NASHUA, N.H.-How important is keeping track of your competitors' pricing? It's important enough to wholesaler Maynard & Lesieur Inc. to devote a portion of the company's new $3,000 computer system to tracking and storing the data, according to company President Roland Lesieur.
The company hopes taking the time and effort to peruse newspaper advertisements throughout New England will enable them to determine who, if anyone, is getting ``special'' pricing deals from manufacturers. The practice might also provide the company's dealer customers with guidelines on tire pricing.
At least that's what Mr. Lesieur hopes.
``I think it (the pricing data) will tell you a story,'' Mr. Lesieur said. ``I'm not sure what story it's going to tell.*.*.*but it's good general knowledge.''
Actually, the dealership had tracked prices in the past, Mr. Lesieur said. But the company's new computer will make the process more streamlined and accurate, he added.
Maynard & Lesieur intends to collect pricing information on large dealerships, warehouse clubs and mass merchandisers-including National Tire Warehouse and Kmart Corp. outlets in New Hampshire and Massachusetts-from newspaper ads and promotional flyers.
The information will then be compared by taking into account local market prices, volume discounts and how each company prices ``extras,'' like balancing.
It's not going to be an easy task, Mr. Lesieur admitted.
In a best-case scenario, Mr. Lesieur said he hopes the information will show whether tire manufacturers are giving pricing deals to certain outlets.
``We're trying to do a better job of trying to keep our suppliers in line. Now, we'll probably fail as usual,'' he joked. ``But at least we made an effort.''
He said he hopes a computer printout of the pricing data will help sell his case to manufacturer representatives.
But the Nashua-based wholesaler also is collecting the pricing data to help its dealer customers remain competitive, Mr. Lesieur said.
``The average retail tire dealer has to come out with a price on everything in a moderate price range, or he has to be within a few dollars (of discounters and mass merchandisers),'' he said. ``The hardest thing in the business is how to price a tire. What should the dealer strive for?''
Tracked over a period of time, Mr. Lesieur hopes the data will expose pricing policies among larger chains, in particular, how they price tires in a given market and within what time frame larger retailers implement manufacturer price hikes.
``It's good general knowledge because you don't want to hold back your price rise,'' he said.
It will be at least three to six months before the company knows whether or not tracking the prices is effective, Mr. Lesieur said. The first indication of that, he added, should be sometime around the National Tire Dealers & Retreaders Association convention and trade show in New Orleans in October.