Because of Covid-19 crisis there are sometimes major price differences for the same goods in different shops in Latvia, says Agricultural Market Promotion Centre (LTVC) manager Inguna Gulbe.
“Covid-19 has polarized the population in Latvia even more. The rich and the poor are even more far-apart. The gap has expanded uncontrollably. Previously Latvia’s political stage was all about reducing the gap between different groups, at least on paper. The situation we are now pushes us in the opposite direction, however,” said Gulbe.
She also mentioned the wages of people employed in state administration were not reduced. Expenditures are lower and at least partially compensated by employers.
At the same time, however, residents employed in sectors affected by Covid-19 the most – air traffic, accommodation sector, culture and entertainment sector – now have reduced income.
Gulbe adds that polarization is also present in the assortment of goods on offers in shops – each one has at least one cheap type of milk, bread, sugar, etc.
“The result is serious differences in prices between shops. Residents can purchase, for example, bread for 1 EUR/kg even though the average price is about 2 EUR/kg. Manufacturers and retailers understand very well that there are residents to be offered one type of goods and residents to be offered other types,” she said.
“As a buyer I definitely think there is no reason for me to buy expensive sugar for 1.14 EUR/kg when I can buy it 50 cents cheaper at a different shop. And it’s the same sugar – no differences in quality or taste,” says Gulbe.
She explained that high and low prices like that popped up because the point of marketing was making people happily pay a lot, so manufacturers couldn’t be blamed for offering expensive goods – there were options to buy cheaper elsewhere.
“There is a skill to marketing and a skill to shopping,” says Gulbe.
She hopes the price growth will be moderate, because it is necessary to consider the effect Covid-19 has on the economy and residents’ purchasing power. (BNN/Business World Magazine)
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