Local Variation in Prices Irks Walgreens Shopper

A Walgreens shopper was shocked to learn that different stores charged different prices for the same item. Ketha Vinson was looking for Motrin in Cincinnati. When one Walgreens was out, she went to a different store, to find the same product at a different price. Apparently very curious, and not too worried about getting the Motrin back to her child, she investigated 2 more stores, and found prices from $5.99 to $6.99. Some retailers try to keep prices uniform to lower operating costs, while others, like Walgreens, vary them depending on market conditions. While the article suggests that this is a bad practice, hurting consumers, the alternative is unlikely to result in uniformly low prices. More likely, stores would raise the low-end prices. As the article notes, the downtown prices are more expensive than suburban prices. Is this “fair”? I don’t know, but most things are more expensive downtown, especially real estate. While the competitive landscape surely plays a big role in the way Walgreens prices, so does their cost structure.

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