Wal-Mart Pricing Report: Round XXI

Walmart Price Comparison

Despite One Wal-Mart Supercenter In The Neighborhood, New Jersey And Long Island Retailers Stay The Course

Wal-Mart is used to pushing independents around. New York Metro may have a lesson to teach the behemoth from Bentonville.

With the first annual edition of The New York Produce Show And Conference coming around the bend, we bring the 21st rendition of the Produce Business Wal-Mart Pricing Report to the Big Apple. Well, not exactly. High rents and small footprints make most of Manhattan unsuitable for a supercenter, and union agitation has kept Wal-Mart out of the outer boroughs.

So we did the next best thing and moved to New Jersey. As with our last iteration of the Produce Business Wal-Mart Pricing Report, which focused on Philadelphia, Wal-Mart is not a major player in New Jersey. In the whole state, it only has five supercenters and most are in the southern half of the state.

In Northern New Jersey, there is only one supercenter—in North Bergen. AlthoughWal-Mart still can impact local marketing, the concentration is low enough that many chains will either react locally — just lowering prices in the store nearby the Wal-Mart Supercenter — or they may ignore the supercenter altogether, simply closing up or not opening stores in that immediate vicinity if they can’t make a profit.

Of course, great oaks from little acorns grow, and there are long term risks to giving a competitor such as Wal-Mart a wide berth.

New Jersey Stores Put Up A Good Fight

The New Jersey stores we selected—a Food Basics, a Pathmark and a ShopRite—are all in proximity to the Wal-Mart Supercenter in North Bergen. However this time, as long as we were in the giant New York Metro market, we thought we would add a little twist. We would go to the opposite side of Manhattan, out to Long Island, where there are no Wal-Mart Supercenters.

To get from Long Island to the North Bergen Wal-Mart Supercenter requires crossing at least two bridges or tunnels. In a traffic-dense area, a Long Island family shopping regularly for food in North Jersey is unlikely to happen, except under extraordinary circumstances. So the two areas — North Jersey and Long Island — are non-competitive. Though both being part of New York Metro, both being suburban areas, they have a similar cost structure and similar clientele.

So we thought that it would be interesting to do our normal price comparison to Wal-Mart in New Jersey and then see how the prices in North Jersey compared to Long Island. Or to ask the question another way: Could we see that Wal-Mart in North Jersey was keeping pressure on North Jersey retailers to keep prices down on fresh produce by noting higher prices in Long Island where there is no Wal-Mart Supercenter?

