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Cheap Kids Clothes Buying Guide
While Reuters reports that the cost of clothes has risen 10 percent this year due to an increase in raw material costs, we were still able to find plenty of cheap kids clothes. We visited Kohl's, Target, Kmart, Walmart, Old Navy, JC Penney, and Sears to look for a whole list of items including cheap kids tops and pants, discount school uniforms, cheap kids underwear, discount children's shoes, cheap boys and girls pajamas, and discount kids outerwear.
Our shopping cart test revealed that the cheapest store overall for back-to-school clothes is Walmart. We were able to outfit two kids for just $218.36 (before tax). That said, Walmart, like many other stores we compared, didn't carry everything on our list in store; we had to look for some cheap kids clothes online. A few items on our list (coats, boots, and boys dress shoes) weren't available from every retailer in store or online -- at least at the time of our test, toward the end of July -- so we didn't include them in our totals. The only store that did carry everything you might need is Sears, which totaled $546.40 in our shopping cart test. The most expensive store in our test was Kohl's, totaling $705.13. However, the test did not include sale prices or coupons, and many parents favor Kohl's for its storewide sales and exceptional coupons. We were hard-pressed to find anyone shopping at Kohl's who doesn't buy on sale or use a coupon.
While Walmart is the clear winner on overall price, no store is truly a one-stop shop for the cheapest kids clothes. Different stores excel in different clothing categories based on a combination of price, selection, and quality. Walmart takes the cake in underwear, pajamas, and pants, while Kohl's wins the dress clothes categories. We found that Kohl's is most often cited by shoppers for generally offering high-quality clothes that rarely fall apart prematurely. Old Navy is a clear winner in both boys and girls tops as well as in discount kids outerwear -- what there was of it, anyway. Old Navy impressed our researcher with the quality of its cheap kids clothes, which also proved durable in a test by Good Housekeeping. While JC Penney is the place to shop for discount school uniforms, Target also offers a wide selection.
Read on for more details of our findings, but keep in mind that each store's offerings, prices, sales, and coupons may differ from location to location. If you've found that the price or quality at a given store differs from what you see here, please let us know in the comments section.
Back To School Clothing Stores
JC PenneyOne word -- uniforms. JC Penney has every imaginable uniform item your child would need for low prices that happen to be compatible with high quality. In fact, selection is good in most categories at this venerable department store, although prices can creep up on you. As for quality, the Arizona brand ranks up there with the best when comparing T-shirts, hoodies, and polo shirts. Customers say JC Penney is a convenient place to shop, especially if they need to buy uniforms.
KmartKmart offers shoppers something of a mixed bag. Although jeans are well-priced and sturdy, most tops seem a bit flimsy. Customers seem split in their opinions of Kmart. One mom told us the quality of the cheap kids clothes seems to have improved over the past few years, while others say they don't shop at Kmart because of the flimsy materials used to make the clothing. In addition, the return policy is quite strict.
Kohl'sFrugal shoppers say Kohl's offers a wide range of high-quality brands for low prices. While the store placed as the most expensive in our shopping cart test, the coupons and in-store discounts are impressive and help lower prices drastically. In our review of cheap kids clothes, we found that Kohl's kids dress clothes, including dresses and pants, surpass the rest with a large selection of items that should last a while. Plus, the return policy is unbeatable -- completely hassle-free, meaning you can return just about anything at any time with or without a receipt.
Old NavyExcellent quality jeans and polo shirts at affordable prices make Old Navy a top store brand. This retailer also boasts the greatest assortment of styles in outerwear that we saw while shopping toward the end of July. Consumers seem to like Old Navy; they say the budget kids clothes are well-priced and right up there with the latest fashion trends. One arena where Old Navy flags is its return policy. In certain situations you can only get a store credit mailed to you rather than receiving it on the spot. We also found a very limited selection of budget kids shoes, and pajamas are available only online.
SearsEverything you need for your child's back-to-school wardrobe can be found in-store at Sears. That's right -- from underwear to uniforms and everything in between, it's all there. But you may pay slightly higher prices for the one-stop-shopping convenience. Still, consumers don't have any complaints about shopping at Sears.
TargetTarget outshines the competition in budget kids shoes. It boasts an outstanding selection at very low prices and several shoppers laud the quality. Cheap kids tops also seem to be a good value at Target; fabric used in the Cherokee brand seems quite durable. Most customers seem satisfied with Target's back-to-school options and consider the return policy easy to work with. On the downside, we found a limited selection in certain categories, such as uniforms, pajamas, and dress clothes.
WalmartIn our shopping cart test of cheap kids clothes, Walmart was the clear winner with the lowest total: $218.36. The store also came out on top in the jeans and underwear match-ups. In jeans, Walmart offers the lowest prices for relatively high quality; the durable fabric is unlikely to rip or fray easily. Many retailers carry the same brands of panties and briefs, training bras, socks, undershirts, and tights, but Walmart sells them at the lowest prices. Customers seem to like Walmart as a place to stock up on these basic items.
JC Penney Review
Old Navy Review
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