Station retail shop prices getting chepaer

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thenorthern

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Recently I have notices when their is a choice of shops at a station such as Manchester Piccadilly or Birmingham New Street the price of goods for many of the chain stores such as Sainsbury's, Boots, Marks and Spencer prices seems to be similar to those in non-railway locations. A main exception to this is W.H. Smiths.

Am I right in thinking that most chain stores are now pricing items at the same price as non-railway locations?
 
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Tetchytyke

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They're not priced the same, but with more dynamic pricing (especially with supermarkets) it's almost impossible to tell just what the markup actually is. Certainly with Sainsbury's and Boots the headline deals are normally the same price, but when you look at other products the markup can be surprising. The Sainsbury's Local at Newcastle station is 20p more expensive on things like bottles of pop compared to the big supermarket at the end of my road.
 

telstarbox

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Is there anything to stop a shop varying its prices during the day, such as pricing up or down during the rush hour?

A few years ago there was a Morrisons Local in Manchester with LCD shelf edge labels (as opposed to printed ones) so the technology is already there in theory...
 

DynamicSpirit

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Is there anything to stop a shop varying its prices during the day, such as pricing up or down during the rush hour?

A few years ago there was a Morrisons Local in Manchester with LCD shelf edge labels (as opposed to printed ones) so the technology is already there in theory...

I imagine you'd have *extremely* unhappy customers, if people picked something off the shelves just before a price went up, and then found that they were being charged something different at the checkout from the price advertised when they picked the item off the shelf. For that reason alone, I doubt you'd get many shops trying it.
 

Shaw S Hunter

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I'm always amazed why people don't buy things for their journey before they arrive at the station.

It can just as easily work the other way. If the day doesn't go as expected it can sometimes be very useful to be able to do a bit of shopping at the station on your way home. Though the typical mark-up should act as something of a restraint!

As for the possibility of dynamic pricing I'm not sure there is a way to do it legally. I think there are regulations about the advertising/labeling of prices that would prevent it. Any experts out there care to comment?
 

Shrimper

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I'm always amazed why people don't buy things for their journey before they arrive at the station.

On the other hand, this could be exactly why in-station stores have lowered prices, as the prevalence of smaller, city centre supermarkets means it is now much easier to avoid having to purchase food at stations or on board trains.
 

rebmcr

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It can just as easily work the other way. If the day doesn't go as expected it can sometimes be very useful to be able to do a bit of shopping at the station on your way home. Though the typical mark-up should act as something of a restraint!

As for the possibility of dynamic pricing I'm not sure there is a way to do it legally. I think there are regulations about the advertising/labeling of prices that would prevent it. Any experts out there care to comment?

RFID tags on the items that log the displayed price when picked, and honour it at the checkout. Hotel mini-fridges can have those to stop you having a late-night drink and replacing it with a shop-bought one the next day.
 

Hadders

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I imagine you'd have *extremely* unhappy customers, if people picked something off the shelves just before a price went up, and then found that they were being charged something different at the checkout from the price advertised when they picked the item off the shelf. For that reason alone, I doubt you'd get many shops trying it.

Price increases get applied to the shelf a period of time before they applied to the tills.

Price decreases get applied in the tills immediately with shelf edge prices updated afterwards.

This way customers might get undercharged (which technically is illegal) but they won't get overcharged. This is how prices get changed in stores up and down the country.
 

jindivik

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DON't buy a bottle of orange juice from Costa in Piccadilly....unless you want a heart attack :)
 

dk1

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Quite simply it's very convenient and not everybody is on an outbound journey from home.

Exactly. I'm the same. Sometimes just can't be bothered whatever the mark-up is on the products. If it's convenient I shop there. They know that too.
 

bignosemac

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As for the possibility of dynamic pricing I'm not sure there is a way to do it legally. I think there are regulations about the advertising/labeling of prices that would prevent it. Any experts out there care to comment?

Shelf edge prices or price labels on products are merely 'an invitation to treat'. You are being invited to make an offer to buy. The retailer is under no legal obligation to honour that price. They can refuse your money and not enter into a contract. Equally, if the price of an item is not agreeable to the purchaser at the point of sale then they can of course refuse to purchase it.

Deliberate mis-pricing in favour of the retailer can however be illegal, under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations.
 

GRALISTAIR

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Recently I have notices when their is a choice of shops at a station such as Manchester Piccadilly or Birmingham New Street the price of goods for many of the chain stores such as Sainsbury's, Boots, Marks and Spencer prices seems to be similar to those in non-railway locations.

Am I right in thinking that most chain stores are now pricing items at the same price as non-railway locations?

I just love competition. A free market economy at work. :D
 

WatcherZero

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W.H. Smiths the station/airports business and the high street business are in essence completely separate trading companies with different stock buyers and distribution channels.
 

jon0844

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I imagine you'd have *extremely* unhappy customers, if people picked something off the shelves just before a price went up, and then found that they were being charged something different at the checkout from the price advertised when they picked the item off the shelf. For that reason alone, I doubt you'd get many shops trying it.

You could perhaps do it if you advertised a price and offered a discount between certain hours (say 5 or 10%). Maybe that would be popular, or it might annoy others who would protest by shopping elsewhere.

I must admit that Sainsbury's seems to do more harm than good with its offers as some of them are so patronising, I'd rather not get them at all.

You do a big £100 shop and you get a voucher giving you a stack of Nectar points if you spend another £60 within 5 days. Yeah, thanks for that reward, not!

Maybe retailers should seek to offer some sort of reward card usable at various locations within a station, giving say 20% off purchases?...
 
