Price battle: Walmart vs. Publix

Walmart’s price comparison ads work, but rivals say, “hold on a second…”

Among the many things Walmart is known for is TV ads in which its food prices are compared to those of major rivals. Such ads have run in Canada and the United States.

A fascinating article in the Tampa Tribune this weekend examines how these ads are developed and the results.

Walmart prefers to compare prices to the largest rival in any given market. In Florida that rival is Publix.

Before the ads go to air, Walmart seeks out moms who shop often at Publix. Volunteers are asked to visit a local Walmart with their Publix receipt and compare prices on national-brand items.

The resulting ads invariably show Walmart prices are cheaper.

Walmart says that the ads, which run for about a week, cause traffic and sales at its stores to rise one per cent.

Of course, rivals don’t always agree with the ads or Walmart’s math.

Publix recently pointed out that the price comparisons don’t take into the grocery chain’s many buy-one get-one-free deals.

Read the full Tampa Tribune story here.

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