There was no such thing as convenience stores when I started out, just shops. Who cared if they were convenient or not? I remember my first-ever sale, as it happens - a gallon of paraffin with a free floppy record (the Esso Blue song), two ounces of barley sugar and a pack of somethings for the weekend in a brown paper bag. Happy days.
Anyway, what I’m saying is that we weren’t that bothered about price competition. Unless you wanted to trudge an extra three miles with a 56lb sack of King Edwards (£1.2s.6d) in your tartan shopping trolley, you pretty much paid what it said on the chalkboard, Green Shield Stamps or no. So I have to say I haven’t paid all that much attention to pricing architecture, matching and what have you.
However, never let it be said that Pat doesn’t move with the times. What with there being no branches of Wilko within 30 miles of College Green, I’m one of the last remaining stockists of tripe in this locality. I’ve found it brings in the better-heeled northern clientele. Sure enough, Mr Potts dropped by this morning for his weekly offal fix and we got talking.
He proudly announced Morrisons has 3,000 items at prices lower than this time last year! Not only is this quite an achievement given that we’ve only had just the four years of deflation, it leaves a mere 17,000 SKUs in an average Morries to work with in terms of, well, higher prices. No wonder they’ve had to hike the price of Marmite (£2.64).
Anyway, it’s all given me an idea for a completely new pricing strategy. I’m slashing prices across my entire range by half! Except for condoms after 10pm on a Saturday night (£200). It’s called price elasticity.