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Walmart: We'll Be the Last to Raise Prices

NEW YORK - Retailers are continuing to spin upcoming price increases in their interactions with the investment community.
     Addressing a recent investor's conference, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. president and ceo Mike Duke said the company "will be the last" retailer to raise prices. He called inflation "a top-of-mind topic," and like many other retailers, said Wal-Mart is working with suppliers to hold down prices.
     Many suppliers have told HTT that all retailers have been adjusting their pricing upward for several months as raw material prices have climbed - Walmart included.
     Duke invoked what has become a new mantra for Wal-Mart - EDLC, or Every Day Low Cost - saying the company's global sourcing arms is creating "innovative global business processes" to help hold the line on costs.
     Wal-Mart's public posture is always worth watching since so many retailers look to it for a baseline as their tier their own pricing in comparison.
     Before the Q&A, Duke preventively address the subject of Wal-Mart's sluggish comp store performance - to say he wouldn't talk about it in specifics.. "I won't tell you at which point we will deliver positive store comps," he said, adding they are the U.S. division's greatest priority. "I do see traction."

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