I’d never seen this before, but I certainly saw it tonight. I was wandering through the men’s clothing section (did you know you can’t find plain white boxers at Walmart any more? this was the fourth one I’d tried), and I started hearing something that could only be live music. So I flipped on the video on my phone and kept approaching, and above is what I saw.
Wal-Mart Loses Edge
Perception That Retailer No Longer Has Best Prices Undercuts Sales Turnaround
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is losing its longstanding reputation for offering consumers the lowest prices, complicating its efforts to end a two-year sales slump in the U.S.
The Bentonville, Ark., retail colossus became the world’s largest store chain by avoiding sales gimmicks through “every day low prices” on everything from food to sporting goods under one roof.
But surveys by retail consultants, analysts and brand experts now find that Wal-Mart’s aura of price leadership has faded since the recession, because customers who searched for better deals sometimes found them at competitors such as Dollar General Corp., Aldi Inc. and Amazon.com Inc….
It certainly didn’t look troubled tonight. Based on my difficulty in finding a checkout line that was neither too long (the “express” lanes”) nor featuring people with more than one filled cart. (I wrote on Twitter while waiting, “Waiting in crazy lines at Walmart. Apparently, a lot of people are simultaneously planning polar expeditions…”)
Not that I’ll mourn if Walmart suffers a bit. Walmart is just one of a bunch of factors that killed the newspaper business. You’ll recall a time when grocery stores were a huge newspaper advertiser, along with department stores. Well, Walmart threatened and undercut them both with a strategy that did not require regular local advertising: With “Everyday Low Prices,” you don’t need to advertise any specials. You just have to let the word get around town, and you’re permanently set. And a lot of traditional newspaper advertisers were permanently shafted.
But the live music makes it all worthwhile, right?