Walmart, known for rolling back prices, now is rolling back price matching.
The world's largest retailer discontinued its price-matching policy at its Colorado Springs-area stores effective June 12, Charles Crowson, a spokesman for the Bentonville, Ark.-based Walmart, confirmed via email. Price matching also has been discontinued in select Walmarts around the state, he said.
For years, Walmart guaranteed it would match lower advertised prices from competitors on identical items. Many Walmart shoppers would bring in ads from groceries and other stores, seeking to do all their shopping under one roof while angling to get the lowest prices possible, whether from the retailer or its competitors.
But price matching began being phased out last year, Crowson said. He declined to say if the policy is being eliminated nationwide, citing competitive reasons.
News reports, however, have said the phaseout began in 500 of Walmart's 5,000 stores in May 2016; the retailer added 300 stores a few months later. A Minneapolis newspaper reported last week that price matching was dropped in Minnesota in early June.
Walmart has 10 Supercenters in Colorado Springs, Fountain, Monument, Woodland Park and the Falcon area in unincorporated El Paso County. Price matching has been discontinued at all those stores, in addition to Walmart's four smaller Neighborhood Markets in the Springs, Crowson said.
Walmart believes it's already working to lower its already-low prices, he said.
"In select markets, we're working hard to lower prices even further on the national and private-label brands our customers trust and want," he said. "Because we are delivering these lower prices up front, we will no longer offer ad match in those select stores only."
Walmart customers will see signs at registers that explain price matching no longer is available, Crowson said. Shoppers with questions can speak with a store's customer service representative, he added.
"Customers shop Walmart for value, and they want us to have low prices right on the shelf," Crowson said when asked if Walmart worries that it will alienate customers by dropping price matching. "If a customer finds a lower price on a matching item at another retailer, we encourage them to tell their local store manager."
Although Walmart has dropped price matching at stores, the retailer's "savings catcher" feature on its mobile app and its website continues to offer a similar function.
Savings catcher allows customers to scan their Walmart receipt's bar code; the app then searches nearby stores to compare prices on items listed on the receipt. If savings catcher finds an identical item advertised at a lower price by a competitor, Walmart will refund the difference.
Also, the retailer's website will continue to match prices for select competitors, Crowson said.
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