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Informational Rigidities and the Stickiness of Temporary Sales

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  • Eric Anderson
  • Benjamin A. Malin
  • Emi Nakamura
  • Duncan Simester
  • Jon Steinsson

Abstract

We use unique price data to study how retailers react to underlying cost changes. Temporary sales account for 95% of price changes in our data. Simple models would, therefore, suggest that temporary sales play a central role in price responses to cost shocks. We find, however, that, in response to a wholesale cost increase, the entire increase in retail prices comes through regular price increases. Sales actually respond temporarily in the opposite direction from regular prices, as though to conceal the price hike. Additional evidence from responses to commodity cost and local unemployment shocks, as well as broader evidence from BLS data reinforces these findings. We present institutional evidence that sales are complex contingent contracts, determined substantially in advance. We show theoretically that these institutional practices leave little money ?on the table?: in a price-discrimination model of sales, dynamically adjusting the size of sales yields only a tiny increase in profits.

Suggested Citation

  • Eric Anderson & Benjamin A. Malin & Emi Nakamura & Duncan Simester & Jon Steinsson, 2015. "Informational Rigidities and the Stickiness of Temporary Sales," Staff Report 513, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedmsr:513
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Fernando Borraz & Giacomo Livan & Anahí Rodríguez-Martínez & Pablo Picardo, 2020. "Price, sales, and the business cycle: a time series principal component analysis," Documentos de trabajo 2020002, Banco Central del Uruguay.
    2. Levy, Daniel & Snir, Avichai & Gotler, Alex & Chen, Haipeng (Allan), 2020. "Not all price endings are created equal: Price points and asymmetric price rigidity," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 110(C), pages 33-49.
    3. Benjamin Eden, 2018. "Price Dispersion And Demand Uncertainty: Evidence From U.S. Scanner Data," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 59(3), pages 1035-1075, August.
    4. Mikael Carlsson, 2017. "Microdata Evidence on the Empirical Importance of Selection Effects in Menu‐Cost Models," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 49(8), pages 1803-1830, December.
    5. Karadi, Peter & Schoenle, Raphael & Wursten, Jesse, 2020. "Measuring Price Selection in Microdata - It's Not There," CEPR Discussion Papers 15383, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    6. Giulietti, Monica & Otero, Jesús & Waterson, Michael, 2020. "Rigidities and adjustments of daily prices to costs: Evidence from supermarket data," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 116(C).
    7. Snir, Avichai & Levy, Daniel, 2021. "If You Think 9-Ending Prices Are Low, Think Again," EconStor Open Access Articles and Book Chapters, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics.
    8. Christopher Hansman & Harrison Hong & Áureo de Paula & Vishal Singh, 2020. "A Sticky-Price View of Hoarding," NBER Working Papers 27051, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Holzer, Patrick Sebastian, 2020. "The effect of time-varying factors on promotional activity in the German milk market," Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, Elsevier, vol. 55(C).
    10. Benjamin Eden & Maya Eden & Jonah Yuen, 2019. "Temporary sales in response to aggregate shocks," Vanderbilt University Department of Economics Working Papers 19-00003, Vanderbilt University Department of Economics.
    11. Nao Sudo & Kozo Ueda & Kota Watanabe, 2014. "Micro Price Dynamics during Japan's Lost Decades," Asian Economic Policy Review, Japan Center for Economic Research, vol. 9(1), pages 44-64, January.
    12. Maxim Sinitsyn, 2017. "Pricing with Prescheduled Sales," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 36(6), pages 999-1014, November.
    13. Hur, Joonyoung & Kim, Insu, 2017. "Inattentive agents and disagreement about economic activity," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 63(C), pages 175-190.
    14. Nicoletta Berardi & Erwan Gautier & Hervé Le Bihan, 2015. "More Facts about Prices: France Before and During the Great Recession," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 47(8), pages 1465-1502, December.
    15. Blakeley B. McShane & Chaoqun Chen & Eric T. Anderson & Duncan I. Simester, 2016. "Decision Stages and Asymmetries in Regular Retail Price Pass-Through," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 35(4), pages 619-639, July.
    16. Sheremirov, Viacheslav, 2020. "Price dispersion and inflation: New facts and theoretical implications," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 114(C), pages 59-70.
    17. Glandon, PJ, 2018. "Sales and the (Mis)measurement of price level fluctuations," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 58(C), pages 60-77.
    18. Nicoletta Berardi & Erwan Gautier & Hervé Le Bihan, 2013. "Les ajustements individuels de prix à la consommation en France : de nouveaux résultats sur la période 2003-2011," Économie et Statistique, Programme National Persée, vol. 460(1), pages 5-35.
    19. Hyeyoung Kim & Marisa Zansler & Lisa A. House, 2018. "Retail promotion with price cut and the imperfect price responses of orange juice demand in the U.S," Agribusiness, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 34(2), pages 363-376, March.
    20. Nuno Palma, 2019. "The Real Effects of Monetary Expansions: Evidence from a Large-Scale Historical Natural Experiment," Economics Discussion Paper Series 1904, Economics, The University of Manchester, revised Aug 2021.
    21. Nicoletta Berardi & Federico Ravenna & Mario Samano, 2020. "Everyday Regular Prices," Working papers 746, Banque de France.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Trade deals; Retail sales; Regular retail prices;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • M30 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Marketing and Advertising - - - General
    • E30 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - General (includes Measurement and Data)
    • L11 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Production, Pricing, and Market Structure; Size Distribution of Firms

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