Wal-Mart's Prices Rise to Highest in Almost Two Years

Wal-Mart Stores Inc.’s prices rose in September to the highest level in at least 21 months, according to JPMorgan Chase & Co., as the world’s largest retailer scaled back discounts from earlier this year.

The cost of a 31-item basket of goods at a Wal-Mart in Virginia was $95.75, a 2.7 percent increase from August and a 5 percent gain from the start of 2010, analyst Charles Grom said today in a report. The price is the most since the New York- based analyst began the survey in January 2009.

Prices for produce climbed as Wal-Mart offered almost no discounts on food last month, Grom said. Price cuts on items such as cereal and ketchup failed to attract as many consumers as Wal-Mart anticipated, dragging down sales in the latest quarter, U.S. stores chief William Simon said last month.

Produce accounted for 7 of the 31 items in the basket, with prices 10 percent higher in September than the previous month. Prices for dairy products rose 2 percent, and meat was unchanged.

Wal-Mart rose 17 cents to $53.52 at 4 p.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. The shares are little changed this year.

Wal-Mart’s prices came in below a similar basket of goods bought at stores operated by Kroger Co. and Safeway Inc. The gap between Wal-Mart and the traditional grocers narrowed in September, the report showed.

To contact the reporter on this story: Matthew Boyle in New York at Mboyle20@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Robin Ajello at rajello@bloomberg.net.

Press spacebar to pause and continue. Press esc to stop.

Bloomberg reserves the right to remove comments but is under no obligation to do so, or to explain individual moderation decisions.

Please enable JavaScript to view the comments powered by Disqus.