Bentonville, AR —In an effort to steer customers to its brick-and-mortar stores and lift online profitability, Walmart is starting to charge customers more to buy certain products online, reportsThe Wall Street Journal.

A new merchandising system in some cases lists products on with an online price and a lower “in the store” price. For instance, on Monday, Annie’s Natural Shells & White Cheddar are showing up at $1.79 online, but available for $1.08 in the store. The same product is showing for $1.79 in’s PantryPrime with an additional 25-cent coupon.

Walmart and Amazon are in a heated competition.

“We always work to offer the best price online relative to other sites,” a Walmart spokesperson  toldThe Journal. “It simply costs less to sell some items in stores. Customers can access those store prices online when they choose to pick up the item in store.”

The higher online prices are part of Walmart’s efforts to encourage more in-store shopping and to raise ecommerce margins by offsetting shipment costs, theJournal notes. Walmart ecommerce sales rose 60% in the U.S. in the most recent quarter.

At an October investors conference, Marc Lore, head of Walmart’s U.S. ecommerce unit, said “this year should be the largest loss in ecommerce, and we’ll see slight improvement next year.”

Posted on WholeFoods Magazine Online, 11/13/17