Do Retailers Manipulate Prices to Favour Private Label over Brands?

Research output: Working paper

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Retailers act as both customers and competitors for brand manufacturers when selling private label in direct competition with brands. This paper considers whether retailers exploit this double-agent position to practice switch marketing, manipulating elements of the retail marketing mix to encourage shoppers to switch from buying brands to private label. Such manipulation can be blatant in nature, such as comparative advertising, brand delisting trials, copycat packaging, and biased shelf allocation. However, the key interest in this paper concerns whether retailers use a more subtle means through strategic pricing to favour private label over brands. The paper reveals very different price treatments of brands and matching private label goods. However, the identified pricing patterns are more indicative of retailers manipulating prices for the sake of segmenting consumers rather than displacing brands.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages40
Publication statusPublished - 16 Mar 2018

Publication series

NameCentre for Competition Policy Working Papers
PublisherCentre for Competition Policy
ISSN (Print)1745-9648
ISSN (Electronic)1945-9648


  • brand
  • private label
  • retailer
  • pricing
  • marketing
  • manipulation

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