The Magnitude of Menu Costs: Direct Evidence from Large U.S. Supermarket Chains
We use store-level data to document the exact process of changing prices and to directly measure menu costs at five multi-store supermarket chains. We show that changing prices in these establishments is a complex process, requiring dozens of steps and a nontrivial amount of resources. The menu costs average $105,887/year per store, comprising 0.70% of revenues, 35.2% of net margins, and $0.52/price change. These menu costs may be forming a barrier to price changes. Specifically, (1) a supermarket chain facing higher menu costs (due to item pricing laws which require a separate price tag on each item) changes prices 2 1/2 times less frequently than the other four chains; (2) within this chain, the prices of products exempt from the law are changed over three times more frequently than the products subject to the law.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpma:0505012. 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: (EconWPA)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.