Forum: Not Govt's business to intervene in commercial decisions

Prices are effective only when they reflect actual economic conditions, and the authorities should not attempt to intervene (Ensure coffee shop prices remain affordable, June 20).

Prices should rise and fall as consumer preferences change or when supplies become more or less scarce.

There are many choices in Singapore when it comes to coffee shops and foodcourts. Operators who charge high rent, which tenants then pass on to diners in the form of higher prices, risk chasing customers away because there is keen competition and customers can always choose to go to other locations.

The authorities should step in to control prices only if there are public complaints of businesses taking advantage of a situation to engage in profiteering, such as when masks were selling at sky-high prices at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic.

State intervention in commercial business decisions would force retailers to close if the controlled prices are unable to cover their overheads.

The purchase price of a commercial property like a coffee shop is affected by factors such as supply and demand, location, footfall, size and the length of the remaining lease.

When a buyer is prepared to pay a high price for a coffee shop, surely he must have carefully studied its attributes.

The food business is an open market. If customers find the prices unaffordable, they can cook their own meals at home.

Jonathan Wong

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