Wal-Mart Supercenter vs 3 Chains
Price Comparison — North Bergen, NJ

October 2010 – Prices Available To The General Public
STORE NAME WALMART FOOD BASICS PATHMARK SUPERCENTER SHOP RITE
Produce Item How Priced Regular
Price*
Regular
Price*
% Over
Wal-Mart
Regular
Price*
% Over
Wal-Mart
Regular
Price*
% Over
Wal-Mart
Apples – Granny Smith Lb 1.47 1.38 -6.12% 1.79 21.77% 1.69 14.97%
Apples – Red Delicious Lb 1.37 0.98 -28.47% 1.29 -5.84% 1.49 8.76%
Apples – Fuji Lb 1.67 1.38 -17.37% 1.79 7.19% 1.69 1.20%
Asparagus Lb 2.94 3.98 35.37% 4.99 69.73% 3.99 35.71%
Avocados Each 1.28 0.88 -31.25% 0.98 -23.44% 1.50 17.19%
Bananas – Yellow Lb 0.49 0.58 18.37% 0.79 61.22% 0.39 -20.41%
Beans – Green Lb 1.68 1.28 -23.81% 1.49 -11.31% 0.99 -41.07%
Beets Bunch 2.28 1.98 -13.16% 2.99 31.14% 1.50 -34.21%
Blackberries – Package 6 oz 2.98 1.98 -33.56% 2.99 0.34% 3.99 33.89%
Blueberries – Package 6 oz 2.66 2.98 12.03% 2.99 12.41% 3.99 50.00%
Brussel Sprouts Lb 2.98 1.86 -37.58% 3.18 6.71% 4.46 49.66%
Cabbage – Green Lb 0.44 0.48 9.09% 0.69 56.82% 0.59 34.09%
Cabbage – Red Lb 0.84 0.78 -7.14% 0.69 -17.86% 0.69 -17.86%
Cantaloupe – Whole Each 1.50 1.48 -1.33% 2.00 33.33% 1.49 -0.67%
Carrots – Regular 1# Bag Bag 0.99 0.49 -50.51% 0.99 0.00% 0.99 0.00%
Carrots – Baby Lb 1.66 1.50 -9.64% 1.50 -9.64% 1.69 1.81%
Cauliflower Each 2.88 2.78 -3.47% 2.99 3.82% 2.50 -13.19%
Celery Each 1.68 0.98 -41.67% 1.99 18.45% 1.49 -11.31%
Coleslaw – 1# Bag Bag 1.38 1.78 28.99% 1.99 44.20% 1.25 -9.42%
Corn – Yellow Each 0.33 0.33 0.00% 0.80 142.42% 0.40 21.21%
Cucumbers – Regular Each 0.33 0.33 0.00% 0.75 127.27% 0.67 103.03%
Dips – Marzetti – Tub 15.5oz 3.28 3.48 6.10% 3.49 6.40% 2.99 -8.84%
Dressing – Other – Bottle 11.5oz 3.24 3.48 7.41% 3.99 23.15% 2.99 -7.72%
Eggplant Lb 1.94 0.98 -49.48% 1.49 -23.20% 1.29 -33.51%
Garlic Lb 3.38 1.88 -44.38% 2.99 -11.54% 2.99 -11.54%
Grapes – Green Seedless Lb 1.88 1.78 -5.32% 2.99 59.04% 1.99 5.85%
Grapes – Red Seedless Lb 1.88 1.78 -5.32% 2.99 59.04% 1.99 5.85%
Green Onions Bunch 1.00 0.39 -61.00% 0.79 -21.00% 0.66 -34.00%
Honeydew – Whole Each 2.98 2.98 0.00% 3.99 33.89% 3.99 33.89%
Jar Fruit 20 oz 2.98 3.48 16.78% 2.98 0.00% 3.49 17.11%
Kiwi Each 0.25 0.25 0.00% 0.50 100.00% 0.40 60.00%
Lemons – Bulk Each 0.48 0.33 -31.25% 0.33 -31.25% 0.42 -12.50%
Lettuce – Iceberg Bulk Each 1.38 0.98 -28.99% 1.99 44.20% 1.49 7.97%
Limes – Bulk Each 0.38 0.16 -57.89% 0.33 -13.16% 0.20 -47.37%
Mushrooms – White Package 8oz 1.88 1.42 -24.47% 1.20 -36.17% 1.99 5.85%
Nectarines Lb 1.48 1.98 33.78% 2.99 102.03% 1.29 -12.84%
Onions – Red Lb 1.88 1.78 -5.32% 1.49 -20.74% 1.69 -10.11%
Onions – Yellow Lb 1.78 1.48 -16.85% 1.49 -16.29% 0.99 -44.38%
Onions – Yellow – Bag 3lb 2.68 1.92 -28.36% 2.39 -10.82% 2.69 0.37%
Oranges – Navel Each 0.50 1.00 100.00% 1.00 100.00% 0.66 32.00%
Papayas Lb 1.18 0.98 -16.95% 0.99 -16.10% 1.49 26.27%
Pears – Bartlett Lb 1.35 0.98 -27.41% 0.99 -26.67% 0.99 -26.67%
Pears – Bosc Lb 1.35 1.38 2.22% 1.59 17.78% 2.49 84.44%
Peppers – Red Lb 2.89 1.48 -48.79% 2.49 -13.84% 1.99 -31.14%
Pineapple Each 2.98 2.48 -16.78% 4.99 67.45% 2.99 0.34%
Pistachios – Bag 10.5oz 2.88 3.47 20.49% 3.93 36.46% 4.49 55.90%
Plums Lb 1.48 1.38 -6.76% 1.99 34.46% 1.29 -12.84%
Potatoes – Red Bulk Lb 0.98 0.98 0.00% 1.49 52.04% 0.79 -19.39%
Potatoes – Russet Bag 5# Bag 2.47 2.98 20.65% 3.99 61.54% 2.99 21.05%
Potatoes – Russet Bulk Lb 0.88 0.78 -11.36% 0.88 0.00% 0.99 12.50%
Potatoes – White Bulk – Bag 5 Lb 2.97 0.98 -67.00% 1.49 -49.83% 2.50 -15.82%
Salad – Caesar – Bag 1.5 oz 3.28 4.51 37.50% 6.03 83.84% 5.73 74.70%
Salad – Garden – Bag 6oz 2.88 0.64 -77.78% 1.02 -64.58% 3.29 14.24%
Salad – Spring – Bag 5oz 2.88 2.98 3.47% 3.79 31.60% 3.29 14.24%
Salad – Organic 5oz 2.88 2.26 -21.53% 2.72 -5.56% 3.49 21.18%
Spinach – Bag 10oz 1.98 1.98 0.00% 1.99 0.51% 1.99 0.51%
Squash – Zucchini Lb 1.58 0.98 -37.97% 1.49 -5.70% 1.29 -18.35%
Tomatoes – On the Vine Lb 1.88 1.58 -15.96% 2.49 32.45% 1.99 5.85%
Tomatoes – Plum/Roma Lb 1.38 0.98 -28.99% 1.49 7.97% 1.49 7.97%
Tomatoes – Regular Large 10 oz 1.00 1.48 48.00% 1.24 24.00% 2.99 199.00%
Watermelon – Seedless Each 4.48 4.98 11.16% 5.99 33.71% 3.99 -10.94%
MARKET BASKET 114.71 101.96 -11.11% 132.14 15.19% 124.18 8.26%
Red is adjusted price

