Target Overthrows Walmart For The Title Of The Cheapest In The Land This Month

We’ve been following the price tug-of-war between Target and Walmart as the two retail giants battle for the right to claim they’re the cheapest in the land. It seemed Target had the edge on Walmart last year, and now new research suggests you really will “pay less” at Target.

Bloomberg Industries ran the numbers and found that this month, prices at Target were lower than Walmart for the first time since October 2011. Not only is Target cheaper, but it widened the price gap with the biggest margin since Bloomberg began studying the two companies two years ago.

The numbers this time around came from studying the prices of 150 common items at stores within five miles of each other, as consumers looking for the best prices in tough economic times would be likely to compare prices at their local retail spots. Of course it’s a no-brainer — we go where the cheaper price is.

Target’s big gain this month game from undercutting Walmart’s food prices. Sam Walton’s company had an advantage of 4.5 percentage points in July, but dropped down to only 1.35 percentage points this month. According to an analyst for Bloomberg Industries, Target’s food improvement could be tied to back-to-school promotions.

In the study, prices at Target were 0.46 percentage points cheaper than Walmart in August. In other words, for every $100 spent, Target was cheaper by $0.46.

“Consistent with our long-time practice, Target regularly shops competitors to ensure we are at price parity on like and identical items in local markets,” said a Target spokeswoman in a statement.

Overall, however, Walmart says it’s still king of the discount.

“Anytime there’s an environment with high-low retailers, pricing surveys will reflect some differences,” a Walmart spokesman said in a statement. “Walmart is delivering everyday low prices — not pricing gimmicks — every day, 365 days per year, not just during a single week or during a particular season. Our customers don’t have to wait for a sale or look for an ad.”

But for Target to win this round despite things like Walmart’s Ad Match guarantee, well, that’s kind of embarrassing ,says one expert.

“Wal-Mart has been rolling out 88-cent deals and very publicly communicating its ad-match campaign, so it’s a real blow that Target has managed to trump them on price,” says an analyst with Planet Retail.

The one bright spot for Walmart — it still has an advantage over Amazon, says another study that found Walmart was cheaper on average by 20% on a range of 36 items. Hold that fact close, Walmart.

Target Cheaper Than Wal-Mart As Gap Widest In Two Years [Bloomberg]


Edit Your Comment

  1. Marlin says:

    Meh… I pay a little extra to not have to go to wal-mart.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      In my world, Wal-Mart doesn’t even exist. It never even enters my mind that something I’m looking for could be cheaper there because I refuse to go into one.

    • Oh_No84 says:

      Going to walmart is annoying. I only do it if I cant find what I want at other stores just to see if they have something.
      50% of their employees dont speak english.
      90% of the customers dont speak english.

      Going to walmart is like going to mexico which is weird. If I go to a normal grocery store everyone speaks english. I do find it odd that nonenglish speakers flock to walmart. Does anyone know why this is?
      Walmart has never had the cheapest prices on most of their items especially on food so I dont get why anyone goes there.

      • HomerSimpson says:

        “Walmart has never had the cheapest prices on most of their items especially on food so I dont get why anyone goes there.”

        Of course they do! That guy in all the commercials says so! Commercials wouldn’t lie since if it’s on TV it HAS to be true, right? Right? RIGHT?!?!?!?

        • MarkFL says:

          “if it’s on TV it HAS to be true, right? Right? RIGHT?!?!?!?”

          No, no, you’re thinking of the Internet. If it’s on the INTERNET it has to be true.

      • Dagny Taggart says:

        Actually, I have been to Walmart in Puerto Vallarta and it was actually nicer than many of the Walmarts I have visited in the U.S. and the clerks spoke English!

    • CrackedLCD says:

      Me too. It’s OK if Target has a little less selection (our has “expanded food” but isn’t a supercenter) and the prices are within pennies either way. There aren’t Walmartians there to make my blood boil.

      Hell, I’d rather do without and shop at Publix for food, which is sky high, than shop at Walmart and have every little thing that strikes my fancy.

  2. AzCatz07 says:

    Walmart may have a price advantage over Amazon, but it doesn’t have any other advantage. I buy almost all of my dry goods from Amazon. I’m a Prime member, but I usually get my items the day after I order them.

    I guess you could argue that being another advantage: if I go to Walmart I get my items the same day. However, I tend to buy in bulk, so I rarely run out of things.

    • JEDIDIAH says:

      I just got back from Target. They didn’t have what I was looking for. Amazon didn’t really either but they had a nice link to another online retailer that did. Still. Going to Amazon meant that I found what I was looking for.

      Target was a big waste of time.

  3. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    Still waiting with bated breath for Target to convert the dead Ultimate Electronics locations into a Super Target. It’s only 2 minutes from my house!

  4. HomerSimpson says:

    Around here, they both suck in terms of pricing. Sorry Walmart, a .01 difference between you and “the competitor” doesn’t count as “real savings” in my book.

  5. birdieblue says:

    I’m in a college town, and Target’s food prices are ridiculous. They have a single, wide “fresh food” aisle, and though the quality is okay, the prices are extremely high. Prices on packaged food is more reasonable, but nothing amazing. I don’t find that Wal-Mart and Target are that much cheaper than the local regional grocery chains (Kroger and Marsh out here in the Midwest) anyway.

    • Oh_No84 says:

      In houston, the grocery chains are cheaper than walmart on almost everything for food items.
      In houston customers keep going so walmart can overcharge.

