Prices going up, but Walmart still cheapest

A monthly pricing survey by Credit Suisse showed Walmart had the lowest overall basket price in Dallas and Chicago and suggest that where prices head from here is up to Walmart.

“Our monthly pricing survey in Dallas and Chicago showed that most retailers, including Walmart, raised prices in February as they looked to pass along rising input costs. We believe the industry’s ability to successfully pass on upcoming inflation depends on what Walmart decides to do,” according the the firm. “The 1.2% sequential increase in Walmart’s basket price observed in February suggests that the company is rationally passing through cost increases. Most other retailers in our survey raised prices even more and their relative price gap versus Walmart increased, but only modestly.”

For example, on the basket of comparable items that the firm surveys, Walmart’s gap relative to Target widened to 4.2% in February from 3.9% in February in Dallas and Chicago. Target continues to be Walmart’s closest pricing competitor. When compared with all competitors in the survey, Walmart’s average gap stood at 18.2% in February, slightly above the average gap of 17.9% that has existed since the firm began the survey in 2007.

The survey compares pricing on a basket of 60 items in the Chicago and Dallas-Ft. Worth area at seven mass channel retailers in categories such as HBA, household and food. In Chicago, the survey retailers include Dominick’s, Jewel, Food-4-Less, Walgreens, CVS,

Target and a traditional Wal-Mart discount store. In Dallas-Ft. Worth, surveyed retailers include Tom Thumb, Albertson’s, Kroger, Walgreen, CVS, Target and a traditional Walmart discount store. In both markets the survey stores are located within a five-mile radius.