In New Jersey, we compared the Wal-Mart Supercenter against one of A&P’s Food Basics banner stores; against Pathmark, traditionally seen as highly promotional in pricing (now owned by A&P as well); and a Shop Rite store, the uber-powerful independent supplied byWakefern.

Wal-Mart has almost always won the Produce Business Wal-Mart Pricing Report. Among traditional supermarkets, Fiesta Mart in Texas eeked out a 0.3 percent victory in Houston, and there was a fluke in Dallas, when, at a time when Wal-Mart was enforcing uniform pricing on its Supercenter and Neighborhood Market concepts, a Dallas Wal-Mart’s low price image is that the supercenter is consistently beaten by deep discounters. In St. Louis, Supervalu’s Save-a-lot concept beat out Wal-Mart by 12.76 percent, and Aldi trouncedWal-Mart by 25.03 percent. The last time we encountered A&P’s Food Basics concept was when A&P still had its operation in Detroit, and Food Basics beat out Wal-Mart by 17 percent.

Well, as Yogi Berra, once a player for the Minor League Newark Bears, is quoted as saying, “It’s déjà vu all over again,” as Food Basics again beats out Wal-Mart with an 11.11 percent edge.

Since Pathmark was acquired by A&P, one of the open questions was whether it would maintain Pathmark’s reputation for opportunistic buying andmerchandising

ShopRite also lived up to its reputation as a hyper-competitive organization, coming in at just 8.26 percent over Wal-Mart. With its Price Plus loyalty card applied to eight items in its comparative market basket, ShopRite comes down to 7.38 percent above Wal-Mart.

In general, consumers tolerate price differentials of less than 10 percent. Differences in location, convenience, service, and product often justify those differentials.With only one Wal-Mart Supercenter in the area, it won’t matter — for now — but differentials up at the 20 percent area open big windows of opportunity for Wal-Mart.

