retail news in context, analysis with attitude

So here’s how war breaks out between two of the nation’s biggest and most influential retailers.

On Thursday, Walmart.com lowered the price on 10 soon-to-be-published books expected to be best-sellers - by authors such as Stephen King and Dean Koontz, and politicos such as Sarah Palin - to $10.

Amazon.com matched the price within hours.

And then Walmart.com lowered its prices on the books to $9.

As of this moment, Amazon seems to have matched the $9 price.

The Wall Street Journal suggests that this seems to be the beginning of a clash of titans. "If there is going to be a 'Walmart of the Web', it is going to be Walmart.com," Walmart.com CEO Raul Vazquez tells the paper. "Our goal is to be the biggest and most visited retail Web site."

And, the Journal writes, “An Amazon spokesman, in a statement, said the company's approach ‘has always been to offer customers low prices every day, which includes the holiday shopping season.’

“Amazon has managed to encroach on Walmart's general-store status online by steadily increasing the range of products it sells. While it is best known for selling books and music, Amazon second-quarter North American sales of ‘general merchandise’ -- including everything from diapers to vacuums -- were for the first time larger than its sales of media. It recently acquired shoe and apparel seller Zappos.com. And taking another cue from Walmart, Amazon has steadily increased its range of private-label goods.”
KC's View:
This certainly is good for readers. It probably isn’t very good for independent bookstores. And I cannot imagine that this is good for authors, with whom, to be honest, I feel the greatest sympathy.

On the other hand, it is likely to be a fun battle. How low can they go?