Shopping at the same chain store in a different location could save you quite a bit of money!

Kate emailed in the following tip:

Recently, I shopped at several different national chain store locations outside my usual neighborhood locations and I was surprised to find how much price variation there was among nearby locations of the same national chain stores.

For instance, my neighborhood Giant sells 6-ounce jars of Gerber Stage 3 baby food for $0.68 each. Two other Giant stores within 5 miles price these at $0.78 and $0.82, respectively.

Likewise, my neighborhood CVS sells the women’s Venus Olay razor for $11.79; another local CVS stocks them for $12.59.

While it would not be cost-effective (due to the price of gas) or time-effective to re-route to the store location with the lowest price on every item, this discovery has prompted me to look a little more closely at price differences between branches of national chain stores.

After comparing a few other items at these stores, and finding that a couple of the alternate locations price nearly every item higher than my neighborhood location, I have vowed to avoid shopping at these locations when at all possible. -Kate

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Comments

  1. Carla says

    I have a Giant very close to my house, where I do the VAST majority of my shopping due to not wasting gas, and their gas points. However there is another Giant I go to when I am in another area, for other purposes and I have found that there are different mark downs and Manager’s Specials on things that are not on sale at “my” Giant. So, it is good to check when you can.

    • Sara says

      I have noticed at my Aldi I do not get really deep discounts. So We went just two towns over. Not really that far. To find sugar for .79cents and flower .89cents. My town wants 2.39 for sugar and 1.59 for flour. I stocked up for canning and holiday cooking. What a great deal.

  2. Jessica says

    I’ve seen this at Target stores in my city. We have about 8 local Targets within city limits (metropolitan county of 1 million + population).

  3. says

    Yep. It happens here where I live as well. Even when I load coupons on to my card from places like Safeway, it will tell me in fine print that some store sale prices may vary. You are right though, it may not be worth it to drive around (in a big city at least) to find a few cents of savings, but if you could investigate it online, it may be worth the trip.

  4. Sakura says

    Every tuesday the Walmarts in a county about 20 minutes away will double coupons up to a dollar, so when I’m working if there are items I need I schedule my appoints in that direction.

  5. Heidi says

    I have 3 targets within 15 minutes of my house and I check each of them often for sales. They all put different things on sale/clearance at different prices so driving a little further can actually save you quite a bit of money.

  6. Alicia says

    I find this to be true of my Fry’s (Kroger) food stores. In my case the two closest stores to my house are priced higher on many items than the one which is about 4 miles away. When I am going to do the bulk of my shopping, it is well worth the extra couple of miles for the savings!

  7. Grace says

    Yes I have found the same thing at local Walmarts! For example Activia yogurt was .67 cheaper at a location farther away from me.

  8. says

    I have found this to be true even at stores like Aldi. I also find some locations of various stores like Walmart will offer way better clearance deals than others. For instance I was in a neighboring town doing an errand for my husband and stopped in at their Walmart and found t-shirts for $1 for my daughter and dresses for just $3. The next day I stopped in the Walmart in our local town for something and they had the same stuff on clearance but the dresses were $6 and the shirts were significantly more too.

  9. Allison says

    Yes, this is definitely the case. In high school I worked in a chain drug store. We had a customer complain that she had seen an item for less at another location. My manager said that because rents were higher in the part of town our store was in, prices were higher too.

  10. Bethany says

    Even if you stop for an ice tea at McDonald’s (yes gasp i could make it myself if I could function at 5 a.m.) there is easily a 10-20 cent difference within 2 towns of each other. I travel through 3 towns on my way to work so I check the sale prices online for the different cities for those items I buy most often. Crazy

  11. Anonymous says

    I believe it has to do with the poverty level in certain areas. I live in the suburbs so things are a little pricier. Yet if I go to a few miles away that has a high poverty level the prices are cheaper. Even the ads are different.

  12. says

    I have definitely found different prices in different areas!

