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Target unveils year-round online price match

By The Associated Press

This article was published January 8, 2013 at 10:27 a.m.

— Target Corp. is pledging to match prices of select online rivals year-round, a move that underscores how physical and online retailing are being meshed together.

Matching online prices is rare but expected to become more common as shoppers move increasingly online. Target, the nation’s second- largest discounter behind Wal-Mart Stores Inc., said it will match prices that customers find on identical products at top online retailers, all the time. The online list includes Amazon.com as well as the websites of Wal-Mart, Best Buy, Toys R Us and Babies R Us.

Target’s move follows a similar holiday price match that began Nov. 1 and ended Dec. 16. Target is also making permanent its holiday offer of matching prices of items found at its stores with those on its website. And for the first time it will include products that are out of stock on Target.com.

The moves follow a disappointing holiday shopping season for the Minneapolis-based retailer, hurt by stiffer competition from online rivals and stores like Wal-Mart that have hammered its low prices. It’s also the latest step from brick-and-mortar stores to combat “showrooming” — a growing trend for customers to browse stores to check out products, and then go online to buy the same products for less.

Wal-Mart has trumpeted its low price message but stopped short of matching prices with online rivals. The Bentonville-based retailer said it can monitor prices across the Web every 20 minutes. That knowledge has helped the discounter better react to the competition’s price changes.

Read tomorrow's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.

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