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Supermarket Pricing Strategies

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  • Ellickson, Paul
  • Misra, Sanjog

Abstract

Most supermarket firms choose to position themselves by offering either "Every Day Low Prices" (EDLP) across several items or offering temporary price reductions (promotions) on a limited range of items. While this choice has been addressed from a theoretical perspective in both the marketing and economic literature, relatively little is known about how these decisions are made in practice, especially within a competitive environment. This paper exploits a unique store level dataset consisting of every supermarket operating in the United States in 1998. For each of these stores, we observe the pricing strategy the firm has chosen to follow, as reported by the firm itself. Using a system of simultaneous discrete choice models, we estimate each store's choice of pricing strategy, conditional on its expectation over the choices of its rivals. We find evidence that firms cluster by strategy, choosing actions that agree with those of its rivals. We also find a significant impact of various demographic and firm characteristics, providing some qualified support for several specific predictions from marketing theory.

Suggested Citation

  • Ellickson, Paul & Misra, Sanjog, 2006. "Supermarket Pricing Strategies," Working Papers 06-02, Duke University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:duk:dukeec:06-02
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    EDLP; promotional pricing; positioning strategies; supermarkets; discrete games;

    JEL classification:

    • M31 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Marketing and Advertising - - - Marketing
    • L11 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Production, Pricing, and Market Structure; Size Distribution of Firms
    • L81 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Retail and Wholesale Trade; e-Commerce

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