RimBlock wrote:...Sometimes it is not the retailer but the distributor or the brand setting the price. Of course sometimes it is the retailer.
i scuba dive and am on good terms with most of the distributors for scuba equipment in singapore for one reason or another. one of them is an affiliate for an international brand, the rest are authorized distributors for singapore + a few other countries (covering all the major brands of scuba equipment).
i've been told that pricing for various territories are strictly enforced by the principal/parent company (HQ) and non-adherence to RRP and allowed discounts in singapore causes a lot of conflict between ADs from neighboring countries and HQ.
for example, i know of australian, kiwi, thai, indonesian and malaysian scuba shop operators traveling to singapore just to buy scuba equipment at "friend" prices. they tell me it's cheaper to fly here, buy 2 suit cases full of stuff and re-sell them than to order from their local AD.
the source and the prices are not often revealed but it does some time slip out that additional stock from the brand are being sold at Shop D (eg, Bali) at prices much lower than anywhere else in indonesian - even after trade discount.
so the indonesian AD will investigate and then complain to HQ. depending on the relationship between the singapore AD and HQ, the penalties can be quite severe.
HQ may also choose not to hand out additional distributorships/resellers due to the possibility of a new (read: bold) business under-cutting/discounting RRP, as the case may be in asian countries, which may harm the brand. so they may opt to use the threat of appointing new reps to ensure the current rep(s) toe the line.
i've not even begun to include the regular price adjustments needed due to the various FX fluctuations + pricing and movement of old stock/new stock... regardless of whether a product is suitably "ranked" or marketed in a foreign country (what may be a premium product in the USA may not be popular in singapore, etc).
a balance needs to be struck too, because if HQ thinks their products are doing particularly well in the country, they may opt to cut out the middle man. this has happened before to some scuba apparel companies.
so what is the AD to do? they carry huge inventories whether they like it or not, service customers (eg, world wide warranty), take all the risk (and reward) involved in promoting the brand, including marketing and booths at trade shows (always never spending enough in the HQ's eyes) and if they do well, the brand might be taken away. if they don't do well and need to move stock by discounting, they risk the brand being taken away.
so perhaps what you're seeing is the middle ground. i don't like it, but singapore's too small and it is what it is.