Time to roll back prices: Target cheaper than Walmart

Target (Large)

For the first time in four years, it appears that Target is beating Walmart on pricing, according to this article.

In my experience, I have frequently compared Target to other online retailers, including Amazon.com, and found it to be one of the priciest. But research has shown that Target is becoming more aggressive in its grocery pricing.

More from the story:

Craig Johnson, president of retail consulting firm Customer Growth Partners, compared 35 brand-name items sold at Wal-Mart and Target stores in New York, Indiana and North Carolina. They consisted of 22 common grocery goods such as milk, cereal and rice; 10 general merchandise products such as clothing and home furnishings; and three health and beauty items.

Target’s shopping cart rang in at $269.13 (pre-tax), a hair lower than the $271.07 charged at Wal-Mart.

“For the first time in four years, our price comparisons between the two has shown that Target has a slight edge over Wal-Mart,” said Johnson. A smaller study by Kantar Retail found similar results.

Does it surprise you that Target’s prices are competitive with Walmart? Which megastore have you found cheaper for your shopping needs?

– By Lauren Davidson, Atlanta Bargain Hunter

See a great deal I should know about? Email me at ldavidson@ajc.com. You can also follow me on Facebook or on Twitter @atlbargains.

160 comments Add your comment

mike

March 30th, 2011
6:20 am

I still don’t believe they are cheaper over all. This was probably a company hired by Target and they chose very specific items that they knew were comparable to Walmart. There is no way that, overall, Target is cheaper than Walmart.

stinger2

March 30th, 2011
6:25 am

Not a good comparison especially on grocery items. Target does not offer a full grocery department like Wal-Mart.
Wal-Mart competes with grocery stores. Also, I believe that Wal-Mart is overall cheaper across the board.

Destin Dawg

March 30th, 2011
6:29 am

Wal mart will match any body’s prices and still take coupons… Wally’s store brands are GOOD for the most part.. diet colas.. chips.. yogurts.. cereal.. soups.. etc.

Will the last Democrat in Georgia please turn off the lights.....

March 30th, 2011
6:29 am

Not surprising that Target may come in a hair cheaper than Wal-Mart especially since Target is chasing the same price/conscious crowd that Wal-Mart basically monopolizes. I do actually kind of like Target stores a little more than Wal-Mart stores, but since I keep weird hours and am most likely to be out grocery shopping during darkness hours and Wal-Mart has many times the locations that Target has, it’s often alot more convenient for me to shop at Wal-Mart than it is for me to shop at Target even though I like it more.

Will the last Democrat in Georgia please turn off the lights.....

March 30th, 2011
6:34 am

Keep in mind that this price advantage is for the first time in four years according to the survey, which means that Target has been just recently lowering some of their prices in an effort to try and capture some of the cost-conscious consumers who regularly shop at Wal-Mart.

Laschea

March 30th, 2011
6:34 am

Since when???

lin

March 30th, 2011
6:35 am

target against walmart – well i rather shop walmart never did care for target. none here where i live have drive to another city to find one. walmart is up grade a new store here that about to open couple weeks. i have seen some their groc stores of target and that was in other states. still prices were higher then. i believe overhaul walmart has more to offer.

mowreck

March 30th, 2011
6:55 am

The Dollar Tree?

RL

March 30th, 2011
6:57 am

I used to shop WalMart for groceries almost exclusively and they were the best buy. They have changed their strategy and their prices are now much higher and then you have to wait in line for 20-25 minutes to check out. They no longer are the best value and as a result my shopping there has dropped about 65%.

jim

March 30th, 2011
6:57 am

Target is 20% higher than wally world and i don’t have stock in either one.

john

March 30th, 2011
6:59 am

This is like the comparison between Kroger(Walmart) and Publix(Target). Kroger is cheaper overall but Publix stores and customer service is much better. I don’t really care what the comparison showed. They could simply buy items that happened to be on sale at Target, and not on sale at Walmart, at the time of the study. It is to easy to steer the results in what ever direction you want with these types of comparisons. Anyone who has shopped at both fairly regularly knows Walmart is cheaper overall. The same goes for Kroger and Publix.

