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The Timing and Magnitude of Retail Store Markdowns: Evidence from Weekends and Holidays

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  • Elizabeth J. Warner
  • Robert B. Barsky

Abstract

We examine daily prices of eight goods at seventeen retail stores collected in Ann Arbor, Michigan, over a four-month period from November 1 to February 28. We focus on weekly and seasonal price patterns, and on the frequency of price markdowns or "sales." There were frequent markdowns in the intensive shopping period prior to Christmas, and a tendency for such sales to occur on weekends. We interpret these findings as evidence that a significant number of markdowns are timed to occur when shopping intensity is exogenously high. We complement the imperfect information-based motives for sales in the literature by contributing an additional element based on the role of bulk shopping and increasing returns in the shopping technology.

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  • Elizabeth J. Warner & Robert B. Barsky, 1995. "The Timing and Magnitude of Retail Store Markdowns: Evidence from Weekends and Holidays," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 110(2), pages 321-352.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:qjecon:v:110:y:1995:i:2:p:321-352.
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.2307/2118442
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    1. Laurence Ball & David Romer, 1990. "Real Rigidities and the Non-Neutrality of Money," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 57(2), pages 183-203.
    2. Roland Benabou, 1988. "Search, Price Setting and Inflation," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 55(3), pages 353-376.
    3. Akerlof, George A & Yellen, Janet L, 1985. "Can Small Deviations from Rationality Make Significant Differences to Economic Equilibria?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(4), pages 708-720, September.
    4. Ball, Laurence & Mankiw, N. Gregory, 1994. "A sticky-price manifesto," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 41(1), pages 127-151, December.
    5. Elizabeth J. Warner & Robert B. Barsky, 1995. "The Timing and Magnitude of Retail Store Markdowns: Evidence from Weekends and Holidays," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 110(2), pages 321-352.
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