If you remember, Both Walmart and Best Buy competed in a discount war with Apple’s iPhone 5, where both retailers offered steep discounts on the new smartphone. Best Buy dropped the price down to $150 for the 16GB entry-level model, while Walmart dropped it to just $127. However, it turns out that Best Buy took quite a hit on profits that day, and the company is accusing Walmart of misleading customers with their iPhone 5 discount ad.
Essentially, Best Buy wasn’t too happy about Walmart’s steeper discount on the iPhone 5 because they don’t think that Walmart had enough iPhone 5 units to meet demand. Therefore, Best Buy was filling the stock at a discount that Walmart doesn’t have. Best Buy has reportedly claimed it lost about $65,000 in profit on the day Walmart advertised its iPhone 5 promotion, and the store says it was forced to match Walmart’s advertised price, even though they claim Walmart didn’t have enough iPhone 5 inventory in the first place.
However, Walmart claims that it did, in fact, have sufficient stock of the iPhone 5, quoting 98% availability at its stores carrying the device. Walmart had noted as the sale launched that it was working closely with Apple on the promotion and was securing significant numbers of units, but that the sale was first-come first-serve with no rain checks being offered.
Any way you look at it, it seems Best Buy was simply just upset that Walmart was undercutting them, and they felt like they needed a reliable excuse in order to effectively complain about the price difference. $65,000 in one day may not seem like a lot, and we don’t know what Best Buy’s sales goals were for the day, but that much of a loss in a single day is huge any way you look at it.