Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Focus on opticians shows chain store pricing policies can save independents

08.11.2006
Big chain stores setting their prices on a national rather than local basis can help independent retailers survive, according to new research funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).

It protects them from the intense local competition that could arise from price wars in places where several big name outlets are present, says the study, which backs concerns from policymakers about the potential impact when chain stores opt for local pricing.

Matt Olczak, of the ESRC Centre for Competition Policy, University of East Anglia, examined in detail the situation in the opticians industry, and the implications for consumer choice and the local economy. His investigation highlights the pricing strategies of the major optician chain stores as a key factor in whether the small, local independents can survive.

The study follows a report from the All-Party Parliamentary Small Shops Group, in which MPs predicted that less than a decade from now, many small shops are likely to have stopped trading, with few independent businesses taking their place. They said that people, as consumers and members of communities, stand to be disadvantaged the most ‘with restricted choice, entrenched social exclusion and a vulnerable supply chain caused by consolidation’.

Matt Olczak said: “It is clear from my research findings that the opticians market at least needs to be monitored regularly, since a change in pricing strategy by any of the chain stores could have a negative impact on independents.” Importantly, he says, he found that it matters whether chain stores set prices nationally - that is, charge the same in all their stores, or locally -setting different prices depending on local market conditions.

The four principal chain store retailers – Specsavers, Dolland & Aitchison, Boots and Vision Express – have a national presence, with stores in all regions of England and Wales.

Prices at Specsavers and Boots are set nationally, and those at Dolland & Aitchison and Vision Express are also determined predominantly on this basis. Since deregulation of the industry in the 1980s, there has been rapid entry and growth of chain store retailers. Between 1988 and 1991 alone, chain stores’ market share increased from 46 to 75 per cent.

Matt Olczak continued: “It is interesting to note that Optical Express has a local pricing strategy, and its national market share is increasing significantly.”

In his report he argues that chain store national pricing strategies can boost variety and choice for the consumer.

Where the average wage is higher, his findings suggest, there will be more independents, and where pay is lower, there will be more chain stores. Also, areas with an older population are likely to have more independent outlets. But he points out that while independent retailers are more likely to be located in areas of higher income, chain stores provide important choice for consumers on lower earnings and therefore, to a degree, support public health policy.

When it comes to the form of competition between independents, this, too, appears to depend on whether or not there are chain stores nearby. Where there are not, it seems the number of independents grows more slowly as increasingly large local markets are examined. This is linked to the fact that, without chain stores, the arrival of additional independent opticians leads to prices being forced down.

| alfa
Further information:
http://www.esrc.ac.uk

More articles from Social Sciences:

nachricht Amazingly flexible: Learning to read in your thirties profoundly transforms the brain
26.05.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Kognitions- und Neurowissenschaften

nachricht Fixating on faces
26.01.2017 | California Institute of Technology

All articles from Social Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

Im Focus: Scientists improve forecast of increasing hazard on Ecuadorian volcano

Researchers from the University of Miami (UM) Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, the Italian Space Agency (ASI), and the Instituto Geofisico--Escuela Politecnica Nacional (IGEPN) of Ecuador, showed an increasing volcanic danger on Cotopaxi in Ecuador using a powerful technique known as Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR).

The Andes region in which Cotopaxi volcano is located is known to contain some of the world's most serious volcanic hazard. A mid- to large-size eruption has...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New thruster design increases efficiency for future spaceflight

16.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Transporting spin: A graphene and boron nitride heterostructure creates large spin signals

16.08.2017 | Materials Sciences

A new method for the 3-D printing of living tissues

16.08.2017 | Interdisciplinary Research

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>