Tricia

March 30th, 2011
6:59 am

I used to be a dedicated Walmart shopper. I do shop more at Target now. There are still bargains at Walmart, but I can get some really good deals on items at Target especially once they start marking items down. I try to buy seasonal items at Target when they mark them down (especially school supplies).

madmommy

March 30th, 2011
7:02 am

I generally refuse to shop at Walmart because of business practices and have for years. That being said, most people I know shop there.I have no idea who is more or less since Target is CLEAN, easy shop and you won’t wait in line forever. Time is also money, so I wonder if many people think about it while shopping.

BTW, there are plenty of Super Targets which sell food with great prices and they also accept coupons. Where you people come up with this stuff amazes me.

Name (required)

March 30th, 2011
7:04 am

WalMarts are dirtier than Targets typically. Poorly laid out and their employees are some of the most unhelpful sad sacks who look like they couldn’t care less about their job. Not that Target is the greatest, but it is certainly a much more pleasant shopping experience. The clientele at WalMart is usually an interesting study in sociology as well. And really, we’re only talking a few pennies here….maybe a couple bucks a year. If that makes or breaks you, you have bigger problems than deciding where to shop.

P.S. Hey WalMart….what the hell is that SMELL?!?!?!?

mikey D

March 30th, 2011
7:05 am

forget the price, Wal – Mart is slowing killing America. They buy all their crap from china, pay americans much lower wages than competitors, and all of this results in crappy people selling crappy trinkets in a big box with crappy customers!

vcatron

March 30th, 2011
7:10 am

Stinger2 Super Targets do have a full grocery store.

All big box stores use loss leaders to get you in the store. Walmart is the worst, they imply on their ads “Low Prices” and the leming public thinks it is on everything NOT. You have to price compair on what you buy.

I personally avoid Walmart for several reasons 1 their Customer service is horrid, 2 usually filthy, and 3 Can never find anything easy. Target if you look like you are looking for something some one is allways there to help you find it, If checkout lines are backing up they jump in and open another line/s, and are almost allways neat and clean.

Destin Dawg

March 30th, 2011
7:12 am

Mickey D…. see the TV show ” Made In America “.. look around YOUR home….Cars… all appliances … TV’s, Frigs, furniture, clothes, tools, EVERY THING is imported… thank the US… LABOR UNIONS

Ben

March 30th, 2011
7:15 am

Target has on average two cashiers which means you have to wait in line for 15 minutes or more to checkout. Quite frankly that not worth saving 2 or 3 bucks. I’ll keep going to walmart!

Old School

March 30th, 2011
7:23 am

The Walmart in our town is awful. I didn’t mind shopping there before the newer, larger one was built. Ever seen a supercenter with only one entrance and exit? It’s like walking into a prison. Instead of installing light colored tile or at least polishing the concrete floor, the dull dark gray is instantly depressing. Customer service was evidently left at the old building as you are hard pressed to get anyone to help you IF you can even FIND an “associate” (emphasis on the first 3 letters as that’s how most of them act towards customers.) Birds fly among the ceiling beams, signage is confusing and hard to read from practically every point in the store, It is not a comfortable, welcoming experience.
At the present they are “remodeling” the store which means even more confusion. The staff is moving stuff around making locating what you want nearly impossible and no one even makes eye contact much less offers to help.

I happily make the 45 mile round trip to neighboring towns to shop at Target or Walmarts that offer a cheerful atmosphere and helpful employees. I don’t even mind paying more for that experience.

Electric

March 30th, 2011
7:29 am

I have to admit that I tend to shop Walmart more often out of laziness and/or convenience because one of the stores is closer to me than a SuperTarget. However, it’s worth more to me to have a better overall shopping experience than to merely save a few bucks. So, I’ve committed to making a change. I have consistently received horrible customer service at Walmart. It’s as if management couldn’t care less if people shop there. Like there’s always someone else who’ll replace me and won’t complain about the rotten service. By large, Target stores are cleaner, better organized, and have better-trained and more helpful associates. I’ve actually had Target associates approach me offering help if I appeared to be searching for something. I’ve never had that happen at Walmart. There are some items I’ve bought at Target that have been less expensive than at Walmart, but that’s no longer a dealbreaker with me if we’re not talking about significant savings. I value a good shopping experience.

