Thrift Economy: WalMart squeezed in the middle and losing share at both ends

AdAge outlines:

1. wal-mart, one of the few success stories during the great recession, beginning to lose share is definitely going to be an economic indicator for all businesses (and brands) to be aware of
2. their low price positioning is starting to get eroded by both competition from dollar stores as well as wal-mart’s own decision to try to pull more profit out of certain categories by not passing on the savings they negotiate with suppliers to their customers (which customers have quickly sniffed out), while target’s positioning seems to be getting relevant again as having competitive prices but a more pleasing shopping experience
a couple of choice quotes:
“About five years ago, some suppliers say that Walmart, by focusing too much on the value threat from dollar stores, left an opening for Target and Costco in particular to beat it on shopper experience. Now, however, with Walmart trying to improve experience by investing heavily in “Project Impact” store remodels and clearing aisles of promotional pallets, it’s been distracted from dollar stores and other challengers trying to beat it on price.”
“One of Walmart’s challenges is that while it’s benefited from trade down, it’s also being hurt by its own shoppers trading down to dollar stores, hard discounters such as Aldi and Super Valu’s Save-A-Lot and even Goodwill thrift stores, which have been improving their appearance in an effort to hold onto shoppers who’ve come since the recession, Mr. Nicholas said.”
“Ironically, some people close to Walmart say merchandisers have said they feel emboldened to press harder for concessions in part because the retailer’s PR efforts have succeeded in improving its former image as a bully.”

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