Wal-Mart Supercenter vs 5 Chains
Price Comparison — Long Island, NY

October 2010 – Prices Available To The General Public
STORE NAME WALMART FOODTOWN KEY FOOD
Produce Item How
Priced
Regular
Price*
Regular
Price*
% Over
Wal-Mart
Regula
Price*
% Over
Wal-Mart
Apples – Granny Smith Lb 1.47 1.69 14.97% 1.59 8.16%
Apples – Red Delicious Lb 1.37 1.99 45.26% 1.59 16.06%
Apples – Fuji Lb 1.67 1.99 19.16% 1.79 7.19%
Asparagus Lb 2.94 3.99 35.71% 3.99 35.71%
Avocados Each 1.28 1.50 17.19% 1.99 55.47%
Bananas – Yellow Lb 0.49 0.79 61.22% 0.79 61.22%
Beans – Green Lb 1.68 2.99 77.98% 1.79 6.55%
Broccoli Crowns Lb 1.78 1.99 11.80% 0.98 -44.94%
Brussel Sprouts Lb 2.98 2.99 0.34% 1.99 -33.22%
Cabbage – Green Lb 0.44 0.59 34.09% 0.49 11.36%
Cantaloupe – Whole Each 1.50 3.49 132.67% 2.99 99.33%
Carrots – Regular 1# Bag Bag 0.99 0.89 -10.10% 0.89 -10.10%
Carrots – Organic Lb 0.99 0.99 0.00% 0.99 0.00%
Carrots – Baby Lb 1.66 1.50 -9.64% 1.50 -9.64%
Cauliflower Each 2.88 2.99 3.82% 2.00 -30.56%
Celery Each 1.68 1.89 12.50% 1.99 18.45%
Coleslaw – 1# Bag Bag 1.38 4.33 213.77% 3.69 167.39%
Cucumbers – Regular Each 0.33 0.67 103.03% 0.50 51.52%
Dips – Marzetti – Tub 15.5oz 3.28 3.99 21.65% 3.99 21.65%
Dressing – Other – Bottle 11.5oz 3.24 3.99 23.15% 3.99 23.15%
Eggplant Lb 1.94 1.49 -23.20% 1.29 -33.51%
Garlic Lb 3.38 3.99 18.05% 3.99 18.05%
Grapes – Green Seedless Lb 1.88 2.49 32.45% 2.99 59.04%
Grapes – Red Seedless Lb 1.88 2.49 32.45% 2.99 59.04%
Green Onions Bunch 1.00 0.67 -33.00% 0.69 -31.00%
Honeydew – Whole Each 2.98 4.99 67.45% 3.99 33.89%
Jar Fruit 20 oz Jar 2.98 4.99 67.45% 4.99 67.45%
Kiwi Each 0.25 0.40 60.00% 0.50 100.00%
Lemons – Bulk Each 0.48 0.50 4.17% 0.50 4.17%
Lettuce – Iceberg Bulk Each 1.38 1.89 36.96% 1.99 44.20%
Limes – Bulk Each 0.38 0.25 -34.21% 0.20 -47.37%
Mushrooms – White Pkg 8oz 1.88 1.99 5.85% 2.29 21.81%
Nectarines Lb 1.48 1.69 14.19% 1.49 0.68%
Onions – Red Lb 1.88 1.29 -31.38% 0.99 -47.34%
Onions – Yellow Bag 3lb 2.68 2.99 11.57% 2.99 11.57%
Onions – Sweet Lb 1.78 1.49 -16.29% 1.69 -5.06%
Peppers – Red Lb 2.89 3.99 38.06% 1.99 -31.14%
Pineapple Each 2.98 3.99 33.89% 3.99 33.89%
Plums Lb 1.48 1.99 34.46% 1.79 20.95%
Potatoes – Red Bulk Lb 0.98 0.99 1.02% 0.99 1.02%
Potatoes – Russet 5# Bag 2.47 2.99 21.05% 3.49 41.30%
Potatoes – Russet Lb 0.88 0.99 12.50% 0.99 12.50%
Salad – Caesar – Bag 11.5 oz 3.28 5.73 74.70% 6.04 84.15%
Salad – Garden – Bag 6oz 2.88 3.79 31.60% 1.85 -35.76%
Salad – Spring – Bag 5oz 2.88 2.37 -17.71% 3.99 38.54%
Salad – Organic 5oz 2.88 3.99 38.54% 4.69 62.85%
Squash – Zucchini Lb 1.58 1.69 6.96% 1.29 -18.35%
Tomatoes – On the Vine Lb 1.88 1.99 5.85% 1.99 5.85%
Tomatoes – Plum/Roma Lb 1.38 1.69 22.46% 1.69 22.46%
Watermelon – Cut Lb 3.25 2.99 -8.00% 0.79 -75.69%
MARKET BASKET 94.79 118.61 25.13% 109.55 15.57%
Red is adjusted price

 

