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Has the Price King Been Deposed?

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New research reveals that Walmart shoppers are finding lower prices elsewhere.

The WSL/Strategic Retail How America Shops study, which surveyed nearly 1,500 Walmart shoppers, finds that consumers’ value perception has dramatically changed. In fact, it reports that an overwhelming 86 percent of Walmart shoppers no longer believe that the world’s largest retailer has the lowest prices. Respondents say they are finding better shopping elsewhere, including dollar stores, supermarkets and other mass merchants.

“Our report suggests that Walmart needs to better address the demands of its shopper today in order to regain relevance,” says Wendy Liebmann, CEO of WSL/Strategic Retail.

This appears to dovetail with a recent article that theorized that “cash-strapped consumers are finding even dollar stores a bit too expensive.” That story noted that while Family Dollar, Dollar General and Dollar Tree all posted profits in the first quarter, two of the three recently missed earnings target.

According to the Slate article, “Companies’ investor notes report that customers are buying fewer discretionary items like hand lotion and decorative goods, and more consumables and household items.”

Dollar Tree CEO Rick Dreiling recently told The Wall Street Journal that “We have 228 items that are priced at $1 … that we elected not to take prices increases on. This sounds almost silly, but a $1 item going to $1.15 … is a major change for our customer.”