Does Walmart Really Have the Lowest Prices?

Walmart often guarantees its low prices and consumers often flock to Walmart in search of deals and low prices, but are their prices really the lowest?

I can tell you from personal experience the answer is “no”.

Years ago I use to own my own pet supply store.  I sold pet food, treats, supplies, and so forth.  While many of the pet foods I sold would never position themselves in a store such as Walmart, the other product suppliers freely marketed to Walmart.

Walmart has a marketing strategy of having “loss leaders“, products they advertise at very low costs, even below their cost to purchase, to bring customers to the store.  And it works.  Customers come because they want that deal, but they end up buying other things too, including some things that are priced higher than they can be found elsewhere.

Now as I mentioned I use to have my own pet supply store.  I would occasionally go to Walmart and do price comparisons.  I noted that for many items my prices were actually lower than Walmart’s!

Here is why…

First of all my store was an independent store, not a chain or franchise.  I had no “head office” to pay large sums of money to, no franchise fees, and so on, so I could keep costs low.

Walmart offers a guarantee to meet or beat any advertised flyer price from another store.  My store was small and did not have flyers, as such Walmart would never have to meet or beat my prices.  By offering this deal Walmart assumes shoppers will feel confident and many do not even do the flyer comparisons do check for lower prices elsewhere.  Even if they do, Walmart might pay them a dollar or two difference but still would make more money assuming the customer bought other things too!

Money, photo by my husband ©

Money, photo by my husband ©

Note too…

A lot of people assume that Walmart gets reduced prices from wholesalers because they can buy in bulk, however not all companies offer reductions in price for bulk purchases.

Walmart has been said to lean on companies that want to to business with them, basically telling the company they will only pay a certain amount for the product, so some companies are said to “dumb down” products they sell to Walmart, lowering the quality because they have to cut costs to meet Walmart’s demands for lower prices.


I am simply suggesting that before you shop at Walmart (or any chain store) you also look around at small local independent shops (and farmer’s markets) to see if you can find the same, or similar, items for a lower price.  If you find similar items for higher prices, consider that perhaps there is a quality difference.