The Retailer With the Lowest Prices Is ...

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Dollar General Takes Offer For Family Dollar To Shareholders
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By Courtney Reagan | @CourtReagan

Many retailers claim they have the lowest prices -- so who's telling the truth?

According to a new study by Kantar Retail, which assessed the lowest price available on 21 categories across the edible grocery, non-edible grocery, and health and beauty aids segments, Dollar General (DG) took the crown for a third year in a row.

The dollar store widened its lead over behemoth Walmart (WMT) -- which ranked second -- with an overall basket price that came in 2.5 percent lower. Last year, Dollar General's basket only beat the big-box retailer by 12 cents. Target's prices were the least competitive of the six stores studied, with a basket that was 52 percent more expensive than Dollar General's.

Although Walmart built its success and scale on its low-price guarantee, it's ceded some market share to smaller, more convenient dollar store retailers over the last several years. The world's largest retailer has once again been investing in price, as it tries to lure cash-strapped consumers back into stores.

It's also ramped up its promise of offering the best price with its Savings Catcher tool. Savings Catcher allows shoppers to scan their receipts with a smartphone, and then compares price tags to other stores. If a lower price is found, shoppers will get the difference on a Walmart gift card.

retailers lowest prices dollar general wal-mart
Target (TGT) also offers a price-match guarantee, though it too takes some legwork on the part of the shopper.

Despite Dollar General's overall win, savvy consumers may notice its prices are not lower than its competitors' across the board. When it comes to edible grocery items, Aldi, the German no-frills grocery store chain, has prices that sweep the competition. When it comes to prices for health and beauty aids, Walmart wins.

All data were collected in southeast Massachusetts in September. Kantar found the lowest-priced item available to shoppers in each category, regardless of brand or pack size (excluding trial sizes), assuming that budget-strapped shoppers could minimally meet their purchase requirements.

Best Days to Snag New Markdowns at 7 Big Retailers
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The Retailer With the Lowest Prices Is ...

 Go on Thursday. Why? The markdowns are required to be completed by the time the store opens on Thursday morning, James said.

Monday and Tuesday is best at CVS (CVS), he said. Markdowns are started on Sundays, so if you want to get a chance to see the bulk of what's been price-chopped, waiting beyond Monday or Tuesday could cost you a shot at a great deal.
Sunday is the first day or markdowns, James said, but coming to the store on a Monday you'll typically find a less crowded a store and will see the latest markdowns. And, he said, don't forget the 40 percent off one item coupons Jo-Ann always puts out.
The second and fourth Saturday of every month are the two days of the month when Kohl's (KSS) has the biggest markdowns.
Macy's (M) goal is have all the markdowns ready for Tuesday's store opening, James said he was told by a women's apparel manager. That means get to the store on Tuesday morning, if you can.
Wednesday is the day to expect to best shot at markdowns, James said. Markdowns and clearance rack additions are typically done on Tuesday nights or early Wednesday, he said.
Markdowns at Target (TGT) are more complex than you'll find at most retailers because they happen on different days for different departments. Monday, for example, expect new markdowns in electronics, accessories, kids clothes, books, baby products and stationery. On Tuesday, markdowns will be in domestics, women's clothing, pets and food items.
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