In December 2001 Statistics Netherlands conducted a special survey in Dutch shops to find out how they were doing in the conversion of guilder to euro prices. The survey revealed whether double pricing had been carried out accurately and whether shopkeepers had adjusted their prices to be able to convert them to nice round euro prices.
According to an analysis of more than sixty thousand prices collected by Statistics Netherlands for the consumer price index, in January 2001 95 percent of prices were nice prices. As this had only fallen to 90 percent by the end of 2001, most prices had not been converted to nice euro prices.
Food items and soft drinks were articles least often priced in round amounts.
And although nice euro prices were encountered most for clothes and shoes, in this branch too by far most prices were still nice guilder prices in December 2001.
In December 2001 Statistics Netherlands noted the guilder price and the indicative euro prices on five thousand price tags. As these were all prices as observed in shops, we were able to check whether the shop conversions were accurate. The survey did not include local tax rates, insurance premiums, market prices and prices of products sold on the Internet.
In by far most cases double pricing in shops was accurate: 84 percent of prices had been recalculated accurately to the nearest euro cent. Prices of 9.3 percent of surveyed items were slightly higher; 4.7 percent points of these can be explained by shopkeepers using 2.20 instead of 2.20371 as the conversion factor. In 7.2 percent of the cases the new euro price was lower. More than half of all deviations were more than five euro cents. Most of them were found in the categories of more expensive items.
Hardly any differences between guilder and euro prices were reported in supermarkets and department stores. More differences were spotted in smaller shops selling in the food, drinks and tobacco items (bakers, butchers, off licences, greengrocers, fishmongers, etc.). One cause of the observed differences may be that the larger stores are more likely to have a computerised pricing system.
Statistics Netherlands’ press release with price information for January 2002 will be published on 8 February.