Books: Everyday ways to squeeze more profit

The author aims to make consumers more savvy by helping them think like an economist. He succeeds, says Steve Lodge.

by Steve Lodge, a freelance financial and business journalist

My local Tesco no longer stocks 'Value' toilet paper and I've been forced to upgrade to 'Luxury Soft' at more than double the price. I've lost a toilet paper I felt comfortable with on all counts, though my housemates are mightily relieved.

But according to Harford, this is not simply a case of a business responding to customer demand (or the lack of). Lurking in the background is a sophisticated game of profit optimisation by Tesco.

The Value paper's cheap 'n' nasty packaging was a deliberate ploy by the supermarket, says Harford. The presentation is about trying to put off as many shoppers as possible so that they'll pay more for Luxury Soft, while not losing the stubborn miser sales. That way, successful supermarkets such as Tesco can sell to everyone and maximise their overall profits.

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