With flat December sales dampening its holiday shopping season, Target today announced a policy change that could bolster the retailer's value-driven reputation — year-round online price-matching.

Target implemented price-matching last year from Nov. 1 to Dec. 16, marking the first time the retailer matched prices for online competitors. But effective immediately, Target will match prices from select online retailers like Amazon, Walmart, Best Buy and Toys "R" Us without the holiday promotion or the small calendar window.

For Target shoppers that purchase an item at a Target store and then find the identical item for less in the following week's Target circular, or within seven days from an online retailer or a local competitor's printed ad, Target will match the price.

Target rivals like Walmart and Best Buy both have stopped short of offering a permanent price-match policy with online competitors.

Target Chairman and CEO Gregg Steinhafel said in the announcement that the new policy gives shoppers confidence to "shop at Target every day for the best value in retail."

"We know that our guests often compare prices online," Steinhafel said. "With our new Price Match Policy and the additional five percent savings guests receive when they use their REDcard, Target provides an unbeatable value."

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