An aggressive Wal-Mart Stores Inc. advertising campaign that claims better prices than specific, named competitors has rankled rivals, which have complained to attorneys general in more than half a dozen states.
The targeted retailers, including Toys "R" Us Inc., Best Buy Co. and several regional supermarket chains, claim Wal-Mart cites inaccurate prices and compares differing products, such as laptop computers with separate specifications.
Wal-Mart defends the ads, begun last year, as accurate.
"We know competitors don't like it when we tell customers to compare prices and see for themselves," Wal-Mart spokesman Steven Restivo said. "We are confident on the legal, ethical and methodological standards associated with our price comparison ads."
Wal-Mart began the radio and television ads in 31 U.S. cities last spring as part of a broader campaign to regain its reputation for rock-bottom pricing, after it suffered a two-year sales slump in the U.S. following the recession. It launched an additional national ad blitz targeting Best Buy and Toys "R" Us during the holidays.