Tags: Wal-Mart | retail | shopping | holiday

Wal-Mart Tweaks Discount Strategy for Holiday Season

Thursday, 29 Oct 2015 02:55 PM

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. said it would offer fewer "this weekend only" short-term deals during the holiday shopping season while discounting thousands of items for 90 days as it seeks to entice customers by being more consistent on pricing.

The retailer also said it was launching a new mobile application to reduce waiting times for in-store pickup of online orders as part of an effort to expand a service in which it believes it has an advantage over rivals, like Amazon.com Inc , which lack a bricks-and-mortar presence.

The moves were announced in a media briefing to outline its strategy for the November to December holiday shopping season, a crucial time for retailers during which they earn an outsized portion of their annual profits and sales.

The decision to offer fewer short-term discounts comes at a time when Wal-Mart is seeking to burnish its reputation for low prices amid relentless competition online from Amazon.com, supermarkets and dollar stores. It said customers were frustrated by "gimmicks" and wanted more consistent pricing.

"We will not be beat on pricing this holiday," said Steve Bratspies, chief merchandising officer for Wal-Mart's U.S. operations, noting its policy of matching rivals' prices at its stores. "If we need to react we will."

Wal-Mart said that it would have more "rollbacks," or discounts that last for 90 days, than the 20,000 offered last year, although it did not give an exact figure. Bratspies said the discounts would be across all categories.

Wal-Mart also said it was introducing a "mobile check-in" function to its mobile phone application that would allow shoppers picking up online orders to easily notify the store when arriving to cut down on waiting times.

Wal-Mart said that it was focusing on in-store pickup as a way to take advantage of its 4,500 stores in the U.S. It has recently expanded curbside pickup for groceries ordered online to 23 markets, with plans to add 20 more early next year.

© 2017 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

 
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Wal-Mart Stores Inc. said it would offer fewer this weekend only short-term deals during the holiday shopping season while discounting thousands of items for 90 days as it seeks to entice customers by being more consistent on pricing.
Wal-Mart, retail, shopping, holiday
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2015-55-29
Thursday, 29 Oct 2015 02:55 PM
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