STORE NAME WALMART KING MULLEN STOP & SHOP WALDBAUM’S
Produce Item How
Priced
Regular
Price*
Regular
Price*
% Over
Wal-Mart
Regular
Price*
% Over
Wal-Mart
Regular
Price*
% Over
Wal-Mart
Apples – Granny Smith Lb 1.47 1.79 21.77% 1.79 21.77% 2.29 55.78%
Apples – Red Delicious Lb 1.37 1.79 30.66% 1.79 30.66% 1.79 30.66%
Apples – Fuji Lb 1.67 1.79 7.19% 1.79 7.19% 2.29 37.13%
Asparagus Lb 2.94 3.99 35.71% 3.99 35.71% 3.99 35.71%
Avocados Each 1.28 1.69 32.03% 1.67 30.47% 2.00 56.25%
Bananas – Yellow Lb 0.49 0.79 61.22% 0.69 40.82% 0.79 61.22%
Beans – Green Lb 1.68 0.79 -52.98% 2.99 77.98% 1.49 -11.31%
Broccoli Crowns Lb 1.78 1.50 -15.73% 1.99 11.80% 1.49 -16.29%
Brussel Sprouts Lb 2.98 2.99 0.34% 4.78 60.40% 1.99 -33.22%
Cabbage – Green Lb 0.44 0.69 56.82% 0.69 56.82% 0.79 79.55%
Cabbage – Red Lb 0.84 1.49 77.38% 0.99 17.86% 0.99 17.86%
Cantaloupe – Whole Each 1.50 2.99 99.33% 2.50 66.67% 2.99 99.33%
Carrots – Regular 1# Bag 0.99 1.29 30.30% 0.90 -9.09% 1.49 50.51%
Carrots – Organic Lb 0.99 1.49 50.51% 1.29 30.30% 1.99 101.01%
Carrots – Baby Lb 1.66 1.50 -9.64% 1.79 7.83% 2.29 37.95%
Cauliflower Each 2.88 2.99 3.82% 2.99 3.82% 4.99 73.26%
Celery Each 1.68 1.99 18.45% 1.99 18.45% 2.49 48.21%
Coleslaw – 1# Bag Bag 1.38 1.99 44.20% 4.56 230.43% 2.29 65.94%
Cucumbers – Regular Each 0.33 0.66 100.00% 0.75 127.27% 0.50 51.52%
Dips – Marzetti – Tub 15.5oz 3.28 2.99 -8.84% 2.99 -8.84% 3.99 21.65%
Dressing – Other – Bottle 11.5oz 3.24 2.99 -7.72% 2.99 -7.72% 3.99 23.15%
Eggplant Lb 1.94 1.50 -22.68% 1.49 -23.20% 1.49 -23.20%
Garlic Lb 3.38 3.99 18.05% 3.99 18.05% 1.99 -41.12%
Grapes – Green Seedless Lb 1.88 1.99 5.85% 2.99 59.04% 2.99 59.04%
Grapes – Red Seedless Lb 1.88 1.99 5.85% 2.99 59.04% 2.99 59.04%
Green Onions Bunch 1.00 0.67 -33.00% 0.79 -21.00% 0.99 -1.00%
Honeydew – Whole Each 2.98 3.99 33.89% 3.99 33.89% 4.99 67.45%
Jar Fruit 20 oz Jar 2.98 3.32 11.41% 3.49 17.11% 3.99 33.89%
Kiwi Each 0.25 0.50 100.00% 0.33 32.00% 0.50 100.00%
Lemons – Bulk Each 0.48 0.50 4.17% 0.75 56.25% 0.50 4.17%
Lettuce – Iceberg Bulk Each 1.38 1.99 44.20% 1.99 44.20% 1.99 44.20%
Limes – Bulk Each 0.38 0.50 31.58% 0.67 76.32% 0.33 -13.16%
Mushrooms – White Pkg 8oz 1.88 1.99 5.85% 1.99 5.85% 2.24 19.15%
Nectarines Lb 1.48 1.99 34.46% 2.49 68.24% 1.99 34.46%
Onions – Red Lb 1.88 1.50 -20.21% 1.99 5.85% 2.49 32.45%
Onions – Yellow Bag 3lb 2.68 2.99 11.57% 3.74 39.55% 4.48 67.16%
Onions – Sweet Lb 1.78 1.50 -15.73% 1.49 -16.29% 1.69 -5.06%
Peppers – Red Lb 2.89 2.50 -13.49% 2.79 -3.46% 4.99 72.66%
Pineapple Each 2.98 3.99 33.89% 3.99 33.89% 5.99 101.01%
Plums Lb 1.48 2.50 68.92% 2.49 68.24% 1.99 34.46%
Potatoes – Red Bulk Lb 0.98 1.29 31.63% 0.89 -9.18% 1.49 52.04%
Potatoes – Russet 5# Bag 2.47 3.99 61.54% 2.99 21.05% 3.99 61.54%
Potatoes – Russet Bulk Lb 0.88 1.29 46.59% 0.99 12.50% 1.49 69.32%
Salad – Caesar – Bag 11.5 oz 3.28 6.04 84.15% 4.52 37.80% 6.04 84.15%
Salad – Garden – Bag 6oz 2.88 1.00 -65.28% 0.75 -73.96% 2.50 -13.19%
Salad – Spring – Bag 5oz 2.88 3.79 31.60% 2.99 3.82% 3.69 28.13%
Salad – Organic 5oz 2.88 4.99 73.26% 2.85 -1.04% 4.99 73.26%
Squash – Zucchini Lb 1.58 1.69 6.96% 1.49 -5.70% 1.49 -5.70%
Tomatoes – On the Vine Lb 1.88 2.50 32.98% 2.49 32.45% 3.99 112.23%
Tomatoes – Plum/Roma Lb 1.38 1.69 22.46% 0.99 -28.26% 1.99 44.20%
Watermelon – Cut Lb 3.25 2.99 -8.00% 0.69 -78.77% 0.99 -69.54%
MARKET BASKET TOTAL 94.79 111.34 17.46% 111.99 18.15% 128.17 35.21%
Red is adjusted price

