After dropping its price-matching program in 2002, Target has brought back its price-matching program in Minnesota, at least temporarily. Last month, Target Corp. has started matching lower prices in competitors’ ads in a pilot program in the downtown Minneapolis and Medina stores, as well as 22 stores in Orlando and 28 in Denver, but Target spokesman David Fransen said the program has now been rolled out quietly to all Minnesota stores. If the program is a success, Target plans to make it nationwide in the fall. Target dropped the program in 2002, a spokesperson said then, because too much time was spent verifying prices at checkout. This time, verification will be quicker, Target spokeswoman Delia McLinden said, because all matching is done through customer service, not at the checkout lanes.
Under the new program, customers must bring in the entire ad, which must be current. Competitors’ prices that have expired will not be honored.
McLinden said the policy was brought back in light of the recession. “We want to speak boldly about value and low prices and give customers peace of mind,” she said.
Typically, stores that match competitors’ advertised prices have restrictions: no matching of percentage-off promotions, no doubling or tripling of coupons, no matching of “misprinted” advertised prices, Internet prices, nonlocal competitors, limited quantities, closeouts, or buy-one-get-one free coupons.
Neither Target nor Wal-Mart usually will match prices within its own chain, even though products such as baby formula often have varying prices at stores within a few miles of each other. Why? It all depends on the competition nearby. The consumer’s best bet is always to hope that Target and Wal-Mart are near each other to get the lowest prices.
Target is also honoring the price match program in its Hudson, Wis. store.