Targert Shopper

March 30th, 2011
7:29 am

I will drive pass 3 Walmarts to shop at a Target. There staff are useless, the merchandise is junk and lets not even get into how horrible of a company they are to do business with. Walmart will screw you and it’s employees in a second. I know Walmart not getting my money wont make a difference to them, but it sure does to me.

Destin Dawg

March 30th, 2011
7:29 am

Piggly Wiggly any one ???

JONESROD

March 30th, 2011
7:32 am

Target has a lot better looking wimen almost went blind in a Wal Mart one time from a full moon “But” the price at WalMart is always better.

Destin Dawg

March 30th, 2011
7:35 am

in Destin we have Spring Break… HOT girls in Bikinis buying beer and chips… at Wall Mart not Target… great shopping experience !!!! they do employ alot of people who could not get other jobs… at least they’re not on unemployment !!

Jscott

March 30th, 2011
7:36 am

In my experience, Walmart has a lesser quality item and is dirty, with minimal customer service. On the plus side they are open when everything else is closed and do sem to have a wider variety of merchandise. I prefer Target but do shop at Walmart on occasion.

Reality Check

March 30th, 2011
7:37 am

Target does not carry a full lone of groceries. Target barely carries more than the corner gas/convenience store when it comes to groceries. If they carried a full line of groceries I’d gladly shop there. Target is cleaner and has wider aisles than Walmart but get real Target is NOT a grocery store. Cheaper on the few things they do carry does not mean much and they do not carry very many items in stock their shelves are usually empty!

Andy

March 30th, 2011
7:37 am

Who cares which one is cheaper? Wal-Mart is disgusting. I feel dirty just walking in one. Target is quiet, clean, and often has a Strbucks in it. I’d gladly pay a little more to not feel like I’m in a third world country while shopping.

mikey D

March 30th, 2011
7:45 am

Destin Dawg: for the most part, your right, but we are still the worlds leading country when it comes to manufacturing… mostly in the medical, industrial, technical fields. Anyway, i agree with all those that refuse to shop at businesses that places more emphasis on pricing than customer service. I’m a huge fan of customer service… therefore, shopping at wal mart would be next to impossible for me.

GOAL Digger

March 30th, 2011
7:46 am

“I still don’t believe they are cheaper over all. This was probably a company hired by Target and they chose very specific items that they knew were comparable to Walmart. There is no way that, overall, Target is cheaper than Walmart.”

My thoughts exactly

Nativeson71

March 30th, 2011
7:46 am

Walmart and Target are competitors to each other just like Home Depot and Lowes. Ther ‘perception’ that Wal-mart is for blacks & mexicans and Target is for whites is obvious when you shop their stores. Another way to express that is Wal-mart is for the working poor and Target is for the trendy & educated (it’s cool yet cheap). (IKEA has a simlar image)
At the end of the day the both sell cheap clothes, soup and lipstick…it is up to the consumer to pay the least…including the cost of fuel to get to the store. It may be cheaper to go to PUBLIX (the Nordstrom of Grocery store pricing) cause it is closer than driving 3 miles to a Wal-Mart.

Someone shead some light why PUBLIX is so blessed expensive? Do they need to re-negoiate their contracts with their vendors? $3.65 for a package of no-name butter, $1.99 for no-name coffee creamer…the list goes on.

GOAL Digger

March 30th, 2011
7:48 am

I have never had an issue with customer service at Wally. *knocks on wood* In fact, some of my worst encounters with customer service/returns have been at Tarjay

GOAL Digger

March 30th, 2011
7:50 am

I love Publix. Deli and produce are second to none. Like Target, some items are cheaper than at Wally. SOME. And when they have their BOGO deals you can really make out good since they don’t require you to get both to at least get half off (or force you to buy 10 to get the deal *cough* KROGER *cough*

LC

March 30th, 2011
7:52 am

Walmart has gone down hill allot in the last ten years. Nothing but Chinese junk anymore. I suppose Target is the same.

Destin Dawg

March 30th, 2011
7:54 am

Publix is a better shopping experience… but prices are too high for same can of soup, box of cereal ?? Wall mart store brands taste better to me !!

hdhd

March 30th, 2011
7:59 am

I try to always shop at Target. The shopping experience at Target is always SO much better than Wal-Mart. That is worth the slightly higher prices that I had always perceived.

