What's the point of alternating sales at the grocery story?

The grocery stores near me tend to have Coke on sale one week and Pepsi the next. The price difference between the sale item and the one not on sale is huge. $0.79 for Coke vs. $1.49 for Pepsi is typical. That’s almost 50% off! Then the next week they switch. They do the same thing with OJ and I’m sure there are other products too.

So what’s the reasoning behind this?

maybe they’re doing testing. If I buy coke one week when it’s on sale, and the next buy it when it’s not. Then obviously, I care more about product than price. but that’s just my guess.

Stores have items on sale to get you into the store. You buy the sale items, but also pick up the other stuff you need. In the end, they sell more overall “stuff.”

The items that alternate (soda, cigarettes, beer) tend to be products that have very high brand-loyalty. Coke drinkers almost exclusively drink Coke. Same for Pepsi drinkers, Bud drinkers, Marlboro smokers, etc. So one week the Coke drinkers come to save on soda, the next week, the Pepsi drinkers come in. The reason they alternate, I suspect, has more to do with the suppliers than the stores. Coke wants to win over Pepsi drinkers, Pepsi wants to win over Coke drinkers (side note - ever notice how Pepsi One ads compare it to the taste of Coke and the low calories of Diet Coke?). If they’re both on sale at the same time, everyone just goes with their favorite all the time. Price wars ensue, and neither wins.

But, no one really pays that much attention to what’s on sale when. They just keep going to the same store as long as some of the stuff they buy is on sale some of the time. The there’s people like me (and I assume by your OP, you) who don’t care whether they drink Pepsi or Coke. We just buy whichever is on sale, but we also buy our other “stuff.”

I’m pretty sure I read an explanation of this in one of the Straight Dope books, but I can’t find it in the archives.

Grocery store chains “sell weeks.” If a company, such as Coca Cola, buys a week, their brand will be the lowest priced item that week.

There has been quite a stink about this over the years, because Coke and Pepsi buy all the weeks. This means other products, like RC, will always be more expensive than the other brands. I believe RC sued about this, but I don’t know what happened.

Maybe someone else will have better luck finding this in the archives.

If everyone was brand loyal, then there would be no need for sales. Most of these sales are sponsored by the product manufacturer in an effort to boost market share.

All else being equal, I buy Pepsi. But if Coke can beat Pepsi by more than a dime, I say “Goodbye, Purchase” and “Hello, Atlanta”.

Funny but in my area RC is always less than Coke Or Pepsi full prince. It usually sells in the Supermarket for $1.09 a 2 litre.

But what’s more odd, the ma and pop type of stores in my neighborhood ALWAYS have Coke or Pepsi for sale. It is always between 99 cents and $1.29

you have basically 3 types of people
1 - will buy coke, 2 will buy pespi, 3 will buy whatever is cheaper

If you only discount coke youwill loose people from group 2 or visa-versa.

if you discount both together then you will loose some of 3 as they will go to competers who have at least 1 on sale all the time.

with alternating sales
when coke is on sale, group 1 adn 3 will buy, some of group 2 will buy the high priced item, at least one to get then to next week (if they buy coke then they are really group 3) and some will hold out till next week.
then the opposite for pepsi sales

That’s my take on it