Walmart stores in Minnesota quit offering in-store price matches earlier this month.
The move is an extension of a test that began last year as the country's largest retailer quit price-matching in about 800 of its 5,000 U.S. stores.
"Retailers are learning that the most price-conscious customers cherry-pick where they buy, whether it's online or in stores," said Marshal Cohen, an analyst at the NPD Group. "Retail-only consumers are not as price-conscious."
The price-match policy was brought back by retailers like Walmart and Target in the recession to give consumers the impression of price sensitivity. Even if consumers don't ask for a price match, they feel a retailer is being fair by offering it.
Walmart tried to simplify its price-match policy in 2011 by not requiring consumers to show proof of a competitor's ad. It also added a Savings Catcher app to automatically give the customer the lower price from a competitor.
Still, only about 5 percent of consumers took advantage of matches.
Katie Goldetsky of Forest Lake, who shopped at Walmart in Roseville on Tuesday, said she tried to match prices but tapered off such efforts at Walmart. "After a while I felt as if I didn't need to anymore. Walmart's prices are lower than Target," she said.
Target dropped price-matching in 2002, brought it back in 2009 and says now it is still committed.
"We stand by offering guests our Price Match Guarantee, where Target will match the price if a guest buys a qualifying item at Target and finds the identical item for less in the Target circular, Target.com, select online competitors, or in a competitor's local print ad," Target spokeswoman Shandra Tollefson said in a statement.
Target will accept price-matching at the service desk or within 14 days of purchase. Others limit the adjustment period to seven days. Other retailers that match competitors' prices include Bed Bath & Beyond, Best Buy, Home Depot, Lowe's, J.C. Penney, Kohl's, Sears, and Toys 'R' Us.
Best Buy spokesman Jeff Shelman said no changes are anticipated in its policy. "There have been no significant changes since we made it permanent in early 2013," he said.
Even though Walmart is usually thought to have lower prices than Target, some analysts see Walmart's price match elimination as a negative. "It may give Target an advantage," said Brian Yarbrough, a retail analyst at Edward Jones. "Consumers see it as a way to bring prices down, but it's not used a lot."
Walmart isn't saying how many additional stores have dropped price-matching. The bigger test for Walmart s that no longer match competitors' prices will happen during the holidays. Retailers have often temporarily expanded price-match programs in November and December except on Black Friday.