How Wal-Mart's TV Prices Crushed Rivals

The retailer's holiday decision to slash prices on flat-panel setsselling one for less than $1,000proved disastrous for electronics stores

Last "Black Friday," for its annual post-Thanksgiving sales blitz, Wal-Mart Stores (WMT) decided to slash the price of one of the hottest electronics items for the holidays—the 42-inch flat-panel TV—to $988. The world's largest retailer had staked similarly audacious positions before, in numerous product categories, as part of its quest to remain U.S. retailing's "low-price leader." In turn, Wal-Mart's move caused a freefall in prices of flat-panel televisions at hundreds of retailers—to the glee of many people who were then able to afford their first big-screen plasma or liquid-crystal-display model.

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