retail news in context, analysis with attitude

• Walmart Canada announced yesterday “rollback” pricing on more than 7,000 SKUs, in its words, “crossing all major categories from groceries to general merchandise. Combined, these ROLLBACK prices are expected to translate into customer savings of more than $25.7 million in January.”

Reuters reports that Walmart will be offering free and discounted tax preparation services at more than 3,000 stores. According to the story, “Some 2,800 Walmart U.S. stores have a Jackson Hewitt location, and another 250 or so stores feature H&R Block Inc. Those providers will offer free 1040 EZ filings with tax preparation consultants in Walmart stores, said Daniel Eckert, head of Walmart financial services. Prices for other tax preparation services will be about 7 percent to 10 percent lower than at both companies' other locations, he added.”

However, the Reuters story also notes that Walmart believes that this “is less about giving back and more about bringing in,” as the retailer will allow/encourage customers to deposit their tax returns for free onto Walmart cash cards.

The story points out that Walmart is making a major push to reach out to customers who do not avail themselves of traditional banking services; more than eight out of ten transactions at US Walmart stores are made in cash.
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