In the first test of detailed consumer-buying habits by categories at more than one chain store selling groceries, a team of business school researchers, led by Washington University in St. Louis, found that shoppers weren’t monogamist or bigamist but rather polygamist in their choice of outlets. In fact, it turns out that grocery categories such as dessert toppings, motor oil, candles and refrigerated ethnic foods were some of the leading products that lure customers to separate stores.
Every week you see it: the local supermarket’s specials include a discount on Brand X tuna fish. Common knowledge assumes that a sale on tuna fish will induce more people to buy Brand X, which boosts profits for both the manufacturer and the grocery store. However, a recent study by professors in the Olin School of Business at Washington University in St. Louis has found that discounts are not always in the best interest of the retailer or manufacturer. In fact, some promotions may end up hurting future profitability.