Today in marketing: Walmart fudges the numbers. No one is surprised.


TV AD: The family budget. In today’s economy nobody is more committed to helping family budgets go further than Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart saves the average family about $3,100 a year, no matter where they shop.

What?! OK, how can Wal-Mart save you money if you don’t shop there? Well, they say, other stores cut their prices to compete.

CHRIS HOLLINGS: The overall level of consumer prices are lower essentially anywhere you shop.

Chris Hollings is at IHS Global Insight.

HOLLINGS: So you do not actually have to shop at Wal-Mart to get these savings.

Hollings led the research Wal-Mart uses in its ad. He says by tracking Wal-Mart’s expansion, his team was able to isolate an economic Wal-Mart effect. Today he says prices for retail goods are 3.6 percent lower across the board because of the chain. But to save more than $3,000 a year a, quote, “average family” would have to spend more than $83,000 shopping.

CHARLES FISHMAN: This headline number is technically accurate but misleading.

Charles Fishman is author of the book, “The Wal-Mart Effect.” He points out that the median household income is less than $51,000.

FISHMAN: A family earning $51,000 a year saves about $640 a year compared to what they would otherwise have had to spend.

— full story at Marketplace

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