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Do Sales Matter? Evidence from UK Food Retailing

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  • Lloyd, Tim A.
  • Morgan, C. Wyn
  • McCorriston, Steve
  • Zgovu, Evious
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    Abstract

    This paper assesses the role of sales as a feature of price dynamics using scanner data. The study analyses a unique, high frequency panel of supermarket prices consisting of over 230,000 weekly price observations on around 500 products in 15 categories of food stocked by the UK’s seven largest retail chains. In all, 1,700 weekly time series are available at the barcode-specific level including branded and own-label products. The data allows the frequency, magnitude and duration of sales to be analysed in greater detail than has hitherto been possible with UK data. The main results are: (i) sales are a key feature of aggregate price variation with around 40 per cent of price variation being accounted for by sales once price differences for each UPC level across the major retailers are accounted for; (ii) much of the price variation that is observed in the UK food retailing sector is accounted for by price differences between retailers; (iii) only a small proportion of price variation that is observed in UK food retailing is common across the major retailers suggesting that cost shocks originating at the manufacturing level is not one of the main sources of price variation in the UK; (iv) own-label products also exhibit considerable sales behaviour though this is less important than sales for branded goods; and (v) there is some evidence of coordination in the timing of sales across retailers insofar as the probability of a sale at the UPC level at a given retailer increases if the product is also on sale at another retailer.

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    File URL: http://purl.umn.edu/108774
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Agricultural Economics Society in its series 85th Annual Conference, April 18-20, 2011, Warwick University, Coventry, UK with number 108774.

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    Date of creation: Apr 2011
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    Handle: RePEc:ags:aesc11:108774

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    Related research

    Keywords: Sales; price variation; retail; Consumer/Household Economics; Demand and Price Analysis; L16; L66; Q13.;

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    References

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    1. Berck, Peter & Brown, Jennifer & Perloff, Jeffrey M. & Villas-Boas, Sofia Berto, 2008. "Sales: Tests of theories on causality and timing," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 26(6), pages 1257-1273, November.
    2. Martin Pesendorfer, 2002. "Retail Sales: A Study of Pricing Behavior in Supermarkets," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 75(1), pages 33-66, January.
    3. Emi Nakamura, 2008. "Pass-Through in Retail and Wholesale," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(2), pages 430-37, May.
    4. Emmanuel Dhyne & Luis J. Alvarez & Herve Le Bihan & Giovanni Veronese & Daniel Dias & Johannes Hoffmann & Nicole Jonker & Patrick Lunnemann & Fabio Rumler & Jouko Vilmunen, 2006. "Price Changes in the Euro Area and the United States: Some Facts from Individual Consumer Price Data," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(2), pages 171-192, Spring.
    5. Aguirregabiria, Victor, 1999. "The Dynamics of Markups and Inventories in Retailing Firms," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 66(2), pages 275-308, April.
    6. Judith A. Chevalier & Anil K. Kashyap & Peter E. Rossi, 2000. "Why Don't Prices Rise During Periods of Peak Demand? Evidence from Scanner Data," NBER Working Papers 7981, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Emi Nakamura & Jón Steinsson, 2008. "Five Facts about Prices: A Reevaluation of Menu Cost Models," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 123(4), pages 1415-1464, November.
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