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Old 11.08.2011, 23:43
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Re: Why aren't prices falling...?

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Dude, there isn't just one lamb supplier in the whole Switzerland. Furthermore, how can you guarantee that Aldi doesn't close both eyes on quality when it comes to price/contract negotiation ? Germany is the no.1 fattest country in Europe. It has to do with the cheap, low quality food IMO (just like in the US).

I'm not confident on Coop/Migros eather, but obviously, there's less junk food there.
It's this kind of thought-terminating cliché with suspiciously little supporting evidence which is used time and time again to avoid scrutiny of the more fundamental economics.

It's almost a required knee-jerk act from some quarters to suggest that an an outside competitor could only be cheaper due to higher exploitation of workers or lowering quality. This may sometimes be the case - but it is just blinkered to stubborn refuse to even consider that a lower price could possibly be down to better economies of scale, better use of pricing contracts, better use of favourable exchange rates or a willingness to take a lower unit profit to increase unit sales.

The simplest explanation is often the best - that the big two supermarkets are happy taking high profits per unit (relative to other countries' supermarkets), because they really don't believe there's any potential for increasing unit sales and total revenue by dropping the unit price.

In short, it's much better PR to make vague, subjective handwaving gestures about higher quality and ethics, rather than turning to the public and admitting that their prices are set higher than their competitors to maximise profits.

As for the rest - I would expect higher consumption of high-calorie processed food is a far more significant factor in Germany's higher rate of obesity than alleged minute differences in the fat percentage of fresh meat (and don't make the mistake that lower quality meat is always leaner). I also don't see the higher rate of unhealthy food in Aldi either - there's a far more extensive range of both healthy and unhealthy food in my local Migros/Coop, in similar proportions.
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  #62  
Old 11.08.2011, 23:50
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Re: Why aren't prices falling...?

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Let me ask you a simple question : How much money is spent in Switzerland for food (from food markets, not restaurants) versus tax/rent/transport/insurances etc ?
.
Around 20%. 1 2

Not an insignificant amount, certainly comparable with the other expenses you mention.
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  #63  
Old 12.08.2011, 00:21
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Re: Why aren't prices falling...?

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1. Did I mention input prices? No
2. The swiss I spoke to today said "paid more" NOT "expats paid more"
3. Prices are high because the market is rigged and locals invent ways to make themselves accept it. Foreigners are not forced to accept it...so there is an active "Leaving Switzerland" forum. Looking at an expat site for Canada I noticed that they didn't have a prominent "Leaving Canada" forum. Instead they had a "celebrate the number of years I've been here" forum.
Again, what people are paid has NOTHING to do with the prices. What however has a major influence on prices are the high real estate prices, and the heavily subsidized agriculture.

Nobody "invents" ways. Of course, importers were mentioned as profiting by paying in Euros and still demanding the same prices as before. But with the exception of food-traders, many importers have stuff on stock they purchased half a year or a year or two or three years ago. And what do you mean by "the market is rigged" ? You might specify this a bit more. And finally, you apparently forget that Switzerland is a traditional EMIgration country, and the emigration, in spite of IMmigration waves (Huguenots, Italians in the 1900s and 1910s and 1920ies and then again in the 1950ies and 1960ies, and other nationalities later, continued until these days. There of course are returnees. You may have heard that the "Swiss abroad" are important in Swiss votes and elections all the time.

This is the reason why the Swiss abroad (ASO - Ausland-Schweizer Organisation -- www.aso.ch etc) are often described as die fünfte Schweiz = the fifth Switzerland !

Foreigners have not to accept it ? Do you want to say that immigrants to Switzerland do not know beforehand that prices in Switzerland tend to be relatively high ? Sure, not as high as they were in Britain into the early 1970ies, or as exorbitant they were in the USA into the early 1980ies but of course rather high . But I thought that well-informed and well-qualified folks knew basic facts of a destination-country. Then, look at the immigrants-communities from the Mediterranean (plus Africa and Asia). Those folks use their holidays in their wider "home-regions" to make purchases. An older Kosovari in this house uses his holidays to purchase his elegant custom-tailored suits each time. And shopping accross the border was important here already at the beginning of the 20th Century deep into the 1930ies and then again after 1945, so that this is not new. Interesting is that people from the neighbouring areas did and do shopping in Switzerland. Both sides know exactly what is available where.

