category killer


Definition of category killer

: a very popular or successful product, store, etc., that dominates competitors in a particular category Their approach delivered search results that creamed the competition's, and it served them up in a simple, quick-loading, no-frills format. It was a stone-cold category killer.— Lev Grossman, Time, 22 Dec. 2003 especially : a chain store that dominates the sale of merchandise in a particular category (such as toys, sporting goods, or office supplies) by offering a large selection of products at discounted prices The big discounters are following another set of retailers that have been making their mark throughout the five boroughs: the so-called category killers, who sell basically one type of merchandise, be it books, apparel, linen or electronic goods. — Douglas Martin, New York Times, 11 Dec. 1994 Founded by Charles Lazarus in 1957, Toys “R” Us was the original “category killer”—industry jargon for a chain of large stores that offered low prices on almost every product and brand in its category and killed competing local retailers. — Karl Taro Greenfeld, Time, 19 Oct. 1998

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First Known Use of category killer

1990, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for category killer

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The first known use of category killer was in 1990

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Last Updated

24 Apr 2020

Cite this Entry

“Category killer.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 May. 2020.

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More Definitions for category killer

category killer


Financial Definition of category killer

What It Is

A category killer is a large company that is more efficient but less specialized than other merchants in the niche or industry.

How It Works

Wal-Mart is a classic example of a category killer. By being cheaper, bigger, more convenient, and more well-known, it has an advantage over smaller stores and specialty stores. A wide selection of merchandise is a common characteristic of a category killer (which in this context is often referred to as a "big box" store).

Why It Matters

Category killers are controversial. On one hand, they are champions of capitalism -- their ability to be more efficient often leads to lower prices for consumers. On the other hand, their low prices sometimes come at the expense of product quality, customer service and more modestly capitalized competitors.

Source: Investing Answers

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