The holidays may be over, but Target is not discarding its holiday price-matching policy.
 
The Minneapolis-based discount retailer announced Tuesday that it will match prices with select online competitors year-round. Those rivals include amazon.com, walmart.com, bestbuy.com, toysrus.com, and babiesrus.com. The move, effective immediately, extends Target’s holiday season price-matching policy that ran from November 1 through December 16.
 
The announcement also comes a week after the retailer reported flat sales in December at stores open for at least a year.
 
Under the terms of the policy, Target will match the price of an item with that on a qualifying online competitor’s website, or in a local competitor’s printed ad, for up to a week after the item is purchased. The retailer will also match prices of items found at its stores with those on its website, including items that are out of stock on target.com. Additionally, shoppers can request price matching prior to a purchase at Target stores.
 
The price-matching policy will exclude non-branded items, including produce not sold under a specific brand name, product warranties, cell phones and cell phone plans, and products and services sold through Target’s portrait studio, optical, and clinical divisions.
 
Target Chairman, President, and CEO Gregg Steinhafel said in a statement that Target’s price-match policy, combined with a 5 percent discount that shoppers receive if they use Target’s REDcard credit card, will provide “an unbeatable value.”
 
Online price-matching is the latest attempt from brick-and-mortar stores to combat “showrooming”—the practice of customers viewing products in stores only to buy them online at lower prices. Target matched prices with online competitors for the first time this holiday season, and the retailer said it received positive feedback.
 
Richfield-based electronics retailer Best Buy is matching prices with 20 online retailers on electronics and appliances at its physical stores through January 31, according to an Associated Press report. The company reportedly hasn’t said whether it would make that plan permanent.
 
In addition to introducing the price-matching policy, Target attempted to bolster its holiday sales by partnering with luxury retailer Neiman Marcus to offer a limited holiday collection that debuted on December 1. But demand for the collection was weak and shelves remained well-stocked three weeks after the launch, prompting Target to mark down prices by up to 70 percent.
 
In last week’s monthly sales recording, Target said that December same-store sales were strongest in food. And the retailer is now pushing its grocery line by launching a new ad campaign, “The Everyday Collection,” which includes a series of TV ads featuring food, paper towels, and laundry detergent as fashionable items with the help of runway models. According to a Star Tribune report, Target created the ads with the help of Minneapolis-based agency Mono. To view the ads, click here.
 
Target is Minnesota’s second-largest public company based on revenue, which totaled $68.5 billion in its fiscal year that ended in January 2012.
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