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Bloomberg is out with a study saying that Walmart is losing the pricing battle to Target.

According to the story, "Target this month had lower prices than Wal-Mart for the first time since October, according to research conducted by Bloomberg Industries. The Minneapolis based chain also led by its widest margin since the monthly study began two years ago. The study examined the gap in average price across a basket of 150 like items at stores within five miles of each other."

In addition, Bloomberg reports, "Wal-Mart also lost ground on food prices to Bottom Dollar, a grocery store chain owned by Delhaize Group."

A Walmart spokesperson tells Bloomberg, in essence, that its research is inaccurate - that sometimes competitors make it look like they have lower prices because of deals and promotions, but that Walmart has consistently lower prices on an everyday basis.

However, analysts tell Bloomberg that in view of Walmart's own promotional activities and much publicized price-match campaign, it is "a real blow" to Walmart to be perceived as losing the pricing battle to anyone.
KC's View:
I would never underestimate Walmart, or minimize its ability to change the nature of the retailing game with one big move or lots of little moves. But enough of these kinds of stories - saying or implying that the company is losing ground and maybe a little bit of relevance - have cropped up that one has to wonder what the shelf life is for Mike Duke's leadership, and if he is the guy to lead Walmart at a time when so many of the things that we've all taken for granted are changing.