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Walmart vs. the dollar stores: Who is cheapest?

Walmart vs. the dollar stores: Who is cheapest?
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Clark Howard |
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Mirror, mirror, on the wall…who’s the cheapest of them all?

A new head-to-head comparison of Walmart, Family Dollar, and Dollar General says Wally World is 6.6% cheaper than either of the dollar stores in the food category.

The price research done by investment firm Sterne, Agee & Leach found Walmart leads in food and beverages, but lags in other areas. For example, Dollar General was found to be 6.1% cheaper than Walmart on household items.

Walmart prices undergoing a shift

Remember when Walmart used to have the tagline “always the lowest price” in all of its advertising? Then they got sued and had to change it to “always low prices.”

A few years back, Walmart also tried going upscale on us. They de-cluttered their stores, brought in fancier merchandise, and raised prices until shoppers revolted. So now Walmart has gone back to its original pricing strategy and the aisles are cluttered again!

The funny thing is Walmart is still having a tough time getting enough customer traffic in stores because their core shopper isn’t doing well financially. Then again, it could also be because Walmart has completely separated the pricing at and its physical stores, which recently created some confusion for me when I tried to buy a Lego set for my son.

But the real threat to Walmart comes from Family Dollar and Dollar General. Though neither is a true dollar store, because they sell goods at a variety of price points — not just at $1.

Click here to see 3 great deals at the dollar store.

Both Family Dollar and Dollar General have grown by leaps and bounds during the tough economic times. Dollar General now has something like more than 7,000 locations.

But no matter where you shop, the key is to stick to private labels. I end up shopping in Dollar General a lot and when I stick to the house brand, my wallet really smiles on me!