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Walmart announced yesterday the introduction of Walmart+ Assist, a program that offers customers on government assistance 50% off a monthly or annual Walmart+ paid membership plan.

Walmart said that "the program is available to all eligible new and existing members. Existing members who qualify and sign up will receive a prorated refund and the new price will start immediately."

The Information writes that "Walmart+, which typically costs $98 each year, is the retailer’s competitor to Amazon’s Prime membership, which costs $139 annually and offers perks including free two-day shipping and access to Amazon’s video and music streaming platforms. Walmart’s offering includes free shipping for online orders and free delivery from Walmart stores for orders of more than $35, as well as free subscriptions to the Paramount+ streaming service and a pet telehealth platform.

"The move is a departure from other membership and streaming subscriptions, which have raised their prices in recent months. Amazon last raised the price of a Prime membership in early 2022, but more recently upped the minimum order size for free Amazon Fresh grocery delivery to $150 from $35. It’s also the first major announcement related to the program following the departure of the program’s former leader, Chris Cracchiolo, last month. Cracchiolo, a longtime American Express executive, was succeeded by Venessa Yates, a seven-year Walmart veteran who previously worked in merchandising roles."

KC's View:

At a time when income inequality continues to be a major problem in the US, and when there are a lot of people suffering and forced to use government assistance, this is a legitimate deal, and positions Walmart to capture a broadening slice of the US consumer base.

Very smart on Walmart's part.