Walmart China: Always The Low Price Last Week

Written by Frank Hayes
September 26th, 2012

This is just not Walmart’s week for price management. On Tuesday (Sept. 25), a Walmart store in China was slapped with almost $16,000 in fines for a “discount hoax,” according to China Daily. In May, the Walmart in Wuhan changed its price for a bottle of liquid soap from 47.6 to 48.8 yuan (a 19-cent increase), but called it a discount price. Not so, according to the local government price watchdog: “When the promotion price is higher than the traceable lowest price of the period of seven days before the campaign, it is a price fraud,” said Zhang Jianmin, vice head of the Hubei Provincial Bureau of

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Commodity Price.

It may be true that what the Chinese call a hoax, everyone else calls marketing. But with 370 stores in China, Walmart should know how this game is

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played. And with its fanatical tracking of its own and competitors’ prices, failing to catch this type of slip-up qualifies as an IT failure: Walmart China should have had price-change-checking logic in

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place to make sure the price first went up to 49 yuan for a week and then rolled it back to the “discount price” of 48.8. Otherwise, how will the Chinese know it’s a Walmart?


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