In this file:


·         Amazon, Walmart Ready for Battle in Holiday ‘Price Wars’

·         Walmart reports shortages of toilet paper and cleaning supplies at some stores



Amazon, Walmart Ready for Battle in Holiday ‘Price Wars’

New study from Profitero reveals the retailers who offer the most for less


By Jennifer Strailey, Winsight Grocery Business

Nov. 17, 2020


In a blunt message to retailers: “Don’t try to beat Amazon and Walmart at the price game. You don’t have the weapons,” e-commerce performance analytics platform Profitero said in its newly released study.


Why? Amazon can subsidize low prices with its other businesses, such as advertising, which grew 51% in the third quarter, according to Profitero. Meanwhile, the ubiquitous Walmart, with its more than 4,500 U.S. stores, has more than a few bargaining chips with which to secure competitive pricing from its vendors.


But as many Americans face pandemic-related economic uncertainty, the stakes for price competition heading into the 2020 holiday season are high, said Profitero, which points to recent McKinsey research that found 48% of consumers will choose a holiday retailer based on price and promotions this year.


Now in its fourth year, Profitero’s comprehensive Price Wars series compares item-level price competition across the U.S. online retail landscape. The study analyzes everyday prices on 18,400 best-selling items in 21 categories across 14 leading online retailers, including Amazon,, and specialists, such as Chewy, Wayfair and Best Buy.


In the study’s price comparisons, categories most relevant to grocers included food and beverage, pet, vitamins and supplements, health and personal care, and beauty. Only identical items available and in-stock in the same pack configuration were compared. Data was collected daily over eight weeks (Aug. 24 to Oct. 18), with daily prices averaged over the full period for comparison.


With Santa’s sleigh disguised as Amazon trucks, Mercedes-Benz Sprinter vans and U-Hauls this holiday season, Amazon is the e-commerce low-price leader, beating other major retailers on price by 15%, on average. The study found Amazon was the most competitively priced retailer in 18 out of 21 major consumer product categories, tying for the lowest online prices for beauty items and for pet items.


But don’t count Walmart out. “Amazon faces stiff competition from, which seconded Amazon in 15 of the 21 categories studied and was found to be only 4% more expensive than Amazon, on average.” The study further finds that Walmart is now matching prices with Amazon on beauty items, a notable change from last year, when Walmart was 8% more expensive than Amazon in the category.


And when it comes to online food and beverage prices, while Amazon is again the low-price leader, Walmart (2% more expensive) and Kroger (4% more expensive) are not far behind. According to Profitero’s research, among what it calls the “Big Three” U.S. retailers (Amazon, Walmart and Target), Target is the least competitively priced at 20% more expensive than Amazon on food and beverage items, a jump up from last year’s Price Wars study when Target was 12% more expensive than Amazon...


more, including link to study



Walmart reports shortages of toilet paper and cleaning supplies at some stores


By Nathaniel Meyersohn, CNN Business

Nov 17, 2020


New York (CNN Business)Shoppers are once again loading up on paper goods and cleaning supplies in areas of the United States hard hit by rising coronavirus infections, leading to empty shelves at some Walmart stores.


Officials at Walmart (WMT), the largest retailer in the country, said Tuesday that supply chains have not kept up with rising demand, and these goods have been harder to stock consistently in locations with sharp spikes in new virus cases. The United States has recorded more than 100,000 daily infections for two weeks straight, and on Monday reported more than 166,000 new cases.


"We do see big differences, depending on the communities that you're in," Walmart US CEO John Furner said on a call with analysts Tuesday after Walmart reported its quarterly earnings. "The specific categories where we have the most strain at the present time would be bath tissue and cleaning supplies."


Walmart CEO Doug McMillon called it "disappointing" to see "as many out-of-stocks as we have in consumables right now generally," although he said the situation had improved since the spring. He stressed that Walmart was better prepared to handle the demand than it was earlier in the year.


"It feels to me like we'll work through this period of time better than we did in the first wave," McMillon said.


Walmart has not implemented a storewide policy on purchase limits for customers. But store managers have the authority to "implement item limits based on their specific store experience to help sustain product availability," said Delia Garcia, spokesperson for Walmart, in an email.


The retailer also recently resumed counting the number of customers inside its stores as a safety precaution.

Several other leading grocery chains have reimposed limits...