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Wal-Mart's Upscale Shift

Posted by: Matthew Boyle on May 19, 2009

I just had a fascinating conversation with an affluent 39-year-old mother of two in Western Maryland who began shopping regularly at Wal-Mart in January, after years of avoiding the giant discounter. “I was a snob,” she says. But a New Year’s resolution to spend less money made her switch from her nearby Food Lion grocery store to Wal-Mart, and she’s not looked back since. She now buys everything for her family at Wal-Mart — groceries, paper towels, toys, electronics, even store brand diapers for her baby.

She’s not alone. At a recent investor conference Wal-Mart vice chairman Eduardo Castro-Wright talked about how 27% of the retailers’ sales lift in February came from new shoppers, over half of whom had household incomes above $50,000 a year, which is on the high end for their clientele.

Are you one of Wal-Mart’s new higher-income shoppers? If so, we’d like to hear from you. Why are you shopping at Wal-Mart these days, what do you buy there, and has the shopping experience been what you expected? And most important, will you continue to shop there when economic conditions improve?

Reader Comments


May 19, 2009 5:20 PM

This draws an interesting parallel to the article on Fast Food Customer Service Stories... both highlight how customers are now drawn to retailers that have a good "value pricing" model and how "brand name" perception seems to be fading away.

I do shop at Walmart every now and then but not on a regular basis due to the convenience factor. Walmart is further away from my house and i find it always more crowded than a target for example.

I may simply fall in a different category for sometimes sacrificing price over convenience. I think Walmart is slowly becoming the amazon of the brick and mortar world!


May 20, 2009 9:44 PM

When Target first hit the scene, it offered more upscale goods than Walmart in home furnishing especially, and clothes also.

Walmart has risen to that challenge, and now offers lower prices and better quality. I noticed. That's all.


May 26, 2009 2:35 PM

they need to open up a mortgage company and small loan company. we have been dooped for so many years by banks and car dealerships like ford, gm and chrysler

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