Thursday, April 26, 2007

Zoned Prices: Same Chain; Different Area & Higher Prices

It's so odd: In different neighborhoods, the same national chain will offer different prices on the same item.

As a result, prices for individual products often vary greatly. We live near three different branches of the same store and have found significant price differences for the same item. My mother, who lives in Central Florida has spotted a range of prices for the same item at different Publix locations. I've noticed this same trend at Walgreens and other stores.

That's because many chains zone prices according to zip codes. The cost of real estate, labor and other operations factor into pricing. I find the lowest prices by either shopping around or checking the company's website, where weekly specials are available for different stores based on zip code or neighborhood. We've also compared price notes with friends.

You can even call food manufacturers for pricing insights. One pasta maker, for example, told a friend of mine which local retailers sold the company's pasta products at the lowest prices.



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Matt said...

I've noticed the same thing with some chains in Canada. Surprisingly the price of coffee in the same chain changes from one location to the next though they're pretty close.

Anonymous said...

i always bring the sales circulars with me when i shop. Kmart has always honored the prices in the sales circular i bring if they differ at the store. some of the major drugstore chains located in touristy areas even intentionally hide the sales circulars. i have complained to store managers about this practice and called their corporate headquarters. often, i hear the lame excuse that they have high rent, but i counter, that's because the store is located in a high-traffic area otherwise that location would not have been chosen. ask the number crunchers!