Wal-Mart is looking to take advantage of the US economic downturn through the launch of an advertising campaign highlighting the retailer's value credentials.

The campaign will run through the autumn and currently includes three television commercials - with more to come - based on a price comparison theme, a spokesperson for the company told just-food.

"The campaign focuses on sharing our value story," the spokesperson explained. "It is also a way of sharing with mom what she is going through in a challenging US climate. She wants to feel good about her purchases, to feel like she is a smart shopper."

The campaign is centred on a study conducted by IRI that looked at the shopping habits of 100,000 US households throughout 2007. According to Wal-Mart, the study found that, comparing like-for-like items, US consumers could have saved US$21bn on packaged groceries by shopping at Wal-Mart instead of other supermarkets and grocery retailers.

Unlike some other US retailers, Wal-Mart has been able to grow its sales since the onslaught of the global credit crisis. Figures released last week revealed sales at the retail giant had increased by 10% year-on-year during August.

Wal-Mart told just-food that it has been able to take advantage of the poor economic climate by better understanding the "value-oriented" customer.

"Our appeal is to the average American. Our customers' income bracket depends largely on where any given store is located. A specific kind of shopper is value-oriented no matter what their income. Over the past three years we have come to understand our customers better and now our marketing focuses on appealing to these people," the spokesperson added.