How long can Walmart remain the low-price leader?

A Wal-Mart store.

JEREMY HOBSON: We'll get quarterly earning reports this morning from Target and Abercrombie and Fitch -- and maybe they'll say something that'll lighten the mood in the retail sector after Walmart said yesterday that its US sales were down
for the 9th straight quarter. So what's the matter with the world's
largest retailer?

Here's Marketplace's Eve Troeh.


Eve Troeh: Walmart has always sold itself as a low-price leader. And customers bought that, until the last few years. Now, it has been challenged from above and below, says Budd Bugatch with investment firm Raymond James.

Budd Bugatch: The dollar stores. That's who people most often compare them to.

By people, he means shoppers -- the ones looking even harder than before for the very best deals.

But competition's also been coming from the fancier discounter, Target. It has cut prices to lure families who fled to Walmart in the recession. And Target has tried to look more Wal-ish, too.

Burt Flickinger: Converting almost all of its stores to include supermarkets with drug stores with discount stores.

That's Burt Flickinger at Strategic Resource Group. He says the discount retail space, where Walmart used to be top dog, is now a dog pile, with everyone from grocery stores to warehouse clubs jumping into the fray.

I'm Eve Troeh for Marketplace.

About the author

Eve Troeh is News Director at WWNO-FM in New Orleans, La., helping build the first public radio news department in the station’s 40-year history. She reported for the Marketplace Sustainability Desk from 2010 to 2013.

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