Wal-Mart Stores is running a new price-comparison test in at least 1,200 U.S. stores and squeezing packaged goods suppliers in a bid to close a pricing gap with German-based discount grocery chain Aldi and other U.S. rivals like Kroger, according to four sources familiar with the moves.
Wal-Mart launched the price test across 11 Midwest and Southeastern states such as Iowa, Illinois and Florida, focusing on price competition in the grocery business that accounts for 56 percent of the company's revenue, said vendor sources with direct knowledge of the matter who did not wish to be identified for fear of disrupting business relations with Wal-Mart.
Wal-Mart's tests are aimed at finding the right price point across a range of products that will attract more shoppers, and then adjusting prices as needed.
Spot checks by Reuters on a basket of grocery items sold by competing Aldi and Wal-Mart stores in five Iowa and Illinois cities showed Wal-Mart's bid to lower prices is already taking hold. Wal-Mart consistently offered lower prices versus Aldi, an improvement over recent analyst estimates that Wal-Mart's prices have been as much as 20 percent higher than Aldi on many grocery staples.