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Intra- and Inter-Format Competition Among Discounters and Supermarkets


  • Cleeren, Kathleen
  • Dekimpe, Marnik G.
  • Gielens, Katrijn
  • Verboven, Frank


The price-aggressive discount format, popularized by chains such as Aldi and Lidl, is very successful in most Western economies. Its success is a major source of concern for traditional supermarkets. Discounters not only have a direct effect on supermarkets’ market shares, they also exert considerable pressure to improve operational efficiency and/or to decrease prices. We use an empirical entry model to study the degree of intra- and inter-format competition between discounters and supermarkets. Information on the competitive impact of new entrants is derived from the observed entry decisions of supermarkets and discounters in a large cross-section of local markets, after controlling for a number of local market characteristics. In our modeling framework, we endogenize the retailers’ entry decisions, and allow for asymmetric intra- and inter-format competitive effects in a flexible way. We apply our modeling approach to the German grocery industry, where the discount format has stabilized after two decades of continued growth. We find evidence of intense competition within both the supermarket and discounter format, although competition between supermarkets is found to be more severe. Most importantly, discounters only start to affect the profitability of conventional supermarkets from the third entrant onwards. This may explain why many retailers rush to add a discount chain to their portfolio: early entrants may benefit from the growth of the discount-prone segment without cannibalizing the profits of their more conventional supermarket stores.

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  • Cleeren, Kathleen & Dekimpe, Marnik G. & Gielens, Katrijn & Verboven, Frank, 2008. "Intra- and Inter-Format Competition Among Discounters and Supermarkets," CEPR Discussion Papers 6964, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:6964

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    1. Zhijun Chen & Patrick Rey, 2012. "Loss Leading as an Exploitative Practice," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(7), pages 3462-3482, December.
    2. Paul B. Ellickson & Sanjog Misra, 2011. "Structural Workshop Paper --Estimating Discrete Games," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 30(6), pages 997-1010, November.
    3. Andreas Widenhorn & Klaus Salhofer, 2014. "Price Sensitivity Within and Across Retail Formats," Agribusiness, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 30(2), pages 184-194, March.
    4. Philip G. Gayle & Zijun Luo, 2015. "Choosing between Order-of-Entry Assumptions in Empirical Entry Models: Evidence from Competition between Burger King and McDonald's Restaurant Outlets," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 63(1), pages 129-151, March.
    5. Gullstrand Joakim & Jörgensen Christian, 2012. "Local Price Competition: The Case of Swedish Food Retailers," Journal of Agricultural & Food Industrial Organization, De Gruyter, vol. 10(1), pages 1-27, March.
    6. Hoffman, Angela & Senkler, Heike, 2011. "Interformat price competition of multi-product retailers: Evidence for German grocery retailing," 2011 International Congress, August 30-September 2, 2011, Zurich, Switzerland 114533, European Association of Agricultural Economists.
    7. Gunnarsson, Jonas, 2015. "Retailer Price Image - An Introduction and Literature Review," SSE Working Paper Series in Business Administration 2015:2, Stockholm School of Economics.
    8. Gómez-Lobo, Andrés & Jiménez, Juan Luis & Perdiguero , Jordi, 2015. "The entry of a hard discount supermarket: price effects," INVESTIGACIONES REGIONALES - Journal of REGIONAL RESEARCH, Asociación Española de Ciencia Regional, issue 31, pages 143-154.
    9. Takeshi Ebina & Noriaki Matsushima, 2017. "Product differentiation and entry timing in a continuous-time spatial competition model with vertical relations," ISER Discussion Paper 1009, Institute of Social and Economic Research, Osaka University.
    10. Claire Chambolle & Sofia Villas-Boas, 2007. "Buyer Power through Producer's Differentiation," Working Papers hal-00243058, HAL.
    11. Anna Lu, 2017. "Inference of Consumer Consideration Sets," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 1681, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    12. Chambolle, Claire & Villas-Boas, Sofia B., 2015. "Buyer power through the differentiation of suppliers," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 43(C), pages 56-65.
    13. Loy, Jens-Peter & Holm, Thore & Steinhagen, Carsten, 2012. "Vertical Price Transmission In Differentiated Product Markets: A Disaggregated Study For Milk And Butter," 2012 Annual Meeting, August 12-14, 2012, Seattle, Washington 123284, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    14. Olivier Coibion & Yuriy Gorodnichenko & Gee Hee Hong, 2015. "The Cyclicality of Sales, Regular and Effective Prices: Business Cycle and Policy Implications," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 105(3), pages 993-1029, March.
    15. Takeshi Ebina & Noriaki Matsushima & Katsumasa Nishide, 2017. "Demand uncertainty, product differentiation, and entry timing under spatial competition," ISER Discussion Paper 1007, Institute of Social and Economic Research, Osaka University.
    16. Hunold, Matthias & Laitenberger, Ulrich & Licht, Georg & Nikogosian, Vigen & Stenzel, André & Ullrich, Hannes & Wolf, Christoph, 2011. "Modernisierung der Konzentrationsberichterstattung: Endbericht," ZEW Expertises, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research, number 110525.
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    18. Antonis Michis & Anna Markidou, 2013. "Determinants of retail wine prices: evidence from Cyprus," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 45(1), pages 267-280, August.
    19. Holm, Thore & Loy, Jens-Peter & Steinhagen, Carsten, 2012. "Bio Auch Bei Der Preissetzung: Konsummilch In Deutschland," 52nd Annual Conference, Stuttgart, Germany, September 26-28, 2012 137159, German Association of Agricultural Economists (GEWISOLA).
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    21. Loy, Jens-Peter & Holm, Thore & Steinhagen, Carsten & Glauben, Thomas, 2014. "Cost Pass-Through In Differentiated Product Markets: A Disaggregated Study For Milk And Butter," 88th Annual Conference, April 9-11, 2014, AgroParisTech, Paris, France 169762, Agricultural Economics Society.
    22. Bjørn Olav Johansen & Tore Nilssen, 2016. "The Economics of Retailing Formats: Competition Versus Bargaining," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 64(1), pages 109-134, March.
    23. Guissoni, Leandro Angotti & Consoli, Matheus Alberto & Rodrigues, Jonny Mateus, 2013. "Gerenciamento por categorias em pequenos supermercados compensa o esforço?," RAE - Revista de Administração de Empresas, FGV-EAESP Escola de Administração de Empresas de São Paulo (Brazil), vol. 53(6), November.

    More about this item


    empirical entry models; hard discounters; supermarket competition;

    JEL classification:

    • L10 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - General
    • M30 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Marketing and Advertising - - - General

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