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Business & Technology
Jan 9 2012 7:10AM
 
Retailer slashes prices
Massmart CEO Grant Pattison. Picture: Gallo Images
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Luphert Chilwane

Walmart and Massmart on Sunday announced an up to about 50% slashing of prices on some of their products in a move that appears to be aimed at gaining the merging parties further public relations mileage.

This third extended price cut promotion comes hot on the heels of the festive season spending binge and will be a welcome relief for many hard-pressed consumers. The price cuts mainly cover cover back-to-school, back-to-office and back-to-site merchandise.

Massmart CEO Grant Pattison said the latest 10-week promotion launched yesterday recognised the additional expenses that were normally incurred at the start of the year. “For example, at Makro boys’ grey school trousers start at R49 while short sleeve school shirts for boys and girls start at R55 for a pack of two.

“At Game a Supreme high back office chair costs R499 (down from R799), while a Lexmark 4-in-1 printer is available for R499 (from R899.99). DionWired is offering promotions on items such as a Powershred P35C Shredder for R1200 (down from R2000).”

Pattison said the new price cuts followed two highly successful promotions which saved consumers more than R100m.

Pattison said recent research they had conducted indicated that 76% of respondents believed that Walmart would be good for consumer prices. “The results of our research indicate that the extended price cut ­promotions have been welcomed by ­consumers.”

Cosatu and three government departments oppose the R16.5bn Walmart takeover of Massmart. They argue that it poses a risk to the economy.

It was widely expected that Walmart would do everything to prove that its entry into the country would assist Massmart to bring prices down and benefit consumers.

National Consumer Forum chairperson Thami Bolani said the price cuts would provide much relief to cash-pressed consumers. “If we do have competition, consumers will have better options. We welcome this initiative because many families will start sending their children back to school.”

luphertc@thenewage.co.za

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