So that this a bit tearful "victim-approach" of you does not hold water, as well-qualified immigrants have the possiblity to do their shopping in full accordance with availibilities, which of course is perfectly normal.
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Old 12.08.2011, 00:25
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Re: Why aren't prices falling...?

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is ridiculously expensive here"
Well, this shows my point. Your ridiculously aggressive question provokes harsh replies

A decent question might have been "Isn't the price for .... a bit too high?"

It now is clear that you are of the provocative and aggressive troop
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  #65  
Old 12.08.2011, 01:30
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Re: Why aren't prices falling...?

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Again, what people are paid has NOTHING to do with the prices.
This just isn't true. Income (relative to prices) affects demand, demand affects the price setting for optimal profit. Compare the price you can get for goat or rabbit meat (regarded as 'inferior' products) in high and low income countries. In many low-income countries you'd expect to sell them both at a decent profit; in Switzerland you'd have to cut the price to near cost, if you could sell it at all. Conversely, luxury consumer electronics are often cheaper in high-income countries; in low-income countries you have nothing to gain by reducing prices as it won't increase demand enough to increase revenue.

It's the combination of price elasticity of demand and income elasticity of demand; Wikipedia's got the basics, any microeconomics textbook had the details.
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Old 12.08.2011, 02:21
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Re: Why aren't prices falling...?

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This just isn't true. Income (relative to prices) affects demand, demand affects the price setting for optimal profit. Compare the price you can get for goat or rabbit meat (regarded as 'inferior' products) in high and low income countries. In many low-income countries you'd expect to sell them both at a decent profit; in Switzerland you'd have to cut the price to near cost, if you could sell it at all. Conversely, luxury consumer electronics are often cheaper in high-income countries; in low-income countries you have nothing to gain by reducing prices as it won't increase demand enough to increase revenue.

It's the combination of price elasticity of demand and income elasticity of demand; Wikipedia's got the basics, any microeconomics textbook had the details.
While it of course is correct that if you have a shop in a quarter with well earning people, you can sell expensive stuff. But it is irrelevant in quarters where people do not have such high salaries.

This means that to adopt a particular price level on the basis of some averages not only is wrong in principle but most of all wrong by commercial considerations. It may be that the CH average is above the D average, but the average of cities like Zürich, München, Stuttgart and Basel is similar, and the one of München clearly higher than in Uri or Jura or Appenzell.

You mention flexibility. I in England have seen that shop-prices (same products) were lower in Lasham and Alton and Bristol than in London. I in France have seen that shop prices (same products) in Paris were clearly higher than in places like Strassburg, Annecy, Toulon-Hyères, Montpellier, Narbonne, Rennes and St. Malo. It makes sense that certain shops on the CH side along the German border are well-stocked with cigarettes (cheaper than on the D-side), and also well stocked with stationary and camera equipment . These sectors however suffered in recent months due to the skyrocketing level of the CHF
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  #67  
Old 12.08.2011, 08:32
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Re: Why aren't prices falling...?

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Why not support your local Turkish shop?
You mean Migros? Because Migros was founded in Turkey first. It is not Swiss company. Well, now it is independent, but still ...
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Old 12.08.2011, 08:40
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Re: Why aren't prices falling...?

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So, with the huge rise of the CHF and the drop of interest rates, why aren't prices falling...?

The big benefit of a rising currency is usualy that imports get cheaper.

True, there is often a lag as inventories bought at a higher price are used up. But, the CHF has been going up for some time now.

So why aren't gas (petrol) prices falling...? The prices of oil has been falling and it is denominated in US$.

[...]
I don't think any company in the world is willing to sell more products to get the same amount of money. Prices will be the same and would not decrease.

OTOH, if you shop in EU you will support their economics. Everyone is happy

Speaking about petrol, actually the raw fuel is imported but then it is post-processed in Switzerland, therefore you still have to pay to those guys (in sfr) for the work.

