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Timing of seasonal sales

  • Pascal Courty
  • Li Hao

We present a model of timing of seasonal sales where stores choose several designs at the beginning of the season without knowing wich one, if any, will be fashionable. Fashionable designs have a chance to fetch high prices in fashion markets while non-fashionable ones must be sold in a discount market. In the beginning of the season, stores charge high prices in the hope of capturing their fashion market. As the end of the season approaches with goods still on the shelves, stores adjust downward their expectations that they are carrying a fashionable design, and may have sales to capture the discount market. Having a greater number of designs induces a store to put one of them on sales earlier to test the market. Moreover, price competition in the discount market induces stores to start sales earlier because of a greater perceived first-mover advantage in capturing the discount market. More competition, perhaps due to decreases in the cost of product innovation, makes sales occur even earlier. These results are consistent with the observation that the trend toward earlier sales since mid-1970's coincides with increasing product varieties in fashion good markets and increasing store competition.

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Paper provided by Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra in its series Economics Working Papers with number 331.

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Date of creation: Nov 1998
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Handle: RePEc:upf:upfgen:331
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.econ.upf.edu/

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  1. Pashigian, B Peter & Bowen, Brian & Gould, Eric, 1995. "Fashion, Styling, and the Within-Season Decline in Automobile Prices," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 38(2), pages 281-309, October.
  2. Fudenberg, Drew & Tirole, Jean, 1983. "Sequential Bargaining with Incomplete Information," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 50(2), pages 221-47, April.
  3. 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 1121-30, December.
  4. Varian, Hal R, 1980. "A Model of Sales," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 70(4), pages 651-59, September.
  5. Edward P. Lazear, 1984. "Retail Pricing and Clearance Sales," NBER Working Papers 1446, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Faruk Gul & Hugo Sonnenschein & Robert Wilson, 2010. "Foundations of Dynamic Monopoly and the Coase Conjecture," Levine's Working Paper Archive 232, David K. Levine.
  7. Guillermo Gallego & Garrett van Ryzin, 1994. "Optimal Dynamic Pricing of Inventories with Stochastic Demand over Finite Horizons," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 40(8), pages 999-1020, August.
  8. Sobel, Joel, 1984. "The Timing of Sales," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 51(3), pages 353-68, July.
  9. Coase, Ronald H, 1972. "Durability and Monopoly," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 15(1), pages 143-49, April.
  10. Pashigian, B Peter, 1988. "Demand Uncertainty and Sales: A Study of Fashion and Markdown Pricin g," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(5), pages 936-53, December.
  11. Faruk Gul, 1987. "Noncooperative Collusion in Durable Goods Oligopoly," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 18(2), pages 248-254, Summer.
  12. Youyi Feng & Guillermo Gallego, 1995. "Optimal Starting Times for End-of-Season Sales and Optimal Stopping Times for Promotional Fares," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 41(8), pages 1371-1391, August.
  13. Pashigian, B Peter & Bowen, Brian, 1991. "Why Are Products Sold on Sale? Explanations of Pricing Regularities," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 106(4), pages 1015-38, November.
  14. Nancy L. Stokey, 1981. "Rational Expectations and Durable Goods Pricing," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 12(1), pages 112-128, Spring.
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