FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) — Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is upping the ante on price matching.
The world's largest retailer said Wednesday that it's expanding its online tool that compares prices on thousands of products with those of some of its competitors to cities nationwide in the next few months.
Wal-Mart also plans to offer thousands more products, from general merchandise like TVs and shirts to veggies and other produce, on the online tool that's called Savings Catcher. And customers will also now be able to use Savings Catcher on Wal-Mart's mobile app.
The expansion comes after Wal-Mart rolled out Savings Catcher in seven markets in March, allowing customers to go to Walmart.com and compare prices of 80,000 grocery and household products at Wal-Mart with many of its competitors with physical stores. If the tool finds a lower price elsewhere, it refunds the difference to shoppers in the form of a store credit.
The discount behemoth is the latest retailer to aggressively court customers with a price-matching policy. Wal-Mart and other stores long have offered to match the lower prices of competitors. But those programs only offer to match lower prices if shoppers do the research on their own, while Savings Catcher is designed to do the legwork for customers.
Wal-Mart is expanding its price-matching tool at a time when rivals are pushing ever lower prices. Wal-Mart built its business on offering the lowest prices on staples such as milk, bread and laundry detergent. But its "every day low price" model is under attack from dollar stores, grocery stores and online retailers, including Amazon. On top of that, the retailer's primarily lower-income customers continue to struggle in the economic recovery.
Wal-Mart's U.S. discount division has recorded five consecutive quarters of declines in revenue at stores opened at least a year, a yardstick for measuring a retailer's health. The discounter also has seen a decline in the number of shoppers in its stores for sixth straight quarters.