Before I get too far into this, I should say that this is not the stereotypical price book. Because some of the food stores around me do not have many sales, I wasn’t looking for the lowest ever price but the lowest everyday price. Then, I can compare another store’s sale price to see if its a good deal.
Specifically, Wegman’s opened about two years ago. It doesn’t advertise sales, though they happen fairly regularly. But, everyday prices are available from home through the app so comparing to sale prices is fairly straightforward, and they’re claim is that their everyday prices are better than others and competitive with club prices. I did some comparisons when they first opened and determined that, yes, on the same non-perishable item (or store brand) their everyday prices were almost always better than the grocery store sale prices. Perishable items are not so clear cut. And, they don’t carry all the items in the brands I’d prefer to buy.
But, I hadn’t done a thorough comparison to BJ’s, largely because the bulk quantities make it necessary to compare unit prices which are not as clearly advertised.
So, the approach. I went through BJ’s, Wegman’s, Target, and Stop & Shop (in that order) listing the unit price and total price/quantity of each item I buy reasonably often. This way I can compare across packaging and determine the impact of coupons, which are usually by item without regard to quantity. I did this over the span of about 6 weeks as I did my regular shopping. In a few cases I had to go back to recheck something. But, in the end, I feel like I have a good understanding of what is what at this point in time. (Note, since prices change all price books have to be reconfirmed occasionally.)
And, the results. As I expected, BJ’s was best for just about everything. However, there were some interesting exceptions. Wegman’s was best for dishwasher detergent, tissues, and Cheerios. For items that BJ’s doesn’t carry (or have in a reasonable for us size), Wegman’s was best. But, Target was best for single serve raisin boxes. That leaves Stop & Shop with items that are not available at the places above. Note, that is not a small number of things and I still go to Stop & Shop regularly. Also, Stop & Shop has the most sales of any of the places listed above so those have to be watched and taken into account. I can get most things they exclusively carry on sale. I do also go to Shaw’s occasionally for three items that none of the other places carry. But, their prices have historically been far higher than Stop & Shop so I didn’t bother including them in this effort.