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Summer Deal Wars Heat Up

Walmart, Amazon, Target Compete

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Walmart’s sales in the current quarter won’t be as strong as they were in the previous quarter, Walmart Chief Financial Officer John Rainey told the Bank of America London Investor Conference.

Rainey noted that the second quarter is “certainly” the retailer’s most challenging quarter from a comparable sales perspective for the year, according to Seeking Alpha.

In the first quarter, Walmart reported comp sales, excluding fuel, were up 3.9%. The retailer’s first-quarter earnings exceeded expectations.

Walmart CEO Doug McMillon emphasized during the quarterly earnings call that the gains in comparable-store sales were not solely due to inflation, which contributed only 40 basis points to sales growth, while general merchandise saw mid-single-digit deflation, and food and consumables experienced low-single-digit inflation. 

In the ongoing battle between retail giants Amazon and Walmart, both companies are intensifying their discounting efforts to secure the loyalty of cost-conscious consumers. Amazon plans to add a section featuring low-cost items shipped from China, aiming to onboard sellers in the coming months and begin accepting inventory in the fall.

Walmart is set to follow its recent summer savings event with another one from July 8 through July 11, dubbed “Walmart Deals,” offering discounts on school-related goods and high-cost electronics. This event, coming just weeks after Walmart+ Week, underscores the retailer’s strategy to compete with Amazon’s Prime Day and capture consumer interest in seasonal sales.

Walmart’s customer base is more budget-constrained compared to Amazon’s, with 34% of Walmart shoppers making less than $50,000 annually versus 16% of Amazon’s. The research also revealed that 30% of Walmart customers live paycheck to paycheck with issues paying monthly bills, compared to 19% of Amazon’s.

Amazon’s Prime Day summer sale will run from July 16 through July 17. In response, Walmart, Target, and Best Buy have announced their own sales. Target’s “Target Circle Week” from July 7 through July 13. Best Buy’s “Black Friday in July” event will run from July 15 through July 17.

These retailers are emphasizing back-to-school supplies and technology. However, questions remain about whether these sales will offer deals on the most in-demand products.

Walmart is also leveraging digital platforms TikTok and Roblox to enhance its marketing reach. On TikTok, Walmart launched a “Spicy Summer” campaign targeting the BookTok community, which focuses on romance and fantasy genres. The campaign includes a limited-edition Spicy Books Hot Sauce set and a Spicy Summer landing page offering summer books, fashions, and accessories.

On Roblox, Walmart introduced an AR extension for its “Walmart Discovered” environment. This immersive shopping experience allows customers to uncover a free monthly virtual item with the purchase of a Roblox gift card at Walmart. Users can also try on and buy avatar items directly from the AR experience.

In a supply-side technology rollout, Walmart is partnering with Israeli tech firm Agritask to pilot AI-assisted fruit sourcing. The initiative aims to improve the accuracy of seasonal fruit crop yield predictions, reduce food waste, and ensure fresh produce availability. The pilot will focus on blackberry and cherry crops, which are highly sensitive to temperature and moisture levels.

This partnership is part of Walmart’s broader goal of becoming a regenerative company, targeting zero emissions in global operations by 2040 and using renewable energy sources by 2035.

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