Walmart wants to compete with dollar stores. But who has the best deals on the Coast?

Is the gap in prices among discount stores getting narrower?

According to a recent MarketWatch story, analysts suspect that Walmart is lowering prices to better compete with stores such as Dollar General and Family Dollar.

"During the past year, pricing for Walmart and Dollar General has been relatively in line," analysts led by Dan Wewer wrote in a note provided by Raymond James, a diversified financial services firm. "Our latest survey provides evidence that Walmart is reinvesting some of its tax savings into pricing as part of an effort to grow market share."

The survey found Walmart's prices for consumables (things such as laundry detergent and food) is 4.4 percent lower than Dollar General and 6.5 percent lower than Family Dollar.

At a Raymond James event, Walmart had said it would use tax overhaul benefits to enhance price investments while dollar store retailers said they would invest in pay, benefits and digital upgrades.

Here on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, the Sun Herald compared prices for seven items at three stores: Dollar General at 2040 Pass Road, Biloxi; Family Dollar at 2 Pass Road, Gulfport (corner of Pass and Courthouse roads); and Walmart at 2681 CT Switzer Drive, Biloxi.

The seven items were Crest ProHealth with Scope toothpaste; Dove six-pack of soap, 3.17-ounce bars; Gillette Clear Gel deodorant; Charmin Essentials bathroom tissue; Arm & Hammer liquid laundry detergent; French's Classic Yellow mustard, 14 ounce; and Folger's Classic Roast coffee in the canister.

One noticeable difference was that, in the stores, not all product sizes were consistent in availability. Walmart stores usually have more square footage and therefore more space for a variety of products and product sides, but items such as laundry detergent can have slight differences in product sizes. To determine which is the better value for you, break the prices down into cost per ounce or other measurement.

ItemWalmartDollar GeneralFamily Dollar
Crest ProHealth2.973.003.50
Dove 6-pack6.886.006.00
Gillette Clear Gel deodorant4.97 for 3.8 ounces3.50 for 3.85 ounces3.50 for 2.85 ounces
Charmin tissue4.97 for 6 Mega rolls3.75 for 6 Giant rolls4.95 for 9-pack
Arm & Hammer detergent5.96 for 100.5 fl. oz.5.00 for 75 fl. oz.5.00 for 75 fl. oz.

(.59 per ounce)(.66 per ounce)(.66 per ounce)
French's mustard1.561.501.50
Folger's coffee 7.48 for 25.4 ounces 7.00 for 22.6 ounces7.00 for 22.6 ounces

(.29 per ounce)

(.31 per ounce)(.31 per ounce)

Tammy Smith: 228-896-2130, @Simmiefran1