NEWS BRIEFS

WAL-MART ROLLS OUT ONLINE DVD RENTALSBENTONVILLE, Ark. -- As part of its rollout of an online DVD rental program, Walmart.com has added distribution centers and introduced a lower-priced service level, the company said. The new plan from Wal-Mart DVD Rentals will entitle customers to unlimited rentals, with a limit of two at a time for a $15.54-per-month subscription fee. Other plans allow three DVDs

WAL-MART ROLLS OUT ONLINE DVD RENTALS

BENTONVILLE, Ark. -- As part of its rollout of an online DVD rental program, Walmart.com has added distribution centers and introduced a lower-priced service level, the company said. The new plan from Wal-Mart DVD Rentals will entitle customers to unlimited rentals, with a limit of two at a time for a $15.54-per-month subscription fee. Other plans allow three DVDs at a time for $18.76, and four at a time for $21.94. Netflix, Los Gatos, Calif., allows customers to have three DVDs at a time for $19.95, while Blockbuster, Dallas, has said it expects to expand a similar program from a test. Wal-Mart began testing the program last October from one distribution center, and is adding six more. It will have 13,000 titles available, which compares to Netflix's 15,000. "Our customers look to us to provide quality entertainment for the entire family," said Matt Sevick, manager, Wal-Mart DVD Rentals.

SPEAKER: AVOID BECOMING 'WAL-MART ROADKILL'

SAN DIEGO -- To avoid becoming "Wal-Mart roadkill," retailers need to focus on the specific customer segments they can win, said Art Turock, president, Art Turock & Associates, Kirkland, Wash., speaking at the recent General Merchandise Marketing Conference of the General Merchandise Distributors Council, Colorado Springs, Colo. GM buyers need to change their focus from obtaining the lowest price, he told SN. One example he pointed to was Wegmans targeting college students during the back-to-school period. "You've got to be thinking at a different level because, as low as you go, Wal-Mart will go lower." Wal-Mart can do this because of its investment in technology and distribution. Stores are only incidental to Wal-Mart's business model, he said. "Wal-Mart is not a retailer" but a company with significant supply chain capabilities. "They are taking their distribution capabilities and using that to leverage and win," Turock said.