    I live between small two towns – one has a Walmart and a local grocery store. The other town has a Walmart, a local grocery store, Cub Foods, Target, and Kmart. The town with more stores has lower prices. Why? Competition!

    If you keep track of prices, you will start to see which stores in your neighborhoods have the best prices. Then plan your shopping trips to make them the most cost effective you can!

  13. Jessica says

    It’s simple economics. The price of living is adjusted per median income range and the density of population. Gas will also be affected by this.

  14. martha says

    must be nice. i live in a small enough town that we have one each of the stores we have. and don’t have aldis or rite aid or winco or any of those stores..

  15. Susan says

    I commented on this once to a client of mine. He was in middle management for a local large grocery chain and he told me that his stores were “zoned”by zip codes based on average household income and socio-economic status of the surrounding area. Because of this advertised specials would always be the same, but the non-sale stuff on the shelf was priced differently based on the zone. Discounted and clearance items were more tied to slow sales, seasonal, and product changes.

    Competition helps also. Recently an Aldi’s went in a local strip mall that also has a Super Wal-Mart. The price wars benefit everyone.

    • Guest says

      I understand your intent about price wars but price wars definitely do not benefit small business owners who cannot compete against chains like Wal-Mart.

  16. Diane says

    The more competition an area has the lower the prices. Walmart has been doing this very successfully for years. Businesses will adopted a successful business model.

  17. Emily says

    I’ve seen this at Target as well. Very annoying! The location in the mall is cheaper than the stand alone locations….I’d think it’d be opposite. ?

  18. Susan says

    Oh yes. It’s common practice for stores to set prices in different locations depending on the socio-economic levels of the area, housing costs, average household income, etc. Generally speaking, prices will be higher in areas with more affluent neighborhoods vs. those in areas with lower incomes and housing costs.

  19. lyss says

    Yes, prices definitely vary by area. I live in a big city with dozens of the same grocery store chain. Also, the type of products each one carries varies by area of town. In the nicer/uppity neighborhoods, you’ll find health food sections and organic foods. In the not-so-nice areas, you won’t find any of that. Seriously, I quit shopping at one store because they didn’t carry whole wheat flour. Period. Not a single brand! That grocery store chain has a different sale ad for each store. And of course, regular prices of items varies, as well.

  20. Bethany M says

    We save quite a bit of tax by shopping outside our neighborhood. On the way to church we enter a different county…Different county/different local taxes….

    • J in VA says

      I notice more stocking differences in my area.

      Kroger and Martins(Giant) have way more organics but only one location in my town. Food Lion has 3 stores but the selection is much less varied, fewer/pricier organics and overall higher prices on things I buy. The Food Lion stores tend to be more neighborhood stores as opposed to shopping centers. A town 10 miles east has a Target, Kroger, Martins and a great bulk/overstocks store. I shop in that area often due to the better choices between the stores. My town and the neighboring town both have super WalMart (I refuse to shop there) but the one in the neighboring town still has fabric in their craft dept. whereas the one in my town doesn’t even though the neighboring town has Michael’s and a locally owned fabric store.

  21. Kathy says

    It has to do with household incomes for each of the towns the stores are located in. If the income tends to be higher in a particular town, they will charge more for the item.

  22. says

    In my area the Shop N Saves are privately owned. Not only are the prices different in some cases due to manager specials, but the coupon policies are different. One store allows for doubling of Internet coupons and has no limit to the number used while the other only allows 3 like coupons of any type and doesn’t double internet at all.

    The two stores are equal distant from my house so depending on how my list works for the week (how many IP coupons I have) decides where I go. The coupon policy can make a big different in the total cost.

  23. Mo says

    Happens all the time…recently our store started taking online orders from other store.

    We had an item for $5 that sold t the other store for $20. Because the store the customer ordered it was selling it for $20 that’s the price thy charged for the item even though we had it for $5.

  24. Audrey says

    Same thing at WalMart. Found Coffemate for $2 less at a WalMart less than 10 miles from each other.