Walmart(WMT) - Get Report cut its prices across several major business units last month including grocery, a move surely to send another shockwave to competitors like Kroger(KR) - Get Report , Whole Foods Market (WFM) and ALDI.
In grocery, Walmart increased the percentage of items on rollback, sale and clearance to 26% in March from 25% in February, 24% in January and the 18% seen in November and December, according to a research report released by BMO Capital Markets on Wednesday.
BMO said it saw 43% of Walmart's household essentials in March on sale, higher than the 39% seen in February. In beauty, Walmart's sale items touched 39% of the category in March, up from 35% in February.
Plus, "the seasonal area is set for Easter with related core items such as baskets, plastic eggs and candy aggressively priced," BMO said, whose analysts Wayne Hood, Brian Welsh and Steve McManus found "colorful party bags" to be priced as low as 33 cents.
Hood, Welsh and McManus did not respond to requests for comment.
Walmart began reducing its prices early in 2016 in areas such as food and household products as part of a multi-year, billion-dollar-plus investment in lower prices.
In February, rumors began circulating that Walmart deployed tests at 1,200 stores in 11 Midwest and Southeastern states geared at finding the right price point on groceries. The company also reportedly held meetings at its Bentonville, Arkansas headquarters that month with food and consumer products vendors to pressure them to reduce the costs on goods by 15%. Vendors included Procter & Gamble(PG) - Get Report , Unilever(UL) - Get Report and Conagra Brands(CAG) - Get Report , according to a Reuters report.
When questioned about the reports, Walmart spokesman Lorenzo Lopez declined to go into specifics but said the company has been working on new price investment initiatives for "more than a year now."
"Walmart is constantly adjusting its pricing in response to - and in advance of - competition," John Zolidis, director of equity research at Buckingham Research Group, told TheStreet in a prior interview.
New price cuts from Walmart come after Deutsche Bank conducted its own recent price comparison test, declaring Aldi "the price leader."
Meanwhile, Walmart is smack dab in the middle of a major private-label product push - spanning frozen food to beer - across all of its store concepts. Private-label products, otherwise known as store brands, are simply products on which stores put their own names or brands.
Consumers often love private labels because they tend to be cheaper in price compared to well-known national brands. And retailers love them because they often carry higher profit margins.
So far, Walmart's price investments look to be paying dividends.
Editor's Pick: Originally published Apr. 5.