Competition Policies and Consumer Welfare Corporate Strategies and Consumer Prices in Developing Countries
Edited by Lahcen Achy and Susan Joekes
Chapter 2: An assessment of anticompetitive conduct in the supermarkets sector in Costa Rica
In the past 30 years, large supermarkets have changed the retail business landscape around the world. They have introduced larger stores, provided a wider variety of products, lengthened shopping hours and attempted to reach out to a more diverse clientele. This strategy has transformed traditional retailing. The entry of large-scale supermarkets has been driven by both supply and demand factors. Changes on the demand side are due to a range of economic, sociological and demographic factors. Improvement in standards of living, increased urbanization and higher female participation in the labour force outside the home have all contributed to promote modern distribution. Large supermarkets offer processed food that saves cooking time. Growth in personal incomes and access to consumer credit have prompted more widespread use of large refrigerators, easing the storage of perishable products and changing shopping habits. Affordability of cars by the middle and upper-middle classes favours the expansion of large supermarkets in the cities’ outskirts (Lagakos 2009).
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