IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Sales: Tests of Theories on Causality and Timing


  • Berck, Peter
  • Brown, Jennifer
  • Perloff, Jeffrey M
  • Villas-Boas, Sofia B.


Modern theories of sales make conflicting predictions about the temporal pattern of sales, which we test using grocery scanner data. We examine both frozen orange juice, which consumers can store, and refrigerated orange juice, which is more perishable, to determine what role-if any-durability plays in the pattern of sales. We examine (1) whether sales are more frequent for national brands than for private label brands; (2) whether manufacturers, retailers, or others determine sales; (3) the distribution of prices; (4) whether sales and their effects differ for durable (frozen) or nondurable (refrigerated) products; and (5) the temporal ordering of sales. We use correlations, runs tests, probit regressions, and vector-autoregressive analyses to test our hypotheses. Some of our more striking findings are that retailers rather than manufacturers determine sales, private labels have sales as often as national brands, and that a sale of a national brand is more likely to "cause" sales of other products than is a sale of a private label product.

Suggested Citation

  • Berck, Peter & Brown, Jennifer & Perloff, Jeffrey M & Villas-Boas, Sofia B., 2007. "Sales: Tests of Theories on Causality and Timing," Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics, UC Berkeley, Working Paper Series qt2g56n1jk, Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics, UC Berkeley.
  • Handle: RePEc:cdl:agrebk:qt2g56n1jk

