Retail body hits back at Which? pricing complaint

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) has denied allegations that British grocers are duping consumers out of hundreds of millions of pounds through misleading pricing tactics. 

On Tuesday, consumer organisation Which? filed a ‘super-complaint’ to the competitions and markets authority (CMA), accusing supermarkets of offering “dodgy multi-buys, shrinking products and baffling sales offers”. Examples included Asda raising the individual price of a product when it was part of a multi-buy offer in order to make the deal more attractive.

Around 40% of groceries in Britain are currently sold on promotion, according to Kantar Worldpanel. Which? claims supermarkets are pushing illusory savings and fooling shoppers into choosing products they might not have bought if they knew the full facts.

Tom Ironside, director of business and regulation at the BRC, hit back against the claims. “We do not accept the core implications set out in this super-complaint. The examples set out are very specific in nature and are not in any way indicative of broader systemic problems across the retail industry.”

Ironside said that while errors “may from time-to-time occur”, these are “rare in nature and are resolved quickly by the retailer concerned”.

The right to make a super-complaint to the CMA or an industry regulator is limited to a small number of consumer bodies. The regulator now has 90 days to respond.

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