Walmart’s “low prices” are beating Target’s “cheap chic,” said Ben Steverman in BusinessWeek, at least in this recession. Both of the “fiercely competitive” chains benefitted from consumers “trading down,” but Walmart “clearly won out in the past year” in terms of customer traffic and sales. The “crucial question,” of course, is what happens next? And as the economy recovers, things are looking brighter for Target and its “more pleasant” stores.
So long as “the ‘frugalista’ has replaced the ‘fashionista’ in Americans’ recessionary mind-set,” said Jackie Crosby in the Minneapolis Star Tribune, prices are king. And one of the “rays of hope” for Target is that it believes customers are starting to see that its prices are “as good or better” than Walmart’s.
At the same time, Walmart is trying to get “affluent shoppers” in its doors, said Douglas McIntyre in 24/7 Wall Street. Sure, it was “burned” last time it tried that, but times have changed. Walmart is now “riding a tide of positive publicity and strong sales,” and it has “nothing to lose and plenty to gain” by chasing a “new class of shoppers.”