The Real Reason Why T.J. Maxx Groceries Are SO Cheap

published Feb 24, 2024
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TJ Maxx storefront
Credit: Shutterstock/Helen89

T.J. Maxx is well-known for carrying decorative throw pillows and discounted midi dresses. But savvy maxxinistas — and longtime readers of The Kitchn — know quality deals extend well beyond trendy fashion finds and home decor. The department store chain carries all sorts of grocery staples and surprising ingredients, often at incredibly low prices (and that’s before they even go on clearance!) 

Over the years we’ve scored $4 jarred pasta sauce that rivals the fresh stuff in Northern Italy, bags of crispy chickpeas at half the price compared to nearby grocers, and jars of sweet-tart mango preserves that taste way more expensive than their $5 price tag. How are we able to find so many great items at such low prices? Turns out, it’s not an accident: It’s baked into how T.J. Maxx operates.

Credit: Patty Catalano

Why T.J. Maxx Groceries Are Super Cheap

T.J. Maxx sells “excess stock that has been difficult for suppliers to get rid of,” explains Aneesha Sherman, an analyst at Bernstein, as recently reported by RetailWire. It’s the very same strategy the retailer employs for “clothing and other products,” like toys, books, cookware, and furniture. Because these suppliers are looking to offload these items, the retailer is able to purchase them at “very affordable prices” and in turn pass those savings onto us shoppers.

According to the report, when T.J. Maxx first began selling food items, it bought discounted products set to expire within three months, which is a time frame that “other food sellers were put off by,” explains Sherman. Fewer potential buyers likely benefited T.J. Maxx when the company negotiated rates with suppliers. She also points out that the retailer doesn’t carry fresh foods, so it doesn’t have to deal with deliveries and other expenses associated with items that can spoil more quickly.

It’s important to note that T.J. Maxx doesn’t list the food items in stock on its website or offer food delivery, so it’s not as easy as shopping at some other grocery retailers. Still, it’s worth a visit to the store’s food section next time you’re nearby. You may just find your new favorite, budget-friendly dinner staple.

Do you shop for groceries at T.J. Maxx? Tell us about it in the comments below.