U-Store, C-Store depart from non-competition agreement, to fix discrepancies in pricing| March 30, 2016
The Princeton University Store and the C-Store have departed froma non-competition agreement, according toU-Store president Jim Sykes.
Skyes noted the U-Store has been selling select school supplies in bulk to the C-Store at a discounted price since 2015. These supplies are then marked and resold to students at the same price as those set by the U-Store.
This change reflects a deviation from aprevious agreementthat restricts the products that each entity — the C-Store and the U-Store — can sell through their operations. Particularly, in that agreement, it was enumerated that the C-Store could not sell pens, pencils and note cards, among other stationaries. The agreement was to reduce competition between the University and the U-Store.
Daniel Day, assistant vice president for the Office of Communications, noted that Campus Dining, which oversees the C-Store, is selling 18 items in common with the U-Store, including pens, pencils, post-it notes, markers and tape.
Sykes recalled that the collaboration between the two stores begansometime in 2014, although he could not recall the exact time.
In November 2014, a C-Store employee was reprimanded for attempting to give out stationary items at C-Store while working a shift.
Skyes noted that he isunsurewhether the change came as a result of the agreement’s exposure to the wider University community in December 2014.Sykes explained that the change came about after several students voiced concerns about the inconvenience of not being able to pursue school supplies in a centrally-located facility. Consequently, the C-Store has been buying school supplies from the U-Store at a discounted rate for retail, he said.
“The idea behind it was for it to be the same price at both locations. For students, it’s convenient because there are products at both locations. It’s a win-win situation,” Sykes said.
Sykes declined to disclose the specific discount rates of the C-Store collaboration, but noted discounts of this scale are not yet offered to students. These discounts function in part because of the U-Store’s relationship with the University, and also because the C-Store purchases the supplies in bulk, he explained.
“It’s a volume discount,” Sykes said, adding that the store may consider offering similar discounts to students buying a large quantity of supplies in the future.
Although the new agreement upon the two store’s collaboration was that identical items will be sold at the same price at the C-Store as the U-Store, several products show discrepancies.
The black, red and blue pens at the C-Store are currently marked at $2.50, while those at the U-Store are labeled as $3.00.
Sykes said that he was unaware of the price difference and noted he believes it to be the result of an error.
“I assume there’s a mistake either in our pricing system or their pricing system,” Sykes said.
Day noted that a review of the C-Store’s catalogue on Wednesday found that because of database entry errors by the C-Store, five types of pens and pencils had lower prices than what the U-Store charges.
“The prices are being corrected in the C-Store database to match the U-Store prices. They will be properly in place by Thursday,” Day said.
Bernadette Penick, assistant to the executive director of Campus Dining and Retail Operations, deferred comment to Day.
Senior Operations Manager at the C-Store, Anthony Procaccini, did not respond to a request for comment.