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Wal-Mart and Costco make price shopping easier online

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Six major retailers will be making it easier to secure good deals on their websites. But Amazon, the world's biggest online retailer, is staying away from the initiative.

The companies -- Wal-Mart, Costco, Walgreens, FreshDirect and CVS -- agreed to add unit prices to their product pages over the next nine months.

Unit prices, which are already common at many of the retailers' physical locations, show what a package of ground beef costs per pound, for example, or the price of a single aspirin within a bottle of 300. That helps customers price shop when different products are different sizes.

"We think that this is going to make shopping at Walmart and realizing how much you're saving at Walmart even easier," said Ravi Jariwala, a spokesman for Walmart.

The agreement was announced on Tuesday by New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who helped broker it.

Amazon's resistance to unit pricing confused analysts.

Sucharita Mulpuru-Kodali, a vice president at retail analysts Forrester Research, wrote in an email that, since Amazon often has the lowest prices, comparisons usually benefit them.

"I have no idea why Amazon wouldn't agree to this," she wrote.
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