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Wal-Mart chops prices in bid to lure shoppers


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By Parija B. Kavilanz, CNNMoney.com senior writer

January 29 2008: 10:13 AM EST

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Wal-Mart announced Tuesday that it will chop prices between 10 to 30% this week on groceries, electronics and other home-related products in an effort to keep its cash-strapped consumers excited about shopping.

While its rivals, including Target (TGT, Fortune 500), have seen sales decelerate dramatically in recent weeks from a consumer spending slowdown, Wal-Mart (WMT, Fortune 500) has been benefiting from more shoppers trading down to its discount stores.

The world's largest retailer recently reported that its December same-store sales rose 2.4%, which was at the high-end of its expectations for the month.

Same-store sales, a key gauge of retail store performance, tracks sales at stores open at least a year.

"We all know economic times are tough so our plan is to help with added savings throughout the year, focusing especially on what people want, when they need it," said John Fleming, Wal-Mart's chief merchandising officer.

However, one retail analyst said the timing of the price cut, coming just ahead of the Super Bowl weekend, is a clever marketing move by Wal-Mart.

"Super Bowl is a sales driver for Wal-Mart, particularly for consumables and electronics. For Wal-Mart to piggyback off that event is a smart marketing strategy," said Michael Niemira, chief retail analyst with International Council of Shopping Centers.

"The extent to which Wal-Mart can use these extra discounts to drive [store] traffic and pick up market share is a good thing," he added.

Wal-Mart spokeswoman Melissa O'Brien told CNNMoney.com that this month's week-long additional price cuts are "the first of more to come."

"We will have more of these during the busier shopping periods of the year like Valentine's Day and Easter," O'Brien said.

In addition to the extra discounts on "thousands of products," the retailer said it will offer no interest for 18 months on purchases of $250 or more with a Wal-Mart Credit Card.

Wal-Mart said for $10 or less, its shoppers can bag 4 Pepsi 12-pack cases. They can also buy 2 DiGiorno 12-inch pizzas for $9. In electronics, Wal-Mart is selling a RCA Home Theater System for $98.96 and a RCA or Polaroid 32-inch LCD TV/DVD bundle for $683.

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For all you impulse buyers! :w00t:

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