Live at Walmart! With its business threatened, the megastore tries something new

I’d never seen this before, but I certainly saw it tonight. I was wandering through the men’s clothing section (did you know you can’t find plain white boxers at Walmart any more? this was the fourth one I’d tried), and I started hearing something that could only be live music. So I flipped on the video on my phone and kept approaching, and above is what I saw.

I’d heard Walmart was troubled. Remember, I put this WSJ story on my Virtual Front Page last night:

Wal-Mart Loses Edge

Perception That Retailer No Longer Has Best Prices Undercuts Sales Turnaround

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is losing its longstanding reputation for offering consumers the lowest prices, complicating its efforts to end a two-year sales slump in the U.S.

The Bentonville, Ark., retail colossus became the world’s largest store chain by avoiding sales gimmicks through “every day low prices” on everything from food to sporting goods under one roof.

But surveys by retail consultants, analysts and brand experts now find that Wal-Mart’s aura of price leadership has faded since the recession, because customers who searched for better deals sometimes found them at competitors such as Dollar General Corp., Aldi Inc. and Inc….

It certainly didn’t look troubled tonight. Based on my difficulty in finding a checkout line that was neither too long (the “express” lanes”) nor featuring people with more than one filled cart. (I wrote on Twitter while waiting, “Waiting in crazy lines at Walmart. Apparently, a lot of people are simultaneously planning polar expeditions…”)

Not  that I’ll mourn if Walmart suffers a bit. Walmart is just one of a bunch of factors that killed the newspaper business. You’ll recall a time when grocery stores were a huge newspaper advertiser, along with department stores. Well, Walmart threatened and undercut them both with a strategy that did not require regular local advertising: With “Everyday Low Prices,” you don’t need to advertise any specials. You just have to let the word get around town, and you’re permanently set. And a lot of traditional newspaper advertisers were permanently shafted.

But the live music makes it all worthwhile, right?

4 thoughts on “Live at Walmart! With its business threatened, the megastore tries something new

  1. Brad

    And no, I have no idea whether this is actually some new strategy by Walmart, or just something unusual that happened to occur tonight…

    Sorry about the sound on that clip. I don’t know why it lowers at the point that it should get louder.

    I had trouble with video shot on the iPhone at the Trey Gowdy thing the other day, too…

  2. Kathryn Fenner

    I thought you were writing about living at Walmart. Wasn’t that a movie with like Ashley Judd and Natalie Portman?

  3. Greg Jones

    Walmart is what it is; it is its own paradigm. I was hugely disappointed on Sunday in Beaufort at the WM Superstore when there were only 4 lines (2 at food, 2 at the other end) and no self-checkouts open. A madhouse. The day before school opened for most, and they were understaffed. But, I didn’t see anybody abandon full buggies; because when you’re there, you’re there. White boxers or not.


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