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Do supermarket prices change from week to week?

  • Ellis, Colin

    ()

    (Daiwa Securities SMBC Europe Ltd)

Registered author(s):

    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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    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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    1. 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.
    2. Silvia Fabiani & Martine Druant & Ignacio Hernando & Claudia Kwapil & Bettina Landau & Claire Loupias & Fernando Martins & Thomas Mathä & Roberto Sabbatini & Harald Stahl & Ad Stokman, 2005. "The pricing behaviour of firms in the Euro area: new survey evidence," Banco de Espa�a Working Papers 0536, Banco de Espa�a.
    3. 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.
    4. 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.
    5. Martin Eichenbaum & Nir Jaimovich & Sergio Rebelo, 2008. "Reference Prices and Nominal Rigidities," NBER Working Papers 13829, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. 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.
    7. Peter E. Rossi & Judith A. Chevalier & Anil K. Kashyap, 2002. "Why Don't Prices Rise During Periods of Peak Demand? Evidence from Scanner Data," Yale School of Management Working Papers ysm291, Yale School of Management.
    8. McAdam, Peter & Willman, Alpo, 2007. "State-dependency and firm-level optimization: a contribution to Calvo price staggering," Working Paper Series 0806, European Central Bank.
    9. Mark Bils & Peter J. Klenow, 2004. "Some Evidence on the Importance of Sticky Prices," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(5), pages 947-985, October.
    10. repec:nbr:nberre:0126 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Gali, Jordi & Gertler, Mark, 1999. "Inflation dynamics: A structural econometric analysis," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(2), pages 195-222, October.
    12. Miles Parker, 2014. "Price-setting behaviour in New Zealand," Reserve Bank of New Zealand Discussion Paper Series DP2014/04, Reserve Bank of New Zealand.
    13. Mankiw, N Gregory, 1985. "Small Menu Costs and Large Business Cycles: A Macroeconomic Model," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 100(2), pages 529-38, May.
    14. 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).
    15. Sheshinski, Eytan & Weiss, Yoram, 1977. "Inflation and Costs of Price Adjustment," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 44(2), pages 287-303, June.
    16. 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.
    17. Taylor, John B, 1980. "Aggregate Dynamics and Staggered Contracts," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 88(1), pages 1-23, February.
    18. 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.
    19. Patrick J. Kehoe & Virgiliu Midrigan, 2007. "Sales and the real effects of monetary policy," Working Papers 652, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
    20. 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.
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