Post-euro price tags

09/09/2002 10:00

Consumer price index

In its press announcement of 5 August 2003 Statistics Netherlands reported that the figures for the period June 2002 to June 2003 are incorrect. Therefore the CPI figures in this publcation are incorrect.
The press release of 9 September contains the corrected figures for the series for all households, and for the harmonised consumer price index.

Nearly twice as many prices were adjusted around 1 January this year as in an average month.

Number of price adjustments compared with previous month

Price adjustments: divide by two

In a number of cases prices were divided by two instead of by 2.20371 (1.2 percent of all prices). After January the number of monthly price adjustments fell again and was similar to the numbers for last year. The large number of price adjustments in January 2001 was caused by the increase in the highest rate of VAT, from 17.5 to 19 percent.

Adjustments to nice euro prices

The number of monthly price adjustments is related to the share of nice euro prices. As retailers prefer nice prices, they have tended to combine the procedures of conversions and nice pricing.

For a number of product groups this transition to nice euro prices took place straight away at the beginning of January. This also explains the high number of price adjustments in January. For most product groups the process towards nice euro prices is still underway.

In January 2001, 91 of prices were nice guilder prices. In August 2002, 78 percent of prices were nice euro prices, and the level is still increasing.

Share of nice prices in three product groups

Clothes retailers quick to switch to nice euro prices

In clothes and shoe shops, an increase in the share of nice euro prices was reported before the introduction of the euro. Some shops apparently opted to switch over to round euro prices for the 2001 autumn and winter collections.

Restaurants and pubs: adjustments around the turn of the year

In the hotel and restaurant sector the share of nice prices remained high immediately after the introduction of the euro. This sector introduced new nice prices straight away, which is reflected in the high number of price adjustments in this sector. Problems with small change may have contributed to this.

Groceries: slow adjustment

The slowest increase in the share of nice prices is for groceries. The increase is even slower than could be expected if a nice price were to be introduced at each price adjustment. There is a difference in rounding between supermarkets and specialist shops, though. There were hardly any more changes in supermarket prices in January (29 percent) than in an average month (26 percent). The share of nice prices in supermarkets has been relatively low since January. For groceries bought in specialist shops, however, seventy percent of prices have been adjusted, and there are many more nice prices.

M. Okkerse-Ruitenberg