Truly speaking, I am wondering how you, american friends can live here When I see prices in US it is fascinating how everything is cheap there ... And here it is opposite.

It must have been hard to compare and realize.
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Old 12.08.2011, 08:40
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Re: Why aren't prices falling...?

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You mean Migros? Because Migros was founded in Turkey first. It is not Swiss company. Well, now it is independent, but still ...
Wrong, other way around:

"Migros was founded in 1925 in Zürich as a private enterprise by Gottlieb Duttweiler, who had the idea of selling just six basic foodstuffs at low prices to householders who, in those days, did not have ready access to markets of any kind"

"In 1954 Migros entered the Turkish market, forming Migros Türk in partnership with the Istanbul City Council. This was sold to Turkish group Koç Holding in 1975 and is the largest retailer in Turkey."

Tom
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Old 12.08.2011, 08:48
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Re: Why aren't prices falling...?

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I don't think any company in the world is willing to sell more products to get the same amount of money. Prices will be the same and would not decrease.

OTOH, if you shop in EU you will support their economics. Everyone is happy

Speaking about petrol, actually the raw fuel is imported but then it is post-processed in Switzerland, therefore you still have to pay to those guys (in sfr) for the work.

Truly speaking, I am wondering how you, american friends can live here When I see prices in US it is fascinating how everything is cheap there ... And here it is opposite.

It must have been hard to compare and realize.
At the market yesterday an American customer complained loudly about the price of something at a neighbours stall...

"one dollar for a cookie!?" the seller quickly but calmly explained "well a year ago they were 50c, but since then your currency has collapsed. Our price hasn't actually changed at all since then"

That shut him up.
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Old 12.08.2011, 08:53
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Re: Why aren't prices falling...?

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I don't think any company in the world is willing to sell more products to get the same amount of money. Prices will be the same and would not decrease.
Of course they are. More items sold means more frequency in stores and since we're all diven by impulse, customers are more likely to pick up other random products. Also, every additional item you sell, means that your direct competitor will sell one less item. There are even some items, which produce cost rather than revenue and are in the stores for the sole purpose of exclusivity.
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Old 12.08.2011, 09:13
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Re: Why aren't prices falling...?

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At some stage, the Euro has to claw it's way back. Then watch the prices go up!!!

I think the biggest exploiters of the current situation are swiss dealers of european cars. Rather than drop the price, they seem to only want to add extras. And then they wonder why so many people are now buying cars accross the border.

One reason for this is the high rate of leased cars in Switzerland..dealers know that to lease a car here they have the monopoly. But people are becoming smarter. Migrosbank offers private loans for 5.9% ...comparable to a lease, tax deductable interest, no obligation for full insurance,and you can sell the car any time you want. Buy the car in Germany from a dealer who will do all the paperwork for you, and you've saved yourself about 30% of the price. The lease on my car is up in February, I'm considering doing this if I decide to update my car.
According to the fleet manager of my company the difference in price is almost 50% at this point. Cars in Germany were cheaper before, now with the currency appreciation it's getting insane. He estimates that every second car at the moment is bought abroad, the backlog of the car registrations is massive, you'll have to wait a few months to be able to drive your car, unless you happen to have another license plate lying around...

I work in procurement of a large company, and I can tell you it's really hard to make the big suppliers budge with their prices, every month they can delay it gives them massive profits. And since parallel imports for many products aren't possible we have very little leverage to make them move.

Food will always be more expensive in Switzerland, so will most consumer products. We have slightly stricter standards of declaration, consumer products need the three languages, higher retailing costs etc... but most other products (electronics, furniture, cars) should not be more than 10% more expensive.
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Old 12.08.2011, 09:14
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Re: Why aren't prices falling...?

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You mean Migros? Because Migros was founded in Turkey first. It is not Swiss company. Well, now it is independent, but still ...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Migros_T%C3%BCrk
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Old 12.08.2011, 09:31
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Re: Why aren't prices falling...?

