All quiet on the pricing front as inflation moderates

There were no new surprises during November regarding prices at Walmart, but then that is to be expected. The everyday low price strategy to which Walmart has a newfound adherence is boring and that’s the way the company and presumably its customers like it.

According to the monthly price comparison conducted by Credit Suisse, Walmart’s prices on a basket of goods in the Chicago and Dallas markets were essentially flat with the prior month, but 6.4% higher than the same month the prior year. The increase is due to inflation, which all retailers have been passing through to varying degrees, and the firm noted that inflation appears to be moderating somewhat. Credit Suisse also noted that Walmart’s price gap relative to the universe of competitors it studies narrowed somewhat during November to 16.3% from 16.9% the prior month.

“While Walmart is looking to maintain its price leadership into 2012, its price gap versus other retailers narrowed in November, possibly indicating that they are not as aggressively focused on achieving this goal as management had previously suggested,” according to the Credit Suisse monthly price report.

As in prior months, Target’s prices were closest to Walmart’s with a gap of only 2.7%. 

“While year over year inflation remains in the mid-single digits, pricing is beginning to stabilize on a sequential basis,” according to the firm. “Most retailers kept pricing flat compared to last month, although Safeway, CVS and Albertson’s actually lowered prices sequentially. We expect that inflation will continue to moderate in the first half of 2012.”

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