Since Pathmark was acquired by A&P, one of the open questions was whether it would maintain Pathmark’s reputation for opportunistic buying and merchandising. Craig Carlson, who was Pathmark’s vice president of produce and floral merchandising, is now at Wal-Mart, but he was well known for running an organization that would buy many a sweet deal off of the terminal markets in Hunts Point and Philly—and then blast it through the system. The markets loved the business, and consumers loved the bargains.Now Path mark is coming in at 15.19 percent over Wal-Mart, and with its PAC Card loyalty card applied to eight items in its comparative market basket, the differential breaks the 10 percent barrier and dips to 9.85 percent over Wal-Mart. So Pathmark is in range, but just, and this pricing level may lead to changes in consumers’ perceptions of Pathmark as a store where one finds great bargains.

Warning Sign For Wal-Mart

So in New Jersey, we can say that the tough independent, ShopRite, is going to give Wal-Mart a run for its money. This is a warning sign for Wal-Mart. As supercenters rolled out in most of the country, Wal-Mart seized market share heavily from independents that did not have the capital, the management team or the supply structure to compete.

Yet ShopRite stores are another animal. It is not uncommon for them to do more than 10 times the business of a rural independent store, and Wakefern, as the largest retailer-owned cooperative in the United States, has a motto of “Helping Small Business Succeed in a Big Business World.” Together, ShopRite and Wakefern will give Wal-Mart a fight in New Jersey that it never experienced with independents in most of the country. Pathmark is still a bit of a question mark, but it seems to be utilizing its loyalty card program in a highly aggressive way. If it continues down that path, it may find a way to compete with Wal-Mart for regular shoppers even if tourists find it a little on the high side.

Interestingly enough, it is another independent, Key Food, which claims the low price prize as Key Food’s Savings Club card enabled the store to get within 1.37 percent of Wal-Mart’s pricing.

It is also true that Food Basics and other limited-assortment or deep-discount stores, such as Aldi and Save-a-Lot, are in many ways putting Wal-Mart in great peril. The most powerful asset of Wal-Mart is the space it owns in the minds of consumers — that Wal-Mart always offers the lowest prices. With over 1,000 Aldi stores in the United States, Supervalu focusing on Save-a-Lot for expansion, and other deep-discount concepts like Food Basics around, Wal-Mart is on the verge of losing that price identification. That is a priceless asset to lose.

No Wal-Mart Supercenters In Long Island

Of course, for the moment, because of its enormous size, it is still Wal-Mart that poses a great risk to the price image of supermarkets, and our jaunt over to Long Island, where Wal- Mart is not a player, gives us pause as to the enormous influence of Wal-Mart on a market where it operates even just one single store.

In Long Island, we visited Foodtown, Key Food, King Kullen, Stop & Shop and Waldbaum’s, all around the Valley Stream area.Key Food was the most competitive, coming in with prices 15.57 percent over Wal-Mart, followed by King Kullen at 17.46 percent over Wal-Mart, then Stop & Shop at 18.15 percent over Wal-Mart; then it was Foodtown at 25.13 percent over Wal-Mart, with Waldbaum’s coming in at an astonishing 35.21 percent over Wal-Mart.

Of the 51 items in the overall comparative market basket in Long Island, 16 items were affected by one chain or another’s loyalty card program. King Kullen was the only chain that did not offer a loyalty card, but the rest of the chains did. Interestingly enough, it is another independent, Key Food, which claims the low price prize as Key Food’s Savings Club card enabled the store to get within 1.37 percent of Wal-Mart’s pricing.

Wal-Mart Supercenter vs 5 Chains
Price Comparison — Long Island, NY

October 2010 – Prices Available To Loyalty Card Holders
STORE NAME WALMART FOODTOWN KEY FOOD
Produce Item How
Priced
Regular
Price*
Regular
Price*
% Over
Wal-Mart
Regular
Price*
% Over
Wal-Mart
Asparagus Lb 2.94 3.99 35.71% 1.99 -32.31%
Avocados Each 1.28 1.50 17.19% 1.50 17.19%
Cantaloupe – Whole Each 1.50 2.00 33.33% 0.99 -34.00%
Carrots – Baby Lb 1.66 1.50 -9.64% 1.50 -9.64%
Cauliflower Each 2.88 2.99 3.82% 2.00 -30.56%
Cucumbers – Regular Each 0.33 0.67 103.03% 0.50 51.52%
Dips – Marzetti – Tub 15.5oz 3.28 3.99 21.65% 2.50 -23.78%
Dressing – Other – Bottle 11.5oz 3.24 3.99 23.15% 2.50 -22.84%
Grapes – Green Seedless Lb 1.88 1.88 0.00% 0.99 -47.34%
Grapes – Red Seedless Lb 1.88 1.88 0.00% 0.99 -47.34%
Honeydew – Whole Each 2.98 2.99 0.34% 2.00 -32.89%
Peppers – Red Lb 2.89 3.99 38.06% 1.99 -31.14%
Pineapple Each 2.98 2.99 0.34% 3.99 33.89%
Potatoes – Red Bulk Lb 0.98 0.99 1.02% 0.99 1.02%
Potatoes – Russet Bulk Lb 0.88 0.99 12.50% 0.99 12.50%
Squash – Zucchini Lb 1.58 1.49 -5.70% 1.29 -18.35%
MARKET BASKET TOTAL 94.79 111.20 17.31 96.09 1.37
Red is adjusted price