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Of course they are. More items sold means more frequency in stores and since we're all diven by impulse, customers are more likely to pick up other random products. Also, every additional item you sell, means that your direct competitor will sell one less item. There are even some items, which produce cost rather than revenue and are in the stores for the sole purpose of exclusivity.
Not in Switzerland they won't. Most people here buy according to need rather than impulse. You describe more North American behavour - look at the difference in the savings rate between CH and USA for evidence of this...
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Old 12.08.2011, 09:41
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Re: Why aren't prices falling...?

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...Food will always be more expensive in Switzerland, so will most consumer products. We have slightly stricter standards of declaration, consumer products need the three languages, higher retailing costs etc....
Actually with food it's mainly protection for Swiss farmers that makes anything that is produced in Switzerland more expensive. You may regard this as good or bad but that's a whole other discussion. It's basically only stuff produced locally (Meat, dairy, local fruit, some grains/grain products) that is massively more expensive than in the EU, if you compare Aldi/Lidl prices other things are much closer. Peaches or Nectarines for example are usually pretty much the same here or in Austria.
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Old 12.08.2011, 09:50
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Re: Why aren't prices falling...?

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Actually with food it's mainly protection for Swiss farmers that makes anything that is produced in Switzerland more expensive. You may regard this as good or bad but that's a whole other discussion. It's basically only stuff produced locally (Meat, dairy, local fruit, some grains/grain products) that is massively more expensive than in the EU, if you compare Aldi/Lidl prices other things are much closer. Peaches or Nectarines for example are usually pretty much the same here or in Austria.
Not disagreeing with you there, but as Grumpy mentioned, most stores here do have a different cost structure than retailers abroad, so some difference will always remain, agricultural subsidies/import restrictions or not. Allow parallel and grey imports and things might change.
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Old 12.08.2011, 09:59
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Re: Why aren't prices falling...?

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Actually with food it's mainly protection for Swiss farmers that makes anything that is produced in Switzerland more expensive. You may regard this as good or bad but that's a whole other discussion. It's basically only stuff produced locally (Meat, dairy, local fruit, some grains/grain products) that is massively more expensive than in the EU, if you compare Aldi/Lidl prices other things are much closer. Peaches or Nectarines for example are usually pretty much the same here or in Austria.
Prices for fruits and vegetables are high because Swiss retailers don't buy in large quantities compared to retailers in other countries...and Swiss farmers could hardly come up with the quantities required to feed the country.
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Old 12.08.2011, 10:11
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Re: Why aren't prices falling...?

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Not in Switzerland they won't. Most people here buy according to need rather than impulse. You describe more North American behavour - look at the difference in the savings rate between CH and USA for evidence of this...
What LiB described above DID happen and DOES happen in Switzerland for decades. Most people here GO shopping due to needs but when being there, just as LiB states, on impulse purchase additional stuff. This works everywhere here. One of the big retail-chains here has lowered some prices, not really those products where they had good margins, but products people DO SEE when shopping. The idea of course is to A) improve the reputation of the company and B) stimulate consumption

It was Helmut Schmidt who said "50% of the economy is psychology"
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Old 12.08.2011, 10:16
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Re: Why aren't prices falling...?

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Actually with food it's mainly protection for Swiss farmers that makes anything that is produced in Switzerland more expensive. You may regard this as good or bad but that's a whole other discussion. It's basically only stuff produced locally (Meat, dairy, local fruit, some grains/grain products) that is massively more expensive than in the EU, if you compare Aldi/Lidl prices other things are much closer. Peaches or Nectarines for example are usually pretty much the same here or in Austria.
Here again, many agricultural products ARE most heavily subsidized (directly in cash or via duty-barriers, or even full barriers, the full barriers protecting certain products for one or two crucial months. But many others are not protected, and get reduced in shop-prices when there is too much of the stuff (certain vegetables/salads for example) . Meat is NOT protected and mostly comes from abroad (Poland for example).
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Old 12.08.2011, 10:18
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Re: Why aren't prices falling...?

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Prices for fruits and vegetables are high because Swiss retailers don't buy in large quantities compared to retailers in other countries...and Swiss farmers could hardly come up with the quantities required to feed the country.
Exactly. I mean a "very large order" placed by either Migros or COOP or Aldi-CH or Lidl-CH is just a small order on the international markets.
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