons sells fruits, veggies, dairy products, dry goods, pantry staples, fresh food, international cuisine, pet products, wines and spirits, as well as bath and body products.
Albertsons also has an online store that sells similar products, and they offer free delivery for their products with some occasional promotions. The store also provides shoppers with the option of buying online and picking up in-store. Physical locations provide a full-service pharmacy. Groceries are typically restocked every weekday.
BestBuy is a consumer electronics retailer that was founded in 1966 as an audio specialty store known as Sound of Music. The store is headquartered in Richfield, Minnesota, and started out selling audio equipment.
Today, Best Buy operates stores in the United States, Mexico, Canada, and Puerto Rico. The store boasts numerous awards and accolades, such as the “Company of the Year'' by Forbes in 2004.
Best Buy is the go-to store for mobile phones, laptops, computers, electronic equipment, consoles, and accessories.
Best Buy’s online store mostly restocks between 12 pm and 3 pm on weekdays. The store offers both store pickup and curbside pickup for items bought online. In-store restocks happen every 1–2 weeks to replenish sold-out items. You can log into your Best Buy account to check for the availability of an item that was previously sold out before making a trip to the store.
Best Buy stores often experience a huge shortage of graphic cards and GPUs. The high demand is mostly due to the fact that they’re used for gaming PCs and cryptocurrency mining.
Due to high demand and limited supply from manufacturers, Best Buy imposes quantity limits on all customers.
Tips to help you save money at retail stores
Now that you have an idea of when your favorite stores will restock, make sure to sign up for their loyalty programs and join their email lists to receive deals, promos, and exclusive offers.
You could also pay with a rewards card to offset your total bill or rack up some points for your next shopping trip. A good example is using Target RedCard to shop, as members get 5% off all purchases. Similarly, joining a wholesale club like Costco helps you save on buying in bulk.
Consider using digital coupons when you shop online. All of the stores we’ve covered have promo codes that can come in handy when doing your shopping to help you maximize savings. We’ve linked coupon codes for all the stores to help you find the latest promo codes for specific stores.
To make it even easier to find online coupons while you shop, consider installing a browser like Cently. Cently automatically applies coupons at checkout, so you don’t forget to apply them or waste time searching for coupon codes.
It’s also a great idea to compare prices between stores and to price match. You can go to multiple physical stores, or you can simply check online prices or the weekly ads beforehand. Some stores have a price-matching policy where you’ll get the best price available for an item without having to go price hunting elsewhere.