When Do Grocery Stores Restock? (Here’s What to Expect)

Among the most important factors for grocery stores to consider is their restock schedule. Having fully stocked shelves during peak times is one of grocery stores’ top priorities to ensure they do not lose customers due to low inventory.

As a customer, you can save a lot of time by knowing when grocery stores are restocking to maximize your efficiency during each trip to the store.  

While each grocery store restocks on different days and times, the vast majority restock multiple times a week. Some larger stores like Walmart and Costco restock daily. Most commonly, grocery stores use the hours they are closed at night to restock large items and do small restocks during the day.

If you’re basing your grocery store trip around restocks, knowing your store’s schedule is very helpful. Since each grocery chain, and each specific store within a chain, have different protocols, this article will review the basic restock schedules for major grocery chains.

However, keep in mind that what is generally true for a chain may still differ in your specific region due to consumer demands and high traffic days.

What Time Do Grocery Stores Restock?

Most grocery stores restock large items at night and smaller or fast-moving items throughout the day. Restocking at night is ideal for large items that may inconvenience shoppers or alter the store’s layout. These restocks will generally occur sometime between 10 pm, and 7 am.

While some stores stick to restocks solely during the night hours, others will do small restocks during regular store hours.

However, the restocks that occur during the daytime when shoppers are around are generally smaller restocks that are easy to get done without interfering with customers.

Therefore, the vast majority of the time restocks are done overnight for the customers and staff’s convenience.

Do Grocery Stores Restock Overnight?

Generally speaking, grocery stores will choose to restock overnight. Most grocery chains restock when the store is closed. This is usually between midnight and 6 am; however, every store has different hours, and therefore this can differ by a few hours on either end.

Many grocery stores will restock some items during the day to get some shipments emptied and avoid running out of anything before the night restock.

This also behooves the store when they get shipments of fresh foods that need to be put in a temperature-controlled climate right away.

But generally speaking, the main restocking happens during the night shift when customers are not around.

What Is the Best Day to Buy Meat?

Although several online resources claim Wednesdays are best, and others claim Saturdays are best, neither is entirely true. The best day to buy meat is generally going to differ based on your specific grocery store.

If you’re shopping at a store that restocks every day, there may be no difference from one day to the next as far as your meat purchases go. Whereas others may only restock twice a week, making those days the best to buy meat.

Next time you go to your local butcher or grocery store, ask an employee what day their meat gets restocked and plan to buy your meat as soon as possible after that.

If you’re buying meat right after it has been restocked at the store, you’re ensuring it is as fresh as possible. Since you have little way of knowing how long it was previously packaged to get from its origin to the store, the best you can do is get it as soon as the store has it.

While most grocery stores restock at the start of the week, making Wednesday a great day to go grocery shopping, this could differ, and since finding out the best day for you is so easy, simply ask next time you’re in the store!

If you shop at a large supermarket, it’s very likely they restock daily, in which case whichever day works best with your schedule to grocery shop will be the best day.

Finding the perfect harmony between your schedule and the grocery store’s schedule is the most important to maximize your grocery shopping experience!

When Does Walmart Restock?

Walmart generally will restock their items daily as they are constantly getting shipments that need to be put out for customers. While most of their restocks occur during the night while the stores are closed, it is not uncommon to see Walmart employees restocking the shelves throughout the day.

This is primarily because Walmart shipments come at all times of the day and night. Employees prefer to get the items out and stocked as quickly as possible, which often results in some restocking during the day.

However, if you’re a Walmart shopper, the best time to shop is going to be in the morning since the shelves will just have been restocked the night before.

When Does Target Restock?

Since Target often has smaller stores than other large superstores, Target stores are not usually restocked every day. Instead, shipments will arrive a few times a week on Thursday or Friday, then again on Monday or Tuesday, and be restocked overnight.

Much like larger stores, Target will often have its employees restock certain items during the day, but those are usually not popular items.

Day time restocks usually happen for low demand items that are not selling out very quickly. Most often, this ends up being clothing. The higher demand items will be restocked overnight and often sold out within a few hours of opening in the morning.

With stores that only restock a few times a week, shipments often come leading up to and right after the weekend since items get picked over from weekend shoppers.

Therefore, you can usually assume that shipments are coming into Target stores on Thursday or Friday, then again later in the week on Monday or Tuesday.

When Does Costco Restock?

Costco, much like other superstores, restocks nearly every day. This can differ by location, but Costco has a constant flow of trucks coming in with new items. Costco sticks to a stricter restock schedule, which starts around 4 am and goes until the store opens in the morning.

However, some smaller Costco’s or locations that do not get quite as many shoppers will instead get shipments a few times a week. This is mostly dependent on how quickly the store is selling out.

For any Costco shoppers, you may be more likely to see daytime restocks around high demand times.

Around the holidays, Costco is more likely to restock during the day because the demand for certain paper products can be so high; however, the restock is usually of only a few specialty items.

When Does Kroger Restock?

Much like other smaller grocery chains, Kroger restocks their shelves a few times a week based on each store’s demand. This is primarily done at night; however, more and more customers see daytime restocks of fresh food.

This can often be determined by the truck schedules and what is being shipped because fresh foods generally need to be restocked right away after arriving.

Final Thoughts

When finding the best day to go to the grocery store, the most important thing to consider is your specific grocery store’s schedule. If you base your shopping needs on general stats, you may not get the freshest produce or most stocked shelves.

Don’t be afraid to ask a grocery store employee what days they usually get shipments to improve the quality of food you’re buying.

If you’re interested in finding out more about grocery shopping, check out the related articles below.

Related Articles:

Costco Membership: Here’s Everything You Need to Know

What Is the Best Time to Go Grocery Shopping? (At Your Local Store)

How Often Should You Buy Groceries?

Why Do Some People Dislike Grocery Shopping?

Does Trader Joe’s Have Delivery? (No, but This Option Works)

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About the Author

Eril is the founder of Shopfood.com. He has over ten years of experience in the consumer goods industry. He launched many successful products for major brands sold at retailers like Walmart, Costco, Amazon, Target, Kroger, Publix, and more.

He likes to write and share his experience with others. Outside of work, you can find him at a hiking trail in New England or playing soccer with his kids.

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