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:;origin=repeccitec
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Daniel Hosken & David Reiffen, 2004. "Patterns of Retail Price Variation," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 35(1), pages 128-146, Spring.
    2. Nakamura, Emi & Steinsson, Jón, 2011. "Price setting in forward-looking customer markets," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(3), pages 220-233.
    3. Igal Hendel & Aviv Nevo, 2006. "Measuring the Implications of Sales and Consumer Inventory Behavior," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 74(6), pages 1637-1673, November.
    4. Igal Hendel & Aviv Nevo, 2006. "Sales and consumer inventory," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 37(3), pages 543-561, September.
    5. Robert C. Blattberg & Richard Briesch & Edward J. Fox, 1995. "How Promotions Work," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 14(3_supplem), pages 122-132.
    6. Varian, Hal R, 1980. "A Model of Sales," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 70(4), pages 651-659, September.
    7. Rajiv Lal & J. Miguel Villas-Boas, 1998. "Price Promotions and Trade Deals with Multiproduct Retailers," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 44(7), pages 935-949, July.
    8. Green, Edward J & Porter, Robert H, 1984. "Noncooperative Collusion under Imperfect Price Information," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(1), pages 87-100, January.
    9. Salop, S & Stiglitz, J E, 1982. "The Theory of Sales: A Simple Model of Equilibrium Price Dispersion with Identical Agents," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(5), pages 1121-1130, December.
    10. Victor Aguirregabiria, 1999. "The Dynamics of Markups and Inventories in Retailing Firms," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 66(2), pages 275-308.
    11. Deepak Agrawal, 1996. "Effect of Brand Loyalty on Advertising and Trade Promotions: A Game Theoretic Analysis with Empirical Evidence," Marketing Science, INFORMS, pages 86-108.
    12. John Conlisk & Eitan Gerstner & Joel Sobel, 1984. "Cyclic Pricing by a Durable Goods Monopolist," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 99(3), pages 489-505.
    13. Joel Sobel, 1984. "The Timing of Sales," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 51(3), pages 353-368.
    14. Maskin, Eric & Tirole, Jean, 1988. "A Theory of Dynamic Oligopoly, II: Price Competition, Kinked Demand Curves, and Edgeworth Cycles," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(3), pages 571-599, May.
    15. 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.
    16. Jagmohan S. Raju & V. Srinivasan & Rajiv Lal, 1990. "The Effects of Brand Loyalty on Competitive Price Promotional Strategies," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 36(3), pages 276-304, March.
    17. 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.
    18. Dutta, Shantanu & Bergen, Mark & Levy, Daniel, 2002. "Price flexibility in channels of distribution: Evidence from scanner data," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 26(11), pages 1845-1900, September.
    19. repec:rje:randje:v:37:y:2006:3:p:543-561 is not listed on IDEAS
    20. Villas-Boas, J Miguel, 1995. "Models of Competitive Price Promotions: Some Empirical Evidence from the Coffee and Saltine Crackers Markets," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 4(1), pages 85-107, Spring.
    21. Rajiv Lal, 1990. "Price Promotions: Limiting Competitive Encroachment," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 9(3), pages 247-262.
    22. Sofia Berto Villas-Boas, 2007. "Vertical Relationships between Manufacturers and Retailers: Inference with Limited Data," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 74(2), pages 625-652.
    23. 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.
    24. Shilony, Yuval, 1977. "Mixed pricing in oligopoly," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 14(2), pages 373-388, April.
    25. Nancy L. Stokey, 1979. "Intertemporal Price Discrimination," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 93(3), pages 355-371.
    26. Perloff, Jeffrey M. & Wu, Ximing, 2007. "Tax incidence varies across the price distribution," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 96(1), pages 116-119, July.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Empen, Janine & Loy, Jens-Peter & Weiss, Christoph R., 2011. "Price Promotions and Brand Loyalty: Empirical Evidence for the German Breakfast Cereals Market," 2011 International Congress, August 30-September 2, 2011, Zurich, Switzerland 114341, European Association of Agricultural Economists.
    2. Davis, David E., 2009. "Price and promotion effects of supermarket mergers," SDSU Working Papers in Progress 12009, South Dakota State University, Department of Economics, revised Jun 2010.
    3. Février, Philippe & Wilner, Lionel, 2016. "Do consumers correctly expect price reductions? Testing dynamic behavior," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 25-40.
    4. Sofronis Clerides & Pascal Courty, 2017. "Sales, Quantity Surcharge, and Consumer Inattention," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 99(2), pages 357-370, May.
    5. Anania, Giovanni & Nistico, Rosanna, 2012. "Price dispersion, search costs and consumers and sellers heterogeneity in retail food markets," 2012 Conference, August 18-24, 2012, Foz do Iguacu, Brazil 125594, International Association of Agricultural Economists.
    6. Bakucs, Lajos Zoltan & Ferto, Imre, 2009. "Milk Retail Sales Patterns in a Transition Economy. The Case of Hungary," 83rd Annual Conference, March 30-April 1, 2009, Dublin, Ireland 50932, Agricultural Economics Society.
    7. repec:bla:jageco:v:68:y:2017:i:3:p:881-900 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Anania, Giovanni & Nisticò, Rosanna, 2014. "Price dispersion and seller heterogeneity in retail food markets," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 190-201.
    9. Peter Berck & Ephraim Leibtag & Alex Solis & Sofia Villas-Boas, 2009. "Patterns of Pass-through of Commodity Price Shocks to Retail Prices," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 91(5), pages 1456-1461.
    10. Paul W. Dobson & Sang-Hyun Kim & Hao Lan, 2016. "Identifying Price-Leadership Structures in Oligopoly," Working papers 2016rwp-99, Yonsei University, Yonsei Economics Research Institute.
    11. Giovanni Anania & Rosanna Nisticò, 2011. "Price Dispersion, Search Costs And Consumers And Sellers Heterogeneity In Retail Food Markets," Working Papers 201105, Università della Calabria, Dipartimento di Economia, Statistica e Finanza "Giovanni Anania" - DESF.
    12. Lloyd, Tim A. & Morgan, C. Wyn & McCorriston, Steve & Zgovu, Evious, 2011. "Do Sales Matter? Evidence from UK Food Retailing," 85th Annual Conference, April 18-20, 2011, Warwick University, Coventry, UK 108774, Agricultural Economics Society.
    13. Jens-Peter Loy & Christoph R. Weiss, 2009. "Sales by multi-product retailers: a comment," Managerial and Decision Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 30(8), pages 513-515.
    14. Ferto, Imre & Bakucs, Lajos Zoltan, 2009. "The patterns of retail price variation. The case of milk products," 2009 Conference, August 16-22, 2009, Beijing, China 51670, International Association of Agricultural Economists.
    15. Lan, Hao & Lloyd, Tim A. & Morgan, C. Wyn, 2013. "The hazard function of sales: An analysis of UK supermarket food prices," 87th Annual Conference, April 8-10, 2013, Warwick University, Coventry, UK 151972, Agricultural Economics Society.
    16. Fertő, Imre & Bakucs, Lajos Zoltán, 2009. "Árleszállítások és a kiskereskedelmi árak változása a tejtermékek piacán
      [Sales and retail price patterns on the market for milk products]
      ," Közgazdasági Szemle (Economic Review - monthly of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences), Közgazdasági Szemle Alapítvány (Economic Review Foundation), vol. 0(7), pages 634-647.
    17. Richard Volpe, 2013. "Promotional Competition Between Supermarket Chains," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer;The Industrial Organization Society, vol. 42(1), pages 45-61, February.


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cdl:agrebk:qt2g56n1jk. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Lisa Schiff). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.