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Retail

Biedronka 'Strongly Disagrees' With Polish Competition Commission Following Issuing Of Fine

Polish retailer Biedronka has said that it 'strongly disagrees' with the decision of UOKiK, the country's Office of Competition and Consumer Protection, to impose a fine over alleged irregularities in pricing displays.

The president of UOKiK, Tomasz Chróstny, imposed a fine of PLN 115 million (€26 million) on parent firm Jerónimo Martins Polska, following what it said were 'numerous consumer complaints' regarding the incorrect display of prices in Biedronka stores.

Alleged Practice

UOKiK said that it carried out inspections on a number of stores, which it said 'confirmed the scale' of the pricing irregularities, and claimed that this practice has been ongoing since at least 2016.

"Price is one of the most important criteria for consumers when choosing products," Chróstny said. "It is unacceptable to mislead consumers as to the correct price of the goods.

"In the case of Biedronka, customers for a long time paid more than the price indicated on store shelves. They were not always aware of it."

Appeal The Decision

In response, Biedronka said that it does not share the conclusions made by UOKiK, adding that it plans to appeal the decision to issue the fine to the courts.

'Our sense of duty is reflected not only in the low pricing policy that guides us in all our activities, but also in the consistent improvement of all our processes, including correct pricing in stores,' the retailer said in a statement.

It cited 'inadvertent human errors' as the only reason for any price differentiation in stores, noting that in some cases, pricing errors also had a negative financial effect on the company, as pricing errors 'happened both ways'.

Noting that it disagrees with the 'allegation that the company benefits from the procedure described in the decision,' it added that it has taken 'decisive measures' to reduce the number of random errors that can occur in its stores.

'We can already see the positive effects of the implemented solutions,' it said.

The retailer added that it has sought to maintain the best possible value for its shoppers at all times, noting that during the pandemic period alone, customers saved around PLN 2.4 billion by shopping at its stores.

© 2020 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Stephen Wynne-Jones. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: The European Supermarket Magazine

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