Sandy

March 30th, 2011
8:00 am

Wal-Mart Pharmacy beats Target on insulin and syringes – the difference is 50%. Have not found a Wal-Mart brand that did not equal the namebrand – Swifter or Glad or clothing

Straight Talk

March 30th, 2011
8:01 am

We shop often at both WalMart and Target. Target stores are always cleaner, brighter and more customer friendly. WalMart has traditionally seemed to have lower prices along with mediocre to poor service. Then several years ago we started doing price comparisons and discovered that Target’s prices were quite competitive to WalMart’s and occasionally were lower. In the last year WalMart’s prices have crept up to the point that they have become less competitive from our experience. Target = better value because of competitive prices and more pleasant experience.

Jim Cox

March 30th, 2011
8:06 am

Bottom line is that the quality and cleanliness is so much higher at Target. At least in my community, walking into Walmart is like walking into a third-world country…

Thurston Howell, the Third

March 30th, 2011
8:07 am

Lovie and I tend to find the prices at Nordstrom a tad lower than at Nieman Marcus but the aisles at Nieman tend to be a little wider and the stores are cleaner.

dorae

March 30th, 2011
8:11 am

I rarely find what I need at targets. They generally have a nice looking store but for whatever reasons they don’t stock the items I’m looking for at those types of store. Having said that I find both stores higher on a lot of grocery prices. I shop kroger for my overall shopping. Like Publix for service but kroger provides the variety I’m looking for.

Black and White Smiley Faces ☺☻

March 30th, 2011
8:17 am

What good is it for me to go to Target when they hardly having anything in stock, anyway?

Wal-Mart is VERY inconsistent between stores as far as what is stocked is concerned, but at least I have a better chance of finding it.

It’s not cheaper to go to Target if I have to burn another $3.25 in gas running around to other stores to find what I need! ^_^

mikey D

March 30th, 2011
8:20 am

Publix and Kroger are extremely expensive compared to the Asian Markets in the atlanta area, such as H-mart and Assi. Both places have fruits, vegetables, meats and seafood at much cheaper prices and superior freshness. If you buy a lot of processed foods, the asian markets are not for you.

GOAL Digger

March 30th, 2011
8:25 am

I guess I’m the lucky one. Both Walmarts and the Target in my area are well kept.

GOAL Digger

March 30th, 2011
8:26 am

Good point mikey D. I don’t think a lot of people realize this, though.

GOAL Digger

March 30th, 2011
8:27 am

I take that back; they probably do realize this but refuse to shop at these places because they’re not “american” enough

Patsy

March 30th, 2011
8:29 am

JONESROD, you are illiterate. Ever heard of spell check? Can you explain the reason for the quotation marks? You don’t have a clue, do you?

PB

March 30th, 2011
8:32 am

I would much rather shop at Target than Wal-Mart any day of the week. Only problem is I don’t have a Super Target in my town. I am just amazed at the employees of Wal-Mart, some of them look like they just got out of jail. Target is just a cleaner store and my preference is to shop there and if I can’t find it there I will go to Wal-mart (that is for anything other than groceries. I won’t buy my meats at Wal-Mart, I usually go to Publix, Ingles or Kroger for them.

mikey D

March 30th, 2011
8:33 am

Goal Digger: well, the customers there are from all over and i guess the different cultures clashing can scare away people with xenophobia. Obviously, your not one of these.

Jason

March 30th, 2011
8:35 am

If you are serious about coupon use, you can get much better deals at Kroger and Publix than even Walmart. The trick is to understand how you can stack Store and Manufacturer coupons on top of BOGO and other deals. All it takes is a little bit of clipping coupons and planning ahead. My wife does this by shopping at Kroger, Publix, CVS, and Walgreens and is able to keep our grocery bills around $50 per week, and we have more stuff than we ever did before. There are great websites that will match the coupons to the deals for you, so all you have to do is get the coupons and go to the right store. For instance, check out http://www.time2saveworkshops.com/

Chris

March 30th, 2011
8:36 am

At least Target doesn’t have that incessant beeping noise that no one at Walmart ever cares to figure out what it is. Ten minutes in the store and I want to leave.