      When I first moved 1.5 years ago to houston I price matched all my items between the HEB and walmart. Walmart has higher prices on everything.

    • dulcinea47 says:

      The produce at Target is insane. They also do stuff like *individually wrap a bell pepper*. I am not buying an individually wrapped bell pepper, buying them naked (and for half the price) at the regular grocery is fine with me! That said I do shop at Target for drugstore-type stuff, cleaning supplies, etc. Not sure how it compares to Walmart here but Walmart kills my soul to go in there, so Target is worth it.

  6. Blueskylaw says:

    I wonder how many health benefits, wages, and raises Walmart and
    Target had to eliminate in order to slash their prices to the bone.

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      Answer: All of them

    • DogiiKurugaa says:

      Walmart – All of them as the previous person said
      Target – Not much so far. At least around here Target has the higher base pay when hired and has better benefits for cheaper. You do get shit for raises though. Can’t be perfect.

      • The Colonel says:

        Well, in my case, Target did the whole “you are part-time, because you are only on the schedule for 28 hours,” but then each day “well, we have some extra hours today if you want them.” So, even though I never worked less than 40 hours in a week, I was part-time and no benefits.

  7. ninabi says:

    You get what you pay for, sometimes- the last few times I purchased clothing at Target I regretted it- it lasts for only a few wash cycles before they became limp, faded and developed holes.

    They aren’t bad for cleaning supplies, shampoo and such, though. Haven’t been in Walmart in years.

    • Kuchen says:

      Depends on what you’re looking to get out of the clothes, really. I get a lot of clothes for my daughter at Target. They have a lot of cute kids’ clothes in their Circo brand, and I can get three or four items there for what one would cost at some other kids’s clothing stores. I don’t get nervous letting her wear them to preschool or to play outside in the dirt because they weren’t that expensive.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      I’ve had luck with certain kinds of clothes. I won’t buy pants there, but shoes have lasted longer than I thought they would, and I don’t mind the inexpensive t-shirts. They put cardigans on sale every so often but it’s a certain brand that lasts longer. I just watch out for that one (I think it’s Merona? I don’t remember). Swimwear at Target is pretty good, and I buy socks from there too.

  8. GingerMom79 says:

    I REALLY miss the SuperTarget that was 10 minutes from my house in Florida. Now I’m in Ohio and 20 minutes from a regular Target so I rarely get to go there.
    I would much rather spend more then go to Wal-Mart. Using my 5% Target card usually makes up the cost difference anyway.
    Hopefully they will upgrade this Target soon.

  9. NorthAlabama says:

    i’m very lucky. my home has a target less than a mile away, and a wal-mart right across the street from the target. i’ve known a while that target keeps an eye on their competition, and is a good deal on most items, and has great promotions, too.

  10. Sarek says:

    That’s a surprise. Around here, Wal-Mart’s food is low. Target’s is high.

  11. SilentAgenger says:

    It’s okay, Walmart…you’ll always lead in one category: Most instances where a package of sliced deli meat will be placed in some random non-refrigerated section of the store.

    (I’m amazed at how often I see this in Walmart).

    • sendmoney2me says:

      you not only see for it…you pay for it too. we get about 10 cartloads of stuff off the shelves every day that people dump where it doesn’t belong and all stuff like you’re referring to goes right to the trash. don’t think it doesn’t happen at target as well.

      • MarkFL says:

        This happens in every store that has refrigerated food. I work inventories, so often I’m the one to find it. If I find it less often in one store than another, that usually means that the store staff is actually finding it either as they normally recover the store or during inventory prep. If I do find it, it means they do lousy recovery — or it was left there very recently.

  12. paulw says:

    Of course having a “discount card” (aka Red Card) at Target reduces some of those costs more (5% plus 5% to my daughters school allegedly – not sure how to check that mind!). So for what I do get at Target (almost everything except fresh food) even if its slightly more expensive on the shelf I come out ahead. The one or two things Ive checked at Target vs Walmart in the last year or so have all been cheaper **and** come in slightly larger net weight boxes.

    Ive also been lead to believe that Walmart has “special” versions of items from e.g. rubbermaid that, while costing less, are of lower quality but it was a while back I saw that story so…

  13. Smiling says:

    Target’s prices in my area have gotten pretty ridiculous for quite a few items. I have a local Texas based gourmet grocery I go to that sells pretty much everything I buy for less.

    • sendmoney2me says:

      walmart is usually cheaper on grocery staples..they make money on other items that you buy while you’re there. the great value brand when you can..while it may not be exactly the same as the name brand it’s being made by them example is great value apple juice…it comes in boxes that say KRAFT on the side of them. sometimes the great value brand is even better than the name brand but on’s much your mileage may vary…but at least give it a try

  14. scarhill says:

    No amount of savings would cause me to set foot in a Walmart.

  15. fleef says:

    Walmart in my city has been higher priced on the products I buy on a regular basis. Cat food, soups, kitty litter, foods are much higher. Their quality leaves much to be desired. The last time I decided to ever shop there 3 out of 7 oranges in a bag were moldy and rotten. I challenge readers to price their regular purchases and compare to other groceries. Winco Foods wins price and quality hands down here in Phoenix AZ. Walmart has higher prices, and every time I USED to go there had the strangest clientelle I have ever seen in my life anywhere. They looked like they were extras in a zombie movie and just got out of prison at the same time. So, higher prices AND weird people isn’t worth having a store open 24/7 for me.