Same brand, different prices | The press

A Big Mac trio may taste the same in Montreal and Beijing, but they don’t taste the same in Saint-Sauveur or Lévis. Contrary to what one might think, the same item is not always sold at the same price in the branches of a large chain. Price analysis and explanations.

Posted at 5:00 am

Isabelle Dube

Isabelle Dube
The press

The most expensive Big Mac in Lévis

If you’re vacationing in Saint-Sauveur, Lévis or the tourist district of Old Montreal, your stop at McDonald’s won’t cost you the same price. This has been observed The press by analyzing the price of the Big Mac trio. Contrary to what one might expect, the trio sells more in Lévis ($10.99) than in Old Montreal ($10.69) and even next to the Bell Center ($10.29).

“We generally expect some form of price standardization in companies under the same banner to avoid unfair competition between different retailers,” said Yany Grégoire, Omer DeSerres Chair in Commerce at HEC Montréal, over the phone. This is also the best practice. Prices are generally very consistent online and in store as we also want to avoid competition between our own channels. »


Yany Grégoire, Omer DeSerres Chair in Commerce at HEC Montréal

If there are deviations, these must be well justified by the higher rental and provision costs. A parent company that didn’t do this would have trouble finding franchisees.

Yany Grégoire, Omer DeSerres Chair in Commerce at HEC Montréal

McDonald’s Canada declined to explain the reasons for the price difference.

Up to $5 difference

while watching The press When a customer saw the prices of twenty items at a Montreal Pharmaprix, he was taken aback by the process: “What? The prices are not the same from one Pharmaprix to another in the same region? »

This customer suffering from heartburn would have paid $1 less for his Tums at another Pharmaprix located 600m away on the same Rue Sainte-Catherine West in Montreal ($13.49 instead of $14.49 U.S. dollar). It’s clear that it’s cheaper to have a tummy ache on the south coast, even if the price isn’t the same at the two Boucherville stores ($11.99 and $12.99).

Making love is more expensive in Montreal

When the sudden lovemaking urge strikes, it’s best to be on the south coast. At the two Montreal Pharmaprix, the box of Trojan G-spot condoms sells for $24.99, while in Saint-Bruno-de-Montarville it sells for $22.99.

During our visits to six Pharmaprix stores on June 23rd, the biggest price difference was seen for Aveeno Baby Eczema Care Cream Tie. It costs $5 more in Montreal than on the South Shore.

However, the Tempra was available at both Montreal stores for $5.99 instead of $9.99. Also with this product the current price is not the same everywhere. If your kid has a fever in Boucherville, it’s cheaper ($8.79).

“We set regular pricing for items by zone, which is determined by a number of factors including local competition, the overall performance of the store, or whether it’s located in a mall, for example,” explained Johanne Héroux, Sr. via email Director of Corporate Affairs and Communications at Loblaw, owner of Pharmaprix.

A store manager may choose to reduce the price of certain items for a variety of reasons. For example, he can grant a discount when a product is approaching its sell-by date, to clear a large inventory, or when a merchandising change is planned in his store.

Johanne Héroux, Senior Director of Corporate Affairs and Communications at Loblaw

“It’s not surprising that it’s more expensive on Sainte-Catherine Street,” analyzes Yany Grégoire. Decisive for the price are the rental costs, the rent and the willingness to pay of the people. For example, at an airport where you are trapped, you are willing to pay more for Starbucks coffee. We can imagine that the tourist clientele on Sainte-Catherine is willing to pay more. »

A pan $240 more expensive

In the five visited by Canadian Tires The press, had to search to find price differences between stores. If the price of a sleeping bag on sale ranges from $44.97 in Montreal to $49.97 in Longueuil, it’s not worth the miles.

However, if the same frying pan sells for $109.97 in Longueuil, $149.97 in Boucherville, and $269.99 in Saint-Bruno-de-Montarville at regular price, you might want to drive 30km for $160​ to save. And how about home delivery? The same Paderno Canadian Signature 32cm Frypan is listed on the chain’s website for $349.99. You read that right!

There are local and personal realities. If the independent franchisee has bought a lot of sleeping bags, isn’t a good seller, and has a lot left over, they will be tempted to lower the price further.

Yany Grégoire, Omer DeSerres Chair in Commerce at HEC Montréal

When asked about this, employees at the various Canadian Tires explained that the Red Tag discounts often differed from store to store. “Our stores are independent and operated by associate dealers,” confirms Cindy Hoffman, Director of Communications. You may sell Products at prices lower than those listed online or in the flyer and offer in-store specials at your discretion. »

“To ensure our customers get the best possible price, we have introduced our Best Price Guarantee, which allows stores to obtain a lower price for an identical item from local competitors, including other stores. Canadian Tire retail store,” said the communications director.

Looking for the right price

Our reporter visited different branches of three major chains to compare prices.

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