 

STORE NAME WALMART KING MULLEN STOP & SHOP WALDBAUM’S
Produce Item How
Priced
Regular
Price*
Regular
Price*
% Over
Wal-Mart
Regular
Price*
% Over
Wal-Mart
Regular
Price*
% Over
Wal-Mart
Asparagus Lb 2.94 3.99 35.71% 3.99 35.71% 3.99 35.71%
Avocados Each 1.28 1.69 32.03% 1.67 30.47% 2.00 56.25%
Cantaloupe – Whole Each 1.50 2.99 99.33% 2.00 33.33% 2.99 99.33%
Carrots – Baby Lb 1.66 1.50 -9.64% 1.79 7.83% 2.00 20.48%
Cauliflower Each 2.88 2.99 3.82% 2.49 -13.54% 2.99 3.82%
Cucumbers – Regular Each 0.33 0.66 100.00% 0.75 127.27% 0.75 127.27%
Dips – Marzetti – Tub 15.5oz 3.28 2.99 -8.84% 2.99 -8.84% 3.99 21.65%
Dressing – Other – Bottle 11.5oz 3.24 2.99 -7.72% 2.99 -7.72% 3.99 23.15%
Grapes – Green Seedless Lb 1.88 1.99 5.85% 2.99 59.04% 2.99 59.04%
Grapes – Red Seedless Lb 1.88 1.99 5.85% 2.99 59.04% 2.99 59.04%
Honeydew – Whole Each 2.98 3.99 33.89% 2.00 -32.89% 4.99 67.45%
Peppers – Red Lb 2.89 2.50 -13.49% 1.88 -34.95% 4.99 72.66%
Pineapple Each 2.98 3.99 33.89% 3.99 33.89% 5.99 101.01%
Potatoes – Red Bulk Lb 0.98 1.29 31.63% 0.89 -9.18% 1.49 52.04%
Potatoes – Russet Bulk Lb 0.88 1.29 46.59% 0.89 1.14% 1.49 69.32%
Squash – Zucchini Lb 1.58 1.69 6.96% 1.49 -5.70% 1.49 -5.70%
MARKET BASKET TOTAL 94.79 111.34 17.46 107.99 13.93 126.13 33.06%
Red is adjusted price

Stop & Shop’s “My Stop & Shop” card got the store down to 13.93 percent and Foodtown’s “Foodtown Preferred Customer Club” card pushed prices down to 17.31 percent over Wal-Mart. Despite Waldbaum’s Bonus Savings Club card, the store still remained in the stratosphere at 33.06 percent aboveWal-Mart.

Of course, Waldbaum’s has traditionally catered to a different customer, focused heavily on a Jewish clientele, and it sells a different product in a different environment. Its executives may judge that this clientele won’t be easily wooed to discount operations. They may be right.

All in all, the Long Island stores seem focused on utilizing their loyalty programs as the tool to compete, rather than their walk-in price.Waldbaum’s aside, once loyalty card discounts are included, the Long Island stores are mostly pretty competitive. We take this as a sign that the one northern New Jersey supercenter hasn’t really broken through to Long Island stores.WhenWal-Mart built supercenters in Texas and similar places, competitors knew that land was available, zoning was friendly and, although some retailers sat on their hands, many retailers acted to either cut costs and prices or to get out of Wal-Mart’s way by moving upscale. They expected a deluge of Wal-Mart Supercenters.

