Wal-Mart fires back at rivals over ad campaign

Fri Jan 4, 2013 3:16pm EST
 

(Reuters) - Wal-Mart Stores Inc (WMT.N: Quote) has gone on the defensive after some competitors accused the world's largest retailer of using inaccurate information in recent ad campaigns and filed complaints with state legal officials.

The industry leader claims to offer better prices on some products than specific rivals whom it mentions by name in the radio and TV campaign which began running last spring. Wal-Mart stepped up that price-based ad campaign over the holidays.

The move prompted competitors including Best Buy Co Inc (BBY.N: Quote) and Toys R Us Inc TOY.UL to complain to attorneys general in several U.S. states over the past few weeks.

The news was first reported by the Wall Street Journal on Thursday.

The competitors argue that Wal-Mart's advertisements cross a line by drawing misleading comparisons or promoting products the company does not have in ample supply.

In addition to taking aim at national chains such as Toys R Us and Best Buy, the Wal-Mart campaign has also targeted regional supermarket chains.

A Best Buy spokesman told Reuters on Friday that its legal team has contacted a "handful" of attorneys general in states including Florida, Michigan and Illinois.

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A shopper carts her purchases from a Wal-Mart store in Mexico City, April 24, 2012. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido