BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN (Borneo Bulletin/Asia News Network): There are several factors that may affect the prices of goods in department stores, large supermarkets, as well as medium and small retail stores, usually related to business operating costs and market forces.
This was said by the Department of Economic Planning and Statistics (DEPS), Ministry of Finance and Economy (MoFE) on the many complaints received about price differences for the same goods.
The main factor affecting the prices is the cost of different business structures and operations, such as rent, employee wages, utilities, transportation costs and other operating costs involving supplies, the agency said.
In general, larger stores and supermarkets possess the advantage in terms of cost due to their capacity to purchase directly from suppliers, the DEPS said, adding that the business location also has influence on how retailers price their goods.
The DEPS has received several consumer complaints regarding the issue.
However, it added that the difference in prices for the same goods is not covered under the Consumer Protection (Fair Trading) Order 2011.
The order instead covers issues such as making false statements about the effectiveness or benefits of using a product, and deceiving or misleading consumers.
The economy of scale also plays a huge role. Compared to small-sized businesses, buildings and larger supermarkets selling a variety of goods have the advantage of lowering the cost of each unit of goods by taking into account the factor of greater sales quantity.
Different marketing strategies among stores in attracting customers are also another factor, said the DEPS.
The DEPS said, “Looking at supermarkets and business premises, buildings and retail stores that are growing all over the country selling various brands of the same type of goods is a positive development, which can lead to a competitive business environment.
“Therefore, the price difference between the business premises is appropriate and common due to factors such as different business cost structures. In this regard, people can benefit from the variety of brand options available in the market and the choice of places to shop that offer more reasonable prices.”
The public is advised to be wise consumers by using the PenggunaBijak mobile app which provides price comparisons.