Wal-Mart Supercenter vs 3 Chains
Price Comparison — North Bergen, NJ

October 2010 – Prices Available To Loyalty Card Holders
STORE NAME WALMART FOOD BASICS PATHMARK SHOP RITE
Produce Item How
Priced
Regular
Price*
Regular
Price*
% Over
Wal-Mart
Regular Price* % Over
Wal-Mart
Regular
Price*
% Over
Wal-Mart
Asparagus Lb 2.94 3.98 35.37% 2.99 1.70% 3.99 35.71%
Cantaloupe – Whole Each 1.50 1.48 -1.33% 2.00 33.33% 0.99 -34.00%
Dips – Marzetti – Tub 15.5oz 3.28 3.48 6.10% 2.99 -8.84% 2.99 -8.84%
Dressing – Other – Bottle 11.5oz 3.24 3.48 7.41% 2.99 -7.72% 2.99 -7.72%
Lettuce – Iceberg Bulk Each 1.38 0.98 -28.99% 1.99 44.20% 0.99 -28.26%
Onions – Yellow Bag 3lb 2.68 1.92 -28.36% 1.80 -32.84% 2.69 0.37%
Salad – Garden – Bag 6oz 2.88 0.64 -77.78% 0.75 -73.96% 3.29 14.24%
Salad – Spring – Bag 5oz 2.88 2.98 3.47% 2.50 -13.19% 3.29 14.24%
MARKET BASKET TOTAL 114.71 101.96 -11.11% 126.01 9.85% 123.18 7.38%
Red is adjusted price

How They Stack Up Against Wal-Mart Supercenter

Region Store % Over
Wal-Mart
Store % Over
Wal-Mart
Store % Over
Wal-Mart
Connecticut-5/02 Super Stop & Shop 23% Shaws 34% Big Y 36%
Salt Lake City-10/02 Harmon’s 2% Smith’s 6% Albertsons 12%
South Florida-2/03 Super Target 22% Publix 31% Winn-Dixie 52%
Dallas, Texas-10/03 Albertsons 23% Brookshires 7% Kroger 19%
Neighborhood Market -1.2% Tom Thumb 27%
Portland, OR-3/04 Albertsons 30% Fred Meyer 22% Haggen 27%
Safeway 37%
Phoenix, AZ-8/04 Albertsons 22% Bashas’ 25% Fry’s 15%
Safeway 17%
Palm Springs-10/04 Albertsons 19% Jensen’s 60% Ralphs 16%
Vons 20%
Detroit, MI-1/05 A&P Food Basic -17% Farmer Jack 24% Kroger 28%
Meijer 3%
St. Louis, MO-5/05 Dierbergs 22% Schnucks 14%
Houston, TX-9/05 HEB 15% Kroger 30% Fiesta Mart – 0.3%
Atlanta, GA-11/05 Harry’s 18% Ingles 16% Kroger 25%
Publix 13% Target 3%
Denver, CO-5/06 Albertsons 16% King Sooper 21% Safeway 25%
Portland, OR-10/06 Albertsons 32% Fred Meyer 21% QFC 54%
Safeway 30%
Toronto Canada-7/07 A&P 35% Brunos 28% Loblaws 13%
Sobeys 45%
Kansas City, KS-10/07 Dillons 20% Hen House 15% Hy Vee 18%
Price Chopper 13%
Los Angeles-4/08 Fresh & Easy 15% Stater Bros 8% Ralphs 25%
Vons 14%
Orlando, FL-10/08 Publix 32% Super Target 22% Whole Foods 38%
Winn-Dixie 28%
Phoenix, AZ 5/09 Wal-Mart Marketside 23% Wal-Mart Neighborhood 7% Bashas’ 30%
Fresh & Easy 32% Fry’s 27% Safeway 37%
Raleigh, NC 10/09 Food Lion 24% Fresh Market 31% Harris Teeter 35%
Kroger 21% Super Target 11%
Philadelphia 5/10 Acme 17% Genuardi’s 22% Giant 26%
Super Fresh 21% Wegmans 5%
New Jersey 10/10 Food Basics —11% Pathmark 15% ShopRite 8%

In New Jersey, where land and labor are typically tight, unions are powerful and it won’t be easy to just roll out supercenters,  other retailers have watched and engaged but not thrown out working business models to compete with a concept that only has one store in the area.

In any case, this iteration of the Produce Business Wal-Mart Pricing Study shows some tough competitors ahead for Wal-Mart in New Jersey. Retailers on Long Island have plenty of competition right now, and so are not so worried about competitors they do not have.

With the recession, Wal-Mart is finding a little more receptivity on opening stores in places that have traditionally limited Wal-Mart’s growth. It is hard for a construction union to oppose any new jobs when its members are unemployed. So New York metro retailers would be wise to not assume Wal-Mart just can’t expand.

Of course, with deep discount operations, supermarkets don’t have to wait for Wal-Mart to find tough price competition in the neighborhood.

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