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Supercenters Beat on Price: Study

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Wal-Mart Stores’ own supercenters exhibited lower prices in a comparison with Amazon and, though each option had its own strengths, according to a study by Kantar Retail here.

Selecting 36 national-brand items from edible grocery, non-edible grocery, HBC and general merchandise, the study found supercenters had the lowest overall prices in the two consumables categories and was tied in HBC. was priced 7% above supercenters overall, although its general merchandise products were the least expensive of the three; and Amazon was priced 20.5% above supercenters. However, though Amazon was more expensive than supercenters in the non-edible grocery category, it was lower than by 12.2%, Kantar noted.

In other findings: For shoppers who purchased the same SKUs repeatedly, Amazon's "subscribe & save" program offered more competitive prices on selected consumables; 14% of the items at and 3% at supercenters were out of stock, whereas Amazon's offering was completely in-stock, mostly via third-party sellers; and Amazon offered used options in general merchandise at a considerable discount.

"As shoppers become used to these unique offers, traditional retailers like Wal-Mart will need to reconsider their conventional basket propositions," Kantar said. "At the same time the evolution in how consumers shop means we need new ways to understand how consumers compare prices and to measure which retailers offer the lowest prices."

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