business news in context, analysis with attitude

Yesterday we took note of a MarketWatch report on a new JP Morgan survey saying that Walmart raised its food prices during the past quarter more than  any of its major competitors - 5.5 percent, compared to 4.6 percent at Target, 4.4 percent at Kroger, 2.9 percent at Albertsons, and 0.5 percent at Sprouts."

MNB reader Dan Jones responded:

Math geek moment:  Walmart original lower prices have a smaller denominator (lower starting price, so an identical price increase will result in a larger % increase at Walmart).  Here is a scenario for a $0.10 price increase at both Walmart and Retailer A.  Walmart $0.97 to $1.07 is a 10.3% price increase.  Retailer A $1.19 to $1.29 is an 8.4% increase.  Not sure this is a brag-able moment for anybody.

Another MNB wrote:

  1. A quarterly increase percentage is not a fair comparison.  

2. Whenever % are given, we need to be cautious before jumping to conclusions.

3. Measuring one quarter may not be accurate because Walmart may have not raised prices as quickly as other retailers.  

Comparing actual shelf prices is what really matters to consumers!

From another MNB reader:

Because of my long history (early adopter) of using their app for shopping, I’ve gone back through my purchase history and have witnessed staggering (+30%) price increases on center-store staples. Needless to say, I’ve visited Aldi more and more as of late.

And, from still another reader, a different perspective:

The one retailer here on the west coast that has done the best job of keeping their retail pricing in line versus any of their competitors is Winco. They really pay attention to what their customer perceives as a good price and value versus their main competition, Walmart, Kroger, Albertsons, Safeway, etc. I do not believe that Winco has been as greedy with their retail pricing as the aforementioned retailers.

We also got an email reacting to Starbucks' new "Every Table Has A Story" ad campaign in the UK:

While on vacation in Seattle earlier this month, we were delighted to visit and experience a Starbucks Reserve Roastery.  It is a wonderful place to spend time, relax, and socialize.  The atmosphere and social interaction inspired by the full store environment are real-time branding.  The experience is completely different than most of their neighborhood stores.  And, by the way, the coffee tastes great…nothing like the burnt tasting stuff they sell at their local stores.