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Jul 13, 2010 06:28 PM

Lodge Cast Iron Price Discrepancy?

On the manufacturers website, a 5 qt. dutch oven goes for 55 dollars yet you can buy them at Academy for 20. How is this? I think Academy is just a Texas store. What does Lodge cost in other parts of the country?

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  1. This is true for many cookware, not just Lodge.

    1. Perhaps one is preseasoned and the cheaper one not.

      1. Lodge has pre-seasoned "naked" and "enamel-coated" dutch ovens. The enamel costs more. All Lodge products are more expensive on the manufacturer website than they are in retail. $20 for a 5 quart "naked" Lodge dutch oven is an excellent price. I paid $30 at Walmart.

        5 Replies
        1. re: Ambimom

          The manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP or "list price") is the HIGHEST price that the manufacturer believes that a product can fetch at market.

          The price that any retailer pays is WAY lower. The difference between what the retailer pays and what you pay is the "margin". The margin pays the salaries, mortgage, insurance and utilities to heat and light the store. Whatever is left over is profit that the store owner enjoys.

          So, how much will you pay? Well, that's where that whole Econ 101 "supply and demand" comes in. Retailers need to move merchandise to make money. If they are huge (like WalMart or Target), they will cut their margins to almost nothing, knowing that they will make it up on volume.

          If they are small, they are stuck, because they will need to lower their prices to meet the monster retailer up the street if they want to sell the product ever, whether or they can afford to. Compounding this is the fact that the "big boys" can cut deals with manufacturers on large lots of product, deals that smaller merchants can't make. That's why smaller stores focus on service -- it's value that the big stores usually can't offer that perhaps justifies a higher price.

          Of course, Lodge would be perfectly happy selling you merchandise on their website, since they will charge you list price.

          The bottom line, in my book, is NEVER PAY LIST....FOR ANYTHING. Not a car, not a house, not even a skillet. I'm not talking high-pressure Persian bazaar negotiating (though if that's your thing, do it) but just being an informed consumer.

          1. re: MikeB3542

            I disagree. Supply and demand is in Eco 001.


            Sorry, I cannot resist this one.


            The list price on Lodge website is higher also because the manufacturer does not want to undercut its distributors. I mean, why would you want to be the distributor for Lodge if Lodge is going to sell at a price which you cannot compete.

            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

              I guess I'm just confused in that I would think Academy would charge more because you would be paying for the convenience of being able to have it right when you wanted it instead of having to wait for a package in the mail. And that buying direct from Lodge should be less than Academy because you would be cutting out the middle man. Also, whatever the case why wouldn't Academy charge a price that is closer to 55 instead of something so low as 20 bucks. 40 is still cheaper than 55. I guess I don't understand economics at all. Either way I'm glad this logic prevails because twenty dollars for a pot that will last de facto forever is a steal.

              1. re: tacohands


                I don't think it is an economy issue, as much as a business model. The MSRP (as Mike mentioned) is pretty much the high price the manufacturer market for. Most distributors will sell at that price or lower -- usually lower. If you look at, you will see that like this Shun knife is sold at $130, while the MSRP is $163.


                or this Wusthof knife which has a MSRP of $150 and is selling at $105


                Lodge can afford to sell at a lower price, but it won't because that will put it directly competition with its distributors. Academy can certainly charge $40 instead of $20. Maybe it has too many in stock and it wants to get rid of it. More or less a clearance sale.

                1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                  Exactly -- if merch isn't moving, it wastes valuable shelf space and stockroom space and costs the retailer money. Better to sell at a loss and replace with something that will sell with a decent margin.

        2. Lodge actually states that you should buy from a retailer but sells online so that people can get something they can't find elsewhere.

          1. Not sure what you are going to do with it but I can get an enameled cast iron dutch oven for about $55-60. I think you can get a lodge but I know you can get a tromantina.