NEW YORK (AP) — Shoppers can skip the math. It's about to get easier to compare prices on products from breakfast cereals to toothpaste at some of the nation's major online retailers.
New York's attorney general said Tuesday that Costco, CVS, FreshDirect, Wal-Mart and Walgreen have agreed to list unit prices on their websites and mobile apps for shoppers nationwide in the coming months. Amazon.com Inc., the world's largest online retailer, did not agree to participate, according to Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman.
A unit price tells consumers how much a product costs by each unit of weight. It divides the full price of the item by the size of its packaging. For example, a 16-ounce bottle of shampoo costing $5.99 would have a unit price of 37 cents per ounce. Because the same product can be sold in several different sizes, a unit price is a better way to compare whether a giant bottle of shampoo is really a good deal compared to a smaller one.
Retailers already list unit prices in stores, but they're harder to find online.
The New York Attorney General's office said that 19 states and the District of Columbia have some type of unit pricing requirement. New York law requires that large retail stores clearly display the price per unit of measurement for most types of food, cleaning and paper products, toiletries, pet food and over-the-counter medications. But prior to this initiative, unit pricing information online was rare. Among large retailers, full availability of unit pricing was limited to online grocer Peapod.
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