BREAKING NEWS: In An Effort To Outdo Each Other, Retail Giants Start Price War With Depressingly Small Discounts

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In recent years, the sting of inflation has been all too real, with the cost of essentials like gasoline and groceries climbing sharply. This week, Walgreens joined a growing list of major retailers that are slashing prices in an effort to attract customers who have been tightening their belts.

Despite these efforts, Neil Saunders, GlobalData’s managing director of retail, cautioned in a statement to Vox:

“We’re not going to see the return of 2019 pricing.”

Over the past four years, the average price of groceries has surged by 25%, outstripping general inflation rates. While some outlets, such as Amazon Fresh, are offering temporary discounts of up to 30%, the reductions across most products remain modest.

Since October, Walgreens has been actively reducing prices and recently announced plans to lower the cost of an additional 1,300 items across various categories, including seasonal goods, food, health and wellness, and personal care products.

Target is also making significant cuts, having reduced prices on 1,500 products this month. These include both store brands—such as Good & Gather unsalted butter, now priced at 3.79 d3.99—and popular national brands like Clorox, Huggies, Pepperidge Farm, and Aveeno. The retailer has announced intentions to reduce prices on another 3,500 items over the summer.

Walmart reported a 45% increase in rollbacks this April compared to the same period in 2023. These price reductions, which affected 7,000 items, contributed to the retail giant’s sales boost in the last quarter.

Amazon Fresh has joined in, too. Claire Peters, their worldwide VP, explained, “Increasing our weekly deals across thousands of items and expanding the reach of Prime Savings at Amazon Fresh is just one way that we’re continuing to invest in competitive pricing and savings for all of our customers — both in-store and online.”

From retailers’ perspectives, the race to lower prices is not just about attracting customers; it’s also about shaping public perception. In a competitive market, retailers who fail to adjust their pricing strategies risk losing customers to more affordable alternatives. However, “affordable” remains increasingly difficult to find.

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