Retail Food Prices: Insights from Supermarket Scanner Data

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Lloyd, Tim (2013)

The advent of the barcode and laser scanning technology provides a potentially rich source of data (so-called, scanner data) on the purchases of the nation’s food consumers. Using scanner data obtained from all the major UK supermarkets, this paper offers a glimpse at the prices of some of the purchases that make up the nation’s shopping trolley. The price data analysed belong to over 500 barcode-specific products recorded at weekly intervals over a two and a half year sample period in the largest seven national retail chains, giving nearly a quarter of a million prices in all. Characteristics of the prices are reviewed with an eye to their dispersion over time and across retailers and this provides insights into pricing strategy and the nation’s cheapest retailer. The data also allow the extent, magnitude and duration of promotional discounting (‘sales’) to be explored in greater detail than has hitherto been possible in the UK, and a summary of findings will be provided, some of which may even inform the way you shop.\ud
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