Inflation everywhere: differences of up to 100% in prices of the same good between different points of sale



Making purchases and looking for the best prices, even within the same area or locality, can be an odyssey today in Argentina (Maximiliano Luna)
Making purchases and looking for the best prices, even within the same area or locality, can be an odyssey today in Argentina (Maximiliano Luna)

Shopping and looking for the best prices, even within the same area or locality, can be an odyssey today in Argentina. The dispersion is so great that it is practically impossible to find a product with the same price in two different stores. The differences do not only occur between channels, in the case of mass consumptionwith a gap that reaches 25 points between the modern channel and the traditional one, but they are already detected between nearby houses that are perhaps a few blocks apart.

A survey carried out by Infobae corroborated what companies that produce food and cleaning and toiletries already warn and the consumer himself suffers day by day. The differences can reach 100% in some cases, and much more if the customer takes advantage of the offers that the large supermarket chains usually offer.

Historically, chains were cheaper than nearby stores, but the price gap grew a lot during the pandemic from the maximum prices (Del Río)

As explained by the president of the consulting firm Scentia, Osvaldo del Riohistorically the chains were cheaper than local stores, but the price gap grew a lot during the pandemic from the maximum prices, it increased last year and remains during 2022, although with a gap minor. This situation generated a difference in values ​​between channels that today stands at an average of 25 percent.

For the analysis, prices were surveyed in two mini-markets and a Chinese supermarket in the same locality, as well as the online values ​​of one of the large chains. Almost 50 items were analyzed and differences were found, between the most expensive and the cheapest price, of up to 100%. In any case, the average is around 30 percent.

The list of products was chosen at random and where the greatest difference was detected was in the 500-gram Natura mayonnaise and in the 1.5-liter Coca-Cola. In the first case, while in the two mini-markets and in the super Chinese the value is $504; $510 and $515, in the big chain it costs $236, that is to say that there is a difference of 118% between that price and the most expensive. In turn, in the case of soft drinks, the prices offered were $297 in one of the shops, $270 in another; $250 at the Chinese supermarket and $146.10 at the chain. It is emphasized that the classic line is in the care price listand the Light No, but the fact that one participates in the program means that the other, which is consumed less, has the same price.

The gaps are getting higher when the products include Care Prices, because the program is not applied in local businesses. Also, as the increases authorized by the Government for these items do not cover, not even close, the inflation of each month, they are falling further and further behind with respect to the rest, even those sold by the chains of those categories. “This makes the consumption of these products grow more than the historical averages and supply problems are generated”, they highlight in the sector.

The gaps are getting higher when the products include Care Prices, because the program is not applied in local businesses

Another example of a product that integrates Care Prices is the 360-gram Sancor milk cream. While in the chain it costs $296.64, in the two surveyed neighborhood mini-markets it costs $491 and $525, respectively. In this case, the difference climbs to 77 percent.

Competition of offers

What generates an even greater difference between local businesses and large supermarkets are the promotions and discounts that the chains usually offer. As an example, a bottle of long life milk from La Serenissima is worth $213 in one of the mini-markets, $219 in another and $211.95 on the chain’s digital platform. In other words, the difference, in this case, reaches 27%. But if the consumer decides to take 4 units, the unit price drops to $158.96; in that case, the gap rises almost to 38%. And the same goes for many other products.

Price differences between neighborhood businesses depend on when they buy, how they buy, where they do it and how they marginalize. Comparing it with any chain, the consumer will always find that the chain is cheaper in the greater number of products, although there are usually some items where they make a difference. When we measure the price gap between channels, the discounts made by the chains influence because it is the price at which customers pay for the product, but we do not consider those that the card can make due to some bank promotion, which can improve the equation even more”, Del Rio said.

Other examples of distortions detected in the survey were the following: a kilo of Favorite 0000 flour costs $209 and $179 in the two minimarkets and $152 in the large chain (38% difference); a 500-gram bag of gallo oro rice is worth $137 in local stores; $180 in the Chinese supermarket and $126 in the chain (42% difference between the highest and lowest value); the Arcor Light strawberry jam costs $390, $425; $330 and $468.39, respectively. In this case, curiously, the price of the big chain is the most expensive and that of the Chinese, the cheapest.

In turn, the La Serenissima 1% skimmed milk sachet is priced at $190 in one of the super small stores and in the Chinese store, $164 in another and $139.85 in the chain, which reflects a difference of 36%. Something similar happens with Ledesma sugar: the values ​​range between 220 that it costs in the Chinese supermarket -“promotion price”-, $240 and $263 in the two mini-markets.

This survey also compared the price of the Chinese package of Fargo Whole Grain Bread, and the cheapest, once again, was found at the chain, where it is $415.99. In the other shops, they range between $470 and $520. And in the case of the 2-liter classic Ayudín bleach, the lowest price was detected in one of the minimarkets ($215), and the most expensive, in the chain (269.99 pesos).

In the world of mass consumption there are about 280,000 points of sale, of which 30% (70,000) are large supermarkets, and the other 70% (210,000) correspond to stores, kiosks, mini-markets, butcher shops

In the world of mass consumption there are some 280,000 points of sale, of which 30% (70,000) are large supermarkets, and the other 70% (210,000) correspond to stores, kiosks, minimarkets, butcher shops, among others.

Food industry sources told Infobae that “among the chains there is not so much disparity in prices -perhaps 3% to 4%-, but in the traditional channel there is such a high level of intermediation that upon reaching the point of sale, with the cost of transportation and logistics included, which vary according to each zone, the differences can be high. In addition, in times of inflation, all the parties point out in doubt because they do not know how much later they will be able to buy the same merchandise, and that generates an absolute disaster, which does not happen only in our sector, but in all areas of the economy ” .

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