Supermarkets back new price promotion rules

Published on: 30th November 2012

Eight supermarkets have signed up to ensure that special offers and price promotions are fair.

It follows an investigation by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) into the way prices are displayed and promoted in stores. Although the new principles currently cover food and drink, non-food products are sure to be affected in the not-too-distant future.

Eight major UK supermarkets have agreed to follow a set of principles drawn up by the OFT. Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons, Waitrose, Marks and Spencer, Aldi, the Co-op and Lidl have all signed up. Asda is reviewing the proposed code.

The principles cover claims such as ‘Was £3, Now £2’ or ‘Half Price’, which must now only be offered for the same or less time than the product was initially sold at the higher price. The supermarkets have also agreed not to artificially inflate prices to make a later ‘discount’ look more attractive.

The OFT did not find that the supermarkets had breached the law or were engaging in misleading promotional practices, but did find “what appeared to be inconsistency in the way the law was being interpreted and applied”, it said.

Clive Maxwell, OFT chief executive, said: “Household budgets across the country are under pressure and shoppers should be able to trust that special offers and promotions really are bargains.

“Prices and promotions need to be fair and meaningful so shoppers can make the right decisions.”


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