Posted by: Idioma Extra | June 6, 2011

Tuesday’s News

A Few Colones Can Make The Difference In Price War


Costa Rica is in the middle of a war, a price war that is, as major retailers combat for customers using lower prices. A few colones can make all the difference.

Walmart Costa Rica is the leader in the price war announcing the change of its flagship store Hipermás name to Walmart and announcing a “permanent” reduction of prices of 4.000 items across its retail network of stores that include Mas X Menos, Pali and Maxi Bodega.

This week the chain announced a reduction of prices on 5.300 items.

Joining the price war are Megasuper and Jumbo, to major supermarket chains, which are fighting back with its own price slashing.

Staple items like sugar, rice, beans, tuna, spaghetti, oil, flour and coffee are all items being used to fight the war.

What is even interesting is Walmart competing with itself.

The Spanish language daily Al Día made a price comparison of 16 items of the same product, same brand names. The prices of the basket at Maxibodega was ¢12.748, at Megasuper ¢13.121, at Jumbo ¢13.532, in Walmart ¢15.533, at the Palí ¢13.731 and ¢14.204 at Mas X Menos.

Interestingly, the Pali, which is has always been seen as the low discount supermarket, with its warehouse shelving and limited choice of items, was not the lowest in the basket sampling.

Fighting the war, but not part of the basked sampling, are Perimercado, Super Compro and Diboyco (Gessa stores).

Yolanda Fernandez, manager of corporate affairs for Walmart, said that the company offers a wide and assorted commercial offer at low prices to help families.

“We see a market in which there are several participants, but will always benefit the consumer”, she said.

Cynthia Zapata, director of the Oficina de Apoyo al Consumidor del Ministerio de Economía – Office of Consumer Advocacy of the Ministry of Economy – said that when prices fall in a real way, the consumer always benefits.

“We see that competition, even when aggressive, is not detrimental to consumers. The important thing is to give consumers the right information”, said Zapata.

The director said the MEIC will be monitoring the situation.

One supermarket chain that is not apparently taking part in this price war is the upper end retailer, Automercado and small convenience stores like AM/PM the new entry, Freshway.

Word of the Day

det·ri·ment: \ˈde-trə-mənt\
Origin: Middle English, from Middle French or Latin; Middle French, from Latin detrimentum, from deterere to wear away, impair, from de- + terere to rub — more at throw
First Known Use: 15th century
1: injury, damage <did hard work without detriment to his health>
2: a cause of injury or damage <a detriment to progress>

More Vocabulary

Flagship: n. the finest, largest, or most important one of a series, network, or chain
Network: n.
an interconnected or interrelated chain, group, or system
Retail: n.
the sale of commodities or goods in small quantities to ultimate consumers; also: the industry of such selling
Shelve: v.
to place on a shelf
Slash: v.
to reduce sharply
Staple: n.
a commodity for which the demand is constant


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