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The New York Times reported this week that American retailers are having to depend on sales to bring people into the stores, even as new spring merchandise appears on store shelves.

The problem? People are accustomed to bargains and don’t want to buy if they don’t see themselves as getting a value.

The trend seems to be affecting everything from upscale boutiques to discount department stores, and retailers are concerned that it will continue even after the war in Iraq ends and people start going out again.
KC's View:
Ultimately, retailers have made the mistake of allowing “value” to be defined as the cheapest item on the shelf. This is particularly true of the supermarket industry, but it affects any segment that competes with Wal-Mart.

Value almost always means a fair price…but it also can be expanded to mean the right item at the right time, an item that will last a long time, or will bring satisfaction to the user.

When value is defined only in the context of the lowest price, it often means that the retailer is being defined by fear, not by any strong sense of what his or her company stands for.