Target and Walmart: Who’s gaining share?

From a RetailWire comment following the release of November sales data. Obviously we’ll know more after December sales:

As with yesterday’s survey data about smartphones, I’d like to see some sales data that backs up the information about Target and Walmart. Since Walmart doesn’t report comp sales by month, it’s tough to compare their November performance with the strong outcome at Target. And “intent to visit” (or reported visits) don’t necessarily equate to sales unless we know what’s in the consumer’s shopping cart.

Despite these reservations, it’s clear from Target’s YTD comp sales compared to Walmart’s numbers that they are delivering a stronger performance this year. The discount customer is showing signs of being more aspirational, spending more on apparel and other discretionary goods (a weak spot for Walmart) and generally giving herself “permission to spend” within a household budget.

The surprise in Walmart’s weak numbers is its failure to recapture consumers who had traded all the way down to dollar stores, perhaps the weakest segment of the retail business right now. It speaks volumes about Walmart’s continuing struggles with softlines as well as the costs of its SKU rationalization program to the top line.

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