Wal*Mart & consumer goods manufacturers

Help settle an argument between my husband and me.

I say that some “name brand” stuff one buys at WalMart is often specially produced for sale to WalMart, and hence may not be equal in quality to the same branded goods sold elsewhere. They make it cheaper so WalMart can sell it cheaper, because that’s what WalMart demands.

Jeans that are now sold at WalMart in the USA come to mind. I read that the manufacturer, darned if I can remember who, and my Google-fu is poor tonight, are produced especially for WalMart a) cheaper, and b) overseas.

Is this true? Is this common of other consumer goods sold at Wal*Mart in the US and for us, Canada?

My husband says:

“Hypothetically speaking, assume that you have a Black & Decker saw from Wal*Mart in the box, and an identical one from Sears. If they both have the same UPC and scanning them both shows the same number, how can you tell them apart?”

Who’s right? Me? Him? Both of us for some goods?

You are correct. Wal-Mart has an variety of store brands that they contract out for manufacturers to produce for them. Here is a list:


Savannah, I believe that brand is Levi Strauss Signature.

Now that I reread your question, your husband is right too. If the goods look the same as they are at another store and have the same UPC, then they are the same. Manufacturers don’t produce a lower quality imitation of products found elsewhere to sell to Wal-Mart.

FWIW, I have a pair that I continuously get compliments on. They’re hot.

There was a massive thread about this a while back but the basic gist of it is that Walmart & Co often contract out lower quality parts from high quality brands but they will have a different label such as the Levi Signature range. Items with the same model number will be the same.

Cite? :smiley:

I believe that you are both right.

I have seen items at Wal-mart from name brand companies that are of lower quality than the rest of the company’s products and are sold exclusively at Wal-mart.

An example would be the Mongoose bicycles found at Wal-mart. Mongoose is a reputable bike maker whose dual suspension mountain bikes average around $800 (I believe that there is an entry level model at around $300 to $400, and their best model is around $2000). The dual suspension Mongoose bicycles sold at Wal-mart have much cheaper frames and much cheaper components and cost around $175. They look like expensive bicycles at first glace. However if you look closely, you can tell the difference. You will not find the Wal-mart Mongoose bicycle on the Mongoose bicycle website, you wont even find it being sold new anywhere else in the world (not that I could find anyway- same name, same model number).

I have read about a name brand computer manufacturer who sold a certain version of their computer only to Wal-mart. It just had a little smaller hard drive, a little less Ram, a little less video memory than their usual entry level model.

However, I believe that a product with the same name and same UPC has to be the same whether sold at Wal-mart or Sears.

We had a huge thread on this before.
No one was able to produce a single instance of “Brand A Model 1” being different in Wal-Mart than “Brand A Model 1” being sold at any other retailer.
There was a lot of “Brand B Model 1” at non-Wal-Mart retailers, while Wal-Mart sells a similar product named “Brand B Model 1 Subtype B”, with the Subtype B written in an inconspicuous fashion.
Basically, if you know a product line inside and out, you’d never be fooled.
If you’re a casual consumer, it’s quite likely that you will confuse the two different items.
It annoys me because it makes it very tricky to use Consumer Reports to compare products being sold there. I don’t know if their Michelin [Store Specific Model] is really a good touring tire or not, as there’s not a single review out there anywhere in the world. Maybe it’s just like the average product from the Symmetry line, maybe not.
My general experience with Wal-Mart product quality has been very good though. I feel that people want Wal-Mart product to be bad because the prices are so low, as there is the old expectation that price equals quality. I find that if you don’t buy the absolute lowest-end product they sell in a category you tend to get a very serviceable product.

You are both right because you presented a false dichotomy.

That’s what I was thinking of: not so much WalMart’s store brands, but other known manufacturers producing goods exclusively for WalMart, but cheaper versions. My husband wasn’t aware of this practise, and figured all products sold at Wal*Mart from a recognisable brand name would be equivalent in quality as their products sold in other retail outlets.

I should have searched the Boards first for a similar thread, d’oh. And I had to refresh myself on “false dichotomy”, too.

My perception is generally that WalMart stuff is cheap and flimsy, and that Costco stuff is more expensive but much better quality. I want more reasons, along with the markedly differing labour/business philosophies of both companies, to turn right at Veterans’ Memorial Parkway and go to Costco to shop instead of WalMart.

My husband likes Wal*Mart. I do not. I prefer Costco; he does not. Although a trip to Wally World does allow for further study of the Walmartians, a most interesting species…