CLEVELAND - The number one retailer in the world, Walmart , is attacking Giant Eagle's prices in a television ad. The marketing campaign is getting shoppers attention, as they wonder which store really offers the most savings.
5 On Your Side's Consumer Unit did the comparison shopping for you at four stores to find the cheapest.
Consumers are stretching their dollar further with coupons and by shopping discount stores, comparing prices at every grocery store available.
"I'm constantly looking and looking at places. I didn't even think to look at that I never shopped at before," said Amanda Melda, a Walmart customer.
As consumers fight to hold onto every last cent, grocery stores are fighting for every dollar. The number one retailer in the world is acting like an underdog, taking aim at regional giants throughout the country. The local ad takes you along on a shopping trip at a Canton Walmart.
"It's really a strategic move by Walmart, saying we have to fight these smaller players. This is something that big players in business never do," said professor Elad Granot, from Cleveland State University's Monte Ahuja College of Business.
Granot said while Walmart built its business on low prices, it's fighting to maintain that position.
"They are starting to lose this core group of people who just don't perceive Walmart as cost effective enough," said Granot.
So which store allows you to cut costs the most? To find out, we made our own grocery list, which included 11 items, such as produce, potato chips and pasta. We shopped at four stores: Giant Eagle, Walmart, Marc's and the newest and expanding low-cost grocer Valu King .
"We don't run weekly specials and we don't play the high-low game, so this is an everyday low price. Our everyday low price on bananas is 28 cents a pound," said John Tedesco, Senior Vice President of Valu King.
Valu King's bananas were 21 cents cheaper than any other store. That's a 43 percent savings per pound.
Tedesco said the store keeps prices low by displaying products on the pallets or the cardboard boxes they're shipped in, charging for bags, and having you bag your own groceries.
"It's an incredible labor savings for us and labor is the number one cost in the supermarket," said Tedesco.
Valu King sells coffee for $6.77. At Giant Eagle the cost is more than $12.
"I used to shop at Giant Eagle, but they carry the same things as Giant Eagle does at such a cheaper price," said shopper Kisha Clark.
Giant Eagle owns Valu King. That surprised some shoppers. Giant Eagle has many brands beside their flagship grocery store, and plans to open more of its brands in northeast Ohio soon.
Giant Eagle will open a Market District store, which is described as a culinary shopping destination. One store will open in Solon and another in Strongsville starting next year.
Even though the chain owns and runs multiple brands, prices vary. Giant Eagle's prices were 27 percent higher than Valu King. Why? Tedesco said it's that labor savings, and negotiation.
"There's a constant negotiation and we tell our customers if we can't buy it right, we won't sell it. Sometimes you come into the store you might not find your favorite brand, but understand we are doing that to get the lowest possible cost which translates to the lowest possible retail," Tedesco said.
Valu King has most products except baby food and diapers.
"The margins on diapers and baby food are so low it would cause us to have to sell those at a loss," Tedesco said.
Giant Eagle vs Walmart
So, how did Giant Eagle compare to Walmart?
"I compare prices at home when I make my list and Walmart seems to be better for my budget," Melda said.
She typically splits her grocery shopping list in two. She shops at Walmart, and her husband at Giant Eagle. Melda said the list at Walmart is typically longer, but she likes the meat at Giant Eagle.
In the Walmart TV ad, the shopper spent $222.42 at Walmart. The ad said that was a 23 percent savings over the shopping trip at Giant Eagle. It should be noted, the shoppers who appear in the Walmart ads are compensated. That's in the fine print of the ad.
We didn't hit the jackpot as much as the shopper in the ad. We saved 14 percent at Walmart. That's without coupons.
Coupons make the difference
For couponer Rachel Krych, Giant Eagle's loyalty programs are game changers.
"They have double coupons. They have Fuel Perks," said Krych. She says she saves 70 percent to 80 percent at Giant Eagle and shows you how to do it on her blog, Couponing with Rachel .
"Using savvy coupon tips you can easily get a greater savings at Giant Eagle," said Krych.
Valu King prices were the lowest. Walmart and Marc's were in second and third place but the margin was thin -- just more than $1 separated the two stores. Giant Eagle prices were the highest. These results were for the week we shopped. Prices vary depending on sales.
Deciding where to shop depends on how you shop. Do you want to bag your own groceries or