07/29/2014 10:47 EDT | Updated 09/28/2014 05:59 EDT

Target Clarifies National Grocery Price Matching Policy


Target Canada is clarifying a major policy change on price matching, the retailer told CBC News Tuesday.

Starting Tuesday, consumers can present digital flyers from selected online Canadian retailers and Target will match that price, confirms Lisa Gibson, spokesperson for Target Canada.

Those retailers include,,,,,, and

Target will also match any other retailers advertising in the local area. That means, consumers can present a digital copy of a local ad, or a digital copy of one of the selected online retailers. Target will meet or beat that price.

However, Canada-wide price matching — which for many consumers is considered the "Holy Grail" — is not permitted, Gibson clarified Tuesday in an email to CBC News.

"We'll continue to offer price matching if a guest buys a qualifying item at a Target store and then finds the identical item for less in the following week's Target flyer," said Target in a news release.

"To deliver fast service with unbeatable prices, price matching is now available at any check lane, not only the Guest Service desk."

Wal-Mart's official policy — which it calls "Ad Match" — is the same. It allows for price matching in local areas.

Despite that, consumers online have reported individual Wal-Mart store managers deviating from the official policy since last winter. That has led to the growth in forums where consumers seek out the very lowest price anywhere in Canada, to be matched by their local retailer.

For example:

A grocery store in Manitoba might advertise laundry soap for $2.88. A shopper in Halifax can take their smartphone or tablet to their local Wal-Mart outlet and ask to "match" that price. Some managers have allowed cashiers to override their own price and honour the price from Manitoba.

Halifax shopper Nichola Fish-Cumine told CBC her family was saving hundreds of dollars each month using the policy, with the help of social media.

"There's so many forums out there. A lot of us will help each other find out where those sales are," said Fish-Cumine.

Wal-Mart will be sticking to its local matching policy, said Alex Roberton, the company's director of corporate affairs in Canada.

"We'll ad-match with online flyers from other local merchants and as well using their printed flyers," he said Friday.

Photo gallery Target Canada's Empty Shelves See Gallery