Target Ratchets Up Retail Price War

Target says it will match the online prices of Amazon.com and others. Target knows that increasingly consumers are using mobile devices to check prices online as they cruise the aisles. And if the price is better somewhere else, that's where they'll buy it.

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RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And now for some further evidence that the front in the retail wars is shifting to the digital world. Target has announced it will match the online prices of Amazon.com and others.

NPR's Wendy Kaufman has more.

WENDY KAUFMAN, BYLINE: Last fall, Target said it would match the prices on major online sites during November and most of December. Yesterday, the retailer said it was extending that offer. The company says if customers can find the identical item at Amazon or at the online sites of Best Buy, Toys R Us or Wal-Mart within seven days of purchase, it will match the lower price - though there's lots of fine print in the retailers new policy.

Target knows all too well that increasingly, consumers are using mobile devices to check prices online as they cruise the aisles. And if the price is better somewhere else, that's where they buy it. It's a practice known as showrooming.

Greg Girard, an analyst at IDC Retail Insights, says about 48 million American consumers showroomed last year.

GREG GIRARD: And a lot of the hard lines that Target sells, primarily consumer electronics, children's games, appliances of any sort were some of the most heavily showroomed categories, and they're Target's bread and butter.

KAUFMAN: And Girard says...

GIRARD: For so many of the things they sell, price is a bottom line factor that consumers are thinking about.

KAUFMAN: Many experts believe other, primarily brick and mortar retailers, will follow Target's policy on price matching.

Wendy Kaufman, NPR News.

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