Hawaii’s half a dozen Walmart stores are preparing to slash the prices of almost 20,000 products this week in an effort to boost sales at their Hawaii locations. According to a press release from Wal-Mart Stores Inc., these discounts will be as low as a 10 percent drop to as high as 50 percent and cover a wide variety of items.
Walmart has already made news here in Hawaii after its attempt to convert its one-and-only Kauai, Hawaii store on the rural island of Kauai into Hawaii’s first Super Walmart. Walmart’s attempt to renovate and increase the size of the Kauai location was met with widespread approval from Kauai’s residents, but ended in disaster when Kauai’s elected county officials ignored the will of the island’s voters and created the state of Hawaii’s first anti-big box bill which effectively banned any and all future “big box” stores from opening on Kauai.
This “big box ban” caused widespread fervor throughout the state, prompting headlines in Hawaii’s two major newspapers: The Honolulu Advertiser and the Honolulu Star-Bulletin. Walmart is currently working on an appeal of the County of Kauai’s ban, with the majority of Kauai residents approving this defiance.
The latest report of price-slashing at the world’s largest brick-and-mortar retailer is set to spark more headlines during this back-to-school season. Walmart in Hawaii is also planning a large advertising blitz to promote the price slashes, which are bigger than last year’s discounts.
The discounts will be aimed mostly at the back-to-school market. For example, you can buy two bottles of glue,a 24-pack of colored crayons, and four notebooks for a total of $1. Walmart will also advertise that, for $50, Hawaii customers will be able to purchase about a week’s amount of school clothes, although this may not be as attractive as more and more Hawaii schools move towards a school uniform dressing code.
I asked several Walmart customers what they thought about the retailer’s plan to slash prices by up to 50 percent. “I think it is great,” said one shopper at Walmart’s Keeaumoku location next to Ala Moana Shopping Center on Oahu. “It will let me get more for my dollar, which is great what with the way Hawaii’s cost of living is so outrageously high,” the shopper said.
There are eight Walmarts in Hawaii, with no planned new openings. Unless Walmart’s appeal is approved, there are no Walmart Superstores opened, or planned to be opened, in Hawaii. There is also a Sam’s Club on the island of Oahu, which is similar to a Costco but run by Walmart. The current price discounts do not apply to Sam’s Club.