Shopping Showdown: Walmart Takes On Amazon’s ‘Prime Day’

Shopping Showdown: Walmart Takes On Amazon’s ‘Prime Day’

Wal-Mart sues Visa for $5 billion over card swipe fees
By Millie Dent

In case it wasn’t already perfectly obvious that Walmart is gunning for Amazon, the Bentonville, Ark. giant just kicked up its e-tailing competition.

Walmart announced today that it will also offer thousands of discounts for online purchases on July 15, the same day Amazon plans on hosting its Prime Day shopping extravaganza. And in its blog post announcing the sales, Walmart took a clear swipe at Amazon’s push to have shoppers subscribe to its $99 a year Prime service.

“We’ve heard some retailers are charging $100 to get access to a sale,” the Walmart blog says. “But the idea of asking customers to pay extra in order to save money just doesn’t add up for us. We’re standing up for our customers and everyone else who sees no rhyme or reason for paying a premium to save.”

Related: Amazon’s Prime Concern—A New Online Blitz by Walmart

Walmart, the world’s largest retailer, is also offering another limited-time deal to boost e-commerce sales. Starting today, customers will receive free standard shipping with online purchases that cost a minimum of $35, instead of the usual $50. The change will be effective for at least 30 days. 

In February, Walmart CEO Doug McMillon told analysts on an earnings conference call that the company would invest between $1.2 billion and $1.5 billion in e-commerce throughout the year.

Neither Walmart nor Amazon has released information about specific sale offers yet, so the early hype might prove unwarranted, but the battle is clearly on and now the claws are out.

Update: Amazon responded to Walmart’s gibe with its own accusation. “We’ve heard some retailers are charging higher prices for items in their physical stores than they do for the same items online,” Greg Greeley, vice president of Amazon Prime, wrote in an email to Bloomberg. “The idea of charging your in-store customers more than your online customers doesn’t add up for us.”

Chart of the Day: Long Way to Go on Coronavirus Testing

Healthcare workers with ChristianaCare test people with symptoms of the coronavirus in a drive-thru in the parking lot of Chase
Jennifer Corbett
By The Fiscal Times Staff

The White House on Friday unveiled plans for a new effort to ramp up testing for Covid-19, which experts say is an essential part of limiting the spread of the virus. This chart from Vox gives a sense of just how far the U.S. has to go to catch up to other countries that are dealing with the pandemic, including South Korea, the leading virus screener with 3,692 tests per million people. The U.S., by comparison, has done about 23 tests per million people as of March 12.

After Spending $2 Billion, Air Force Bails Out on Planned Upgrades of B-2 Bombers

The B-2 Spirit stealth bomber flies over the Missouri Sky after taking off from the Whiteman Air For..
© Hyungwon Kang / Reuters
By The Fiscal Times Staff

The Air Force has scrapped a planned upgrade of its B-2 stealth bomber fleet — even after spending $2 billion on the effort — because defense contractor Northrup Grumman didn’t have the necessary software expertise to complete the project on time and on budget, Bloomberg’s Anthony Capaccio reports, citing the Pentagon’s chief weapons buyer.

Ellen Lord, the undersecretary of defense for acquisition and sustainment, told reporters that the nearly $2 billion that had already been spent on the program wasn’t wasted because “we are still going to get upgraded electronic displays.”

Big Hurdle for Sanders’ Plan to Cancel Student Debt

Chip East / REUTERS
By The Fiscal Times Staff

Bernie Sanders wants to eliminate $1.6 trillion in student debt, to be paid for by a tax on financial transactions, but doing so won’t be easy, says Josh Mitchell of The Wall Street Journal.  

The main problem for Sanders is that most Americans don’t support the plan, with 57% of respondents in a poll last fall saying they oppose the idea of canceling all student debt. And the politics are particularly thorny for Sanders as he prepares for a likely general election run, Mitchell says: “Among the strongest opponents are groups Democrats hope to peel away from President Trump: Rust Belt voters, independents, whites, men and voters in rural areas.”

Number of the Day: $7 Million

NY mayor cites climate stance in endorsing Obama
By The Fiscal Times Staff

That’s how much Michael Bloomberg is spending per day in his pursuit of the Democratic presidential nomination, according to new monthly filings with the Federal Election Commission. “In January alone, Bloomberg dropped more than $220 million on his free-spending presidential campaign,” The Hill says. “That breaks down to about $7.1 million a day, $300,000 an hour or $5,000 per minute.”