Supermarkets set up fairer special offers to avoid buyers’ confusion


Fairer promotions in the UK’s supermarkets. Photo credit: Paula Planelles

By Paula Planelles

Eight of the UK’s largest supermarkets, have signed up an agreement in order to respect a list of principles following shoppers’ concerns that they were “failing to operate within the spirit of the law” over promotions for meals and drink, according to the Office of Fair Trading (OFT). Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Marks & Spencer, Aldi, Waitrose, Morrisons, Lidl and the Co-operative are those supermarkets which have agreed to incorporate these principles into their special offers.

In a bid to ensure “fair and meaningful” promotions, eight of the country’s biggest supermarkets will follow a list of principles while including special offers for drinks and food, such as “half price” or “before £2, now £1”. This kind of discounts must now only be offered for the same or less time than the product was initially sold at the higher price, the

OFT informed. In addition, the supermarkets which have signed up the agreement will not be able to artificially inflate prices to make the special offer look cheaper and more attractive for customers.

Regarding special offers in terms of packs’ size such as “bigger pack, better value”, these supermarkets will have to print only true promotions. In addition, shoppers should not be able to buy the same volume of the item elsewhere in the same store for a cheaper price, even if there is a special offer on smaller packs of the product, the OFT clears up.

“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”, Clive Maxwell, chief executive of the OFT, stated. “Our principles taken together with previous guidance provide supermarkets with a clear benchmark for how they should be operating so that their food and drink promotions reflect the spirit as well as the letter of the law”, he added.

The agreement has been signed up after customers’ concerns about confusing promotions in different supermarkets in the UK. The OFT founded “what appeared to be inconsistency in the way the law was being interpreted and applied”, a spokesperson said. Every little helps to save money and, now, customers buying in these supermarkets will know their bargains are not false or confusing promotions

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