Wal-Mart Stores Inc.’s prices rose in September to the highest level in at least 21 months, according to J.P. Morgan Securities Inc., as the world’s largest retailer scaled back discounts from earlier this year.
The cost of a 31-item basket of goods at a Wal-Mart in Virginia was $95.75, a 2.7 percent increase from August and a 5 percent gain from the start of 2010, analyst Charles Grom said today in a report. The price is the most since the New York- based analyst began the survey in January 2009.
Prices for produce climbed as Wal-Mart offered almost no discounts on food last month, Grom said. Price cuts on items such as cereal and ketchup failed to attract as many consumers as Wal-Mart anticipated, dragging down sales in the latest quarter, U.S. stores chief William Simon said last month.
Produce accounted for 7 of the 31 items in the basket, with prices 10 percent higher in September than the previous month. Prices for dairy products rose 2 percent, and meat was unchanged.
Wal-Mart fell 16 cents to $53.19 at 12:03 p.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. The shares were little changed this year before today.
Wal-Mart’s prices came in below a similar basket of goods bought at stores operated by Kroger Co. and Safeway Inc. The gap between Wal-Mart and the traditional grocers narrowed in September, the report showed.
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