UK supermarkets face possible probe | Fin24
  • Load Shedding Schedules

    Find information for Johannesburg, Durban, Cape Town and other cities.

  • Channelling Thatcher

    A battle with unions will be the biggest test for Ramaphosa and Mboweni, writes Pieter du Toit.

  • Liberty

    We are no longer turning around, we are growing, says the group's CEO as profit surge.


UK supermarkets face possible probe

Apr 21 2015 10:30

London - Britain's embattled supermarkets face a possible probe by competition regulators after UK consumer watchdog Which? demanded an investigation into grocers' pricing practices.

Which? said on Tuesday it had made a "super-complaint" to the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) after identifying "misleading and confusing" pricing tactics over seven years in areas such as multi-buy offers, at the likes of Tesco and Asda.

Which?, which has called for voluntary change by the retailers, said many supermarkets were creating the illusion of savings that did not exist. Around 40% of groceries in Britain are currently sold on promotion.

"Shoppers think they're getting a bargain but in reality it's impossible for any consumer to know if they're genuinely getting a fair deal," Which? Executive director Richard Lloyd said in a statement. "We're saying enough is enough."

The UK's "big four", Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury and Morrison, have become embroiled in a price war as they battle to hold on to sales being lost to increasing popular German discounters Aldi and Lidl, whose cheap, no-frills offers have struck a cord with recession-hardened Britons.

Both Tesco and Sainsbury have said they will reduce promotions and improve customer service to win back shoppers.

Examples of confusing offers cited by Which? included pizzas priced at £1.50 at Asda being increased to £2 as they went onto a multi-buy two for £3 offer.

Which? has legal powers that enable it to file super-complaints with the CMA. The regulator has 90 days to respond.

walmart  |  sainsbury's  |  tesco  |  retail


Read Fin24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Company Snapshot


Cuts to the public sector wage bill took centre stage at this year's Budget

Voting Booth

Do you support a reduction in the public sector wage bill?

Previous results · Suggest a vote