Debt Store Survey 2008

Reporter: Mark Gibson

They're known as discount department stores. The big three are Kmart, Target and Big W.

Which one offers you the best value for money?

We put the big three to the big test, buying a random selection of seventeen items from two Kmart stores, two Targets and two Big W's.

And we found some big savings.

The George Foreman grill cost almost $100 at Target in Morley and Bull Creek. The same item was just under $90 at Kmart Garden City and Mirrabooka and the same grilling machine cost less than $70 at Big W in Riverton and Mirrabooka. A saving of thirty dollars.

Kmart was the cheapest for the latest ipod Nano, with a price tag of $159.

The same ipod Nano cost $167 at Big W and just under $170 at Target.

If you're looking for a blender, the Breville Optiva will set you back around $69 at Big W. The same blender is $74.95 at Target and $89 at Kmart.

The Remington Ceramic Hair Straightener varies from $29.95 at our two Kmart's and Target Morley, to $40 at Big W Riverton and almost $49 at Big W Mirrabooka.

Even the latest Harry Potter book starts at $13.74 at Big W Mirrabooka but could cost you almost $20 dollars at the two Target stores.

"Kmart and Big W are going for the same market, it's more of a traditional discount store where you have a very wide range of merchandise so it's more one stop shopping."

Doctor Kate Mizerski is a senior marketing lecturer at Edith Cowan University.

"People in the current economic climate are going to be looking more towards the discount operators, I mean given that the merchandise in appearance anyway is very similar you know nobody sees your tags, nobody says where did you buy that?" says Kate.

So, the verdict. Which discount department store saves you the most?

Our basket of seventeen items cost the most at Target. $647 the Bull Creek store and $634.88 in Morley.

Next was Kmart. $621 at Garden City and around $609 at Mirrabooka.

Big W was the cheapest and the most consistent. Just over $594 at both Riverton and Mirrabooka.