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Gonzoiku

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W.H. Smiths the station/airports business and the high street business are in essence completely separate trading companies with different stock buyers and distribution channels.
Quite so, and hence why you cannot use WHS vouchers on stations. I strongly suspect that at Euston the majority of the retail offerings are in fact run by one company operating numerous franchises.

GZ

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jon0844

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W.H. Smiths the station/airports business and the high street business are in essence completely separate trading companies with different stock buyers and distribution channels.

I'm not sure if WH Smith Travel is the same everywhere, or if there are individual tiers, but I know you get eye watering prices at airports and when I some of the 'deals' at a motorway service station, I almost shouted out 'WTF!' in shock.
 

route:oxford

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You do a big £100 shop and you get a voucher giving you a stack of Nectar points if you spend another £60 within 5 days. Yeah, thanks for that reward, not!

Or more annoyingly you hear the voucher printer go through the motions with a beep - but it's out of paper or jammed inside.

I'd rather they just auto-loaded to my Nectar card and dropped me an email or updated the app to say what my offers are.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
Quite so, and hence why you cannot use WHS vouchers on stations. I strongly suspect that at Euston the majority of the retail offerings are in fact run by one company operating numerous franchises.

GZ

Sent from my XT1580 using Tapatalk

Although oddly you can use both M&S Vouchers and your Sparks card at M&S branded branches of WH Smith at stations, hospitals, airports etc...
 

DynamicSpirit

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You could perhaps do it if you advertised a price and offered a discount between certain hours (say 5 or 10%). Maybe that would be popular, or it might annoy others who would protest by shopping elsewhere.

That would certainly be less likely to annoy customers. However, it comes with its own problems: Most obviously, managing checkout queues at the changeover times. If prices are about to drop, you'll have people hanging around the shop waiting till the precise moment before they start queuing to pay. If they are about to rise, then expect big queues just before the changeover time (as well as undesirable behaviour, such as people running around the shop, banging into other customers) as people try to make sure they pay just before the prices go up. And to avoid complaints, you'd probably need to work using the time a customer joins the checkout queue, not the time they reach the checkout - which in turn would imply extra staff to manage the queues.

On a lesser note, a blanket 5% discount might not be compatible with marketing requirements, if the supermarkets only want to discount certain items at off-peak times.
 
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jindivik

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I strongly suspect that at Euston the majority of the retail offerings are in fact run by one company operating numerous franchises.

GZ

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Not just Euston, a lot of the stations of the country operate catering shops under one provider, "SSP group" provide a lot of the retail offerings at stations, even brands such as Burger King, Starbucks and M&S
 

thenorthern

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Shops at stations in England and Wales are exempt from the Sunday Trading Act. 1994 I think which prevents most large shops from opening more than six hours per day on Sundays which is why most supermarkets have the 10-4 opening hours on Sundays.
 

Bletchleyite

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I'm not sure if WH Smith Travel is the same everywhere, or if there are individual tiers, but I know you get eye watering prices at airports and when I some of the 'deals' at a motorway service station, I almost shouted out 'WTF!' in shock.

Motorway services fund their 24 hour service for the vast number of people who pop in just for the loo and don't buy anything by charging heavily for things they do sell. An alternative would be to charge for the toilets, but I imagine that would be far less popular in the UK.

Airports get away with it by being a captive market.
 

jon0844

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Motorway services fund their 24 hour service for the vast number of people who pop in just for the loo and don't buy anything by charging heavily for things they do sell. An alternative would be to charge for the toilets, but I imagine that would be far less popular in the UK.

Airports get away with it by being a captive market.
Would require a law change to do that, and then they'd need to start checking the toilets more regular. I often see the countdown to the next check as way overdue, so even with the money made from selling good, drink, petrol and the use of cash machines (remember when these were free?) they still scrimp on staff.

I think people are more prepared these days. If you're paying for your own food or fuel, you'll stock up before or use your SatNav to find somewhere else.

This, in turn, makes you less likely to spend money and prices will have to rise, which..

I try not to even go there for the toilets, as the car park layouts and the way people drive is often a nightmare too.

Mind you, the forecourt traders are at least long gone.
 

WatcherZero

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Its not just the running costs. The service stations have to pay a large amount for the concession to open in the first place as the government limits their numbers.
 

thenorthern

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With services the rule is they have to be open 24 hours per day and provide free parking for 2 hours as well as free toilets. I think they also have to provide some shopping facilities 24 hours per day.
 

Hadders

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Motorway service stations aren't allowed to be a destination in their own right so operators cannot advertise them externally to drum up custom.
 

yorksrob

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Motorway service stations aren't allowed to be a destination in their own right so operators cannot advertise them externally to drum up custom.

I was watching the excellent documentary "The Secret Life of Motorways" on the opening of the M1, and apparently people used to go to the service station restaurants for Christmas Dinner !
 

jon0844

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Lots of people also used to go there for the fruit machines, back in the day when there were often a range of methods to always make more money than you invested.

With the higher jackpots and more randomness than before, that's another part of service stations that are pretty dead these days.

I remember going to South Mimms at 1 or 2am on a weekend after being out and the fruit machines being rammed. You had people who knew what they were doing winning the money from those that didn't!
 

Busaholic

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Lots of people also used to go there for the fruit machines, back in the day when there were often a range of methods to always make more money than you invested.

With the higher jackpots and more randomness than before, that's another part of service stations that are pretty dead these days.

I remember going to South Mimms at 1 or 2am on a weekend after being out and the fruit machines being rammed. You had people who knew what they were doing winning the money from those that didn't!

Exeter Services just off the M5 at 2 a.m. used to be the preserve of the occasional car driver like me who'd been driving for hours and required a quick espresso lift for the final two hours home, the odd truck driver and a whole cabal of teenagers playing the fruit machines. Nowadays, it's just the car and truck drivers.
 
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