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UK Supermarkets Face 'Special Offer' Ban

Published on Feb 11 2016 3:41 PM in Retail tagged: Sainsburys / UK / Tesco / Waitrose / shopping / Asda / Feature Post / special offers

UK Supermarkets Face 'Special Offer' Ban

Four major UK retailers may be facing a ban on special offers such as buy-one-get-one free and similar promotions, as they are misleading customers into spending more, says a consumer watchdog.

UK consumer regulator the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is currently investigating retailers Asda, Tesco, Sainsbury's and Waitrose after consumer group Which? invoked a rarely-used legal power to launch a "super-complaint" that asked for the companies to be examined over misleading practices, The Telegraph reports.

These promotions claims Which?, are "seducing" shoppers into spending an extra £1,000 a year. Shoppers are being misled by multi-buy offers that don't translate into real savings, fraudulent price discounts and fake seasonal prices.

The move comes after Government body Money Advice Service (MAS) revealed that that the average spend by shoppers per week was 21% more than what they had planned, after they were enticed by said "deals".

"The problem is that quite often we see a special offer at the supermarket and we don't want to miss out – so we throw it into our trolley without really thinking about whether it is a good deal or whether we actually need it," said John Penberthy-Smith of MAS.

The British Retail Consortium has defended the supermarkets however, saying the money-saving deals are in no way intended to mislead customers.

"Millions of shoppers across the country enjoy the benefits of price promotions and special offers. Recent research has shown that, with the exception of fruit and vegetables, food prices in British supermarkets are on average 7 per cent lower than the eurozone average. In addition, major supermarkets have worked with Government and public bodies to make pricing clearer and simpler for customers, such as improving the way that unit price is displayed."

Research by MAS suggested that shoppers, due to the fast pace in which they go throughout their weekly shop, are unable to identify the difference between genuine bulk-buy deals and misleading promotions.

© 2016 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by John Golden. To subscribe to ESM: The European Supermarket Magazine, click here.

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