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Do supermarket prices change from week to week?

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  • Ellis, Colin

    ()
    (Daiwa Securities SMBC Europe Ltd)

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    Abstract

    This paper examines the behaviour of supermarket prices in the United Kingdom, using weekly scanner data supplied by Nielsen. A number of stylised facts about pricing behaviour are uncovered. First, prices change very frequently in supermarkets, with 40% of prices changing each week, and even controlling for ‘temporary’ changes, a quarter of prices change each week. Importantly, there is evidence that focusing on monthly observations, rather than weekly ones, overstates the implied stickiness of prices. Second, the probability of price changes is not constant over time – all product categories have declining hazard functions. Third, the range of price changes is very wide, with some very large price cuts and price rises; but despite this, a significant number of price changes are very small. Fourth, there appears to be little link between the frequency and magnitude of price changes – prices that change less frequently do not tend to change by more. Fifth, the strongest correlation between price and volume changes is contemporaneous, suggesting that prices and volumes move together from week to week. And sixth, rough analysis based on simplifying assumptions suggests that consumers are fairly price sensitive: volumes change by more than prices.

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    File URL: http://www.bankofengland.co.uk/research/Documents/workingpapers/2009/wp378.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Bank of England in its series Bank of England working papers with number 378.

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    Length: 27 pages
    Date of creation: 27 Nov 2009
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:boe:boeewp:0378

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    Keywords: Supermarket prices; behaviour of prices; demand elasticities;

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    References

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    1. Boivin, Jean & Giannoni, Marc P. & Mihov, Ilian, 2006. "Sticky prices and monetary policy: Evidence from disaggregated US data," CFS Working Paper Series 2007/14, Center for Financial Studies (CFS).
    2. S. Fabiani & M. Druant & I. Hernando & C. Kwapil & B. Landau & C. Loupias & Fernando Martins & T. Mathä & R. Sabbatini & H. Stahl & A. Stokman, 2005. "The Pricing Behaviour of Firms in the Euro Area: New Survey Evidence," Working Papers w200510, Banco de Portugal, Economics and Research Department.
    3. Mumtaz, Haroon & Zabczyk, Pawel & Ellis, Colin, 2009. "What lies beneath: what can disaggregated data tell us about the behaviour of prices?," Bank of England working papers 364, Bank of England.
    4. Mark Bils & Peter J. Klenow, 2002. "Some Evidence on the Importance of Sticky Prices," NBER Working Papers 9069, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Silvia Fabiani & Martine Druant & Ignacio Hernando & Claudia Kwapil & Bettina Landau & Claire Loupias & Fernando Martins & Thomas Mathä & Roberto Sabbatini & Harald Stahl & Ad Stokman, 2006. "What Firms' Surveys Tell Us about Price-Setting Behavior in the Euro Area," International Journal of Central Banking, International Journal of Central Banking, vol. 2(3), September.
    6. Taylor, John B, 1980. "Aggregate Dynamics and Staggered Contracts," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 88(1), pages 1-23, February.
    7. Gali, Jordi & Gertler, Mark, 1999. "Inflation dynamics: A structural econometric analysis," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(2), pages 195-222, October.
    8. Patrick J. Kehoe & Virgiliu Midrigan, 2007. "Sales and the real effects of monetary policy," Working Papers 652, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
    9. Rotemberg, Julio J, 1982. "Sticky Prices in the United States," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 90(6), pages 1187-1211, December.
    10. Luis J. Álvarez & Pablo Burriel & Ignacio Hernando, 2005. "Do decreasing hazard functions for price changes make any sense?," Banco de Espa�a Working Papers 0508, Banco de Espa�a.
    11. 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.
    12. Judith A. Chevalier & Anil K. Kashyap & Peter E. Rossi, 2003. "Why Don't Prices Rise During Periods of Peak Demand? Evidence from Scanner Data," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(1), pages 15-37, March.
    13. Martin Eichenbaum & Nir Jaimovich & Sergio Rebelo, 2008. "Reference Prices and Nominal Rigidities," NBER Working Papers 13829, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. McAdam, Peter & Willman, Alpo, 2007. "State-dependency and firm-level optimization: a contribution to Calvo price staggering," Working Paper Series 0806, European Central Bank.
    15. Laurent Baudry & Hervé Le Bihan & Patrick Sevestre & Sylvie Tarrieu, 2007. "What do Thirteen Million Price Records have to Say about Consumer Price Rigidity?," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 69(2), pages 139-183, 04.
    16. David Amirault & Carolyn Kwan & Gordon Wilkinson, 2005. "A Survey of the Price-Setting Behaviour of Canadian Companies," Bank of Canada Review, Bank of Canada, vol. 2004(Winter), pages 29-40.
    17. Sheshinski, Eytan & Weiss, Yoram, 1977. "Inflation and Costs of Price Adjustment," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 44(2), pages 287-303, June.
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    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Prices are not rigid in the UK, too
      by Economic Logician in Economic Logic on 2010-01-07 20:15:00
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    Cited by:
    1. Fernando Borraz & Leandro Zipitria, 2011. "Price Setting in Retailing: the Case of Uruguay," Documentos de Trabajo (working papers) 0211, Department of Economics - dECON.
    2. Gastón Chaumont & Miguel Fuentes & Felipe Labbé & Alberto Naudon, 2011. "Dinámica de Precios en Chile: Evidencia con datos de Supermercados," Working Papers Central Bank of Chile 642, Central Bank of Chile.
    3. Abe, Naohito & Tonogi, Akiyuki, 2010. "Micro and macro price dynamics in daily data," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(6), pages 716-728, September.
    4. Marcelo Delajara & José Antonio Murillo Garza, 2012. "Weekday with Low Prices: Evidence on Daily Seasonality of Foods, Beverages, and Tobacco Prices," Working Papers 2012-09, Banco de México.

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