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Walmart to Cut Back-to-School Prices

Walmart got a running start on the 2014 back-to-school shopping season by announcing it would slash prices on 10 percent more products compared to last year’s assortment of discounted items. All told, some 300 items will be discounted or positioned as price “rollbacks.” Among those lower priced items are children’s and teen apparel.

The world’s largest retailer is also boosting its online back-to-school selection by 30 percent, offering shoppers 75,000 items to buy from, including shoes, school supplies, backpacks, accessories and a variety of gadgets and mobile devices.

Overall, back-to-school promotion started early. Steve Bratspies, executive vice president of general merchandise for Walmart’s U.S. division, told the Associated Press he anticipates that value-seeking consumers will “stagger” their shopping, a piece-meal buying trend that has been developing in recent back-to-school seasons.

The Bentonville, Ark.-based retailer is also targeting its promotional efforts to teachers by offering teachers savings on classroom supplies. For the first time, teachers across the country who shop at Walmart from July 25 to July 31, are eligible for a 10 percent discount on approximately 15,000 school-related products.

While Walmart remains at the top of the class in the retail sector, the company has posted declining revenues at stores operating for at least one year for five consecutive quarters. The retailer will also likely be faced with aggressive markdowns from competitors like Sears, J.C. Penney and Target.

Explaining Walmart’s marketing and pricing strategies, Bratspies told the AP, “It’s a long [back-to-school] season. You need to be prepared the whole time. We are going to stay really strong.”