Amazon and Walmart are going to head-to-head in a shopping event studded with discounts. It comes at a time of slowing U.S. retail sales. Fred Katayama reports.
It's the retail sales showdown of the summer: Amazon versus Walmart. Amazon launching a shopping event Wednesday called "Prime Day," promising "more deals than Black Friday." --- doorbusters like a 32-inch LED TV for $75. It's only for Prime members who pay $99 a year for free shipping. Walmart punching back with discounts on nearly 2,000 items and limited time offers such as Disney's Frozen Anna Doll for $10. And it lowered the bar for free shipping to minimum orders of $35. It's reminiscent of Alibaba's online shopping day, Singles' Day. Unlike Walmart, which regularly features three month-long discounts it calls "rollbacks," Amazon rarely runs big promotions. Forrester Research predicts Prime Day will be a success but won't make a huge impact for Amazon because it's a one-day event limited to Prime members. Amazon says it's holding the sale to mark its 20th birthday. But the showdown with Walmart comes when consumers are reluctant to open their wallets. U.S. retail sales unexpectedly slipped last month. Forrester Research analyst Sucharita Mulpuru said, "If we see more of these promotions come along, then it might imply a bigger statement about Amazon's demand generation issues. But this is such a one-off, it's hard to do that." Amazon shares, up four straight sessions, have gained 50 percent this year, while Wal-Mart's shares are down 14 percent.