Wal-Mart Ads Target Regional Grocer Harris Teeter In North Carolina, Wal-Mart has unveiled a new ad campaign in the Charlotte area. The ads are unusual because they target the small, regional grocery chain Harris Teeter. Wal-Mart is the largest retailer in the world. Harris Teeter is 207th. In the commercials, Wal-Mart says it sells the same items as the local chain, but for less.
NPR logo

Wal-Mart Ads Target Regional Grocer Harris Teeter

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/148278059/148179045" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
Wal-Mart Ads Target Regional Grocer Harris Teeter

Wal-Mart Ads Target Regional Grocer Harris Teeter

Wal-Mart Ads Target Regional Grocer Harris Teeter

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/148278059/148179045" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

In North Carolina, Wal-Mart has unveiled a new ad campaign in the Charlotte area. The ads are unusual because they target the small, regional grocery chain Harris Teeter. Wal-Mart is the largest retailer in the world. Harris Teeter is 207th. In the commercials, Wal-Mart says it sells the same items as the local chain, but for less.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with a surprising ad campaign from Wal-Mart.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

INSKEEP: OK. Charlotte, North Carolina, is the scene of Wal-Mart's latest ad. The commercials here are unusual because they mention a competitor - a small, regional grocery chain - by name.

As Scott Graf of member station WFAE reports, Wal-Mart says it's the first time it's ever done this.

SCOTT GRAF, BYLINE: One of the commercials goes like this:

(SOUNDBITE OF WAL-MART COMMERCIAL)

GRAF: The shopper ends up buying all the same things, and saving about 10 percent over North Carolina-based Harris Teeter. The commercial highlights price differences at the world's largest retailer, compared to those at the 207th largest.

David Livingston is a Wisconsin-based grocery analyst.

DAVID LIVINGSTON: What's someone going to do to fight back? When your prices are 15, 20 percent below your competitor, what can your competitor do at that point - especially in a weaker economy?

GRAF: So what is a small chain like Harris Teeter to do? The company declined to be interviewed. But Jared Hansen, a professor at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte - who used to work in marketing for Wal-Mart - says chains that have higher prices than Wal-Mart shouldn't concentrate on cost.

JARED HANSEN: Keep focusing on the quality they're offering. The customer service, the cleanliness of its stores, the relationships it has within the community. And that's what's going to keep them going. Because there will always be people who will shop Wal-Mart because of the cost, who will shop Harris Teeter because of the quality.

GRAF: Wal-Mart says it plans more commercials like those in Charlotte, in other markets soon. The company hasn't said where or when those ads will begin.

For NPR News, I'm Scott Graf in Charlotte.

Copyright © 2012 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.