Asda refrains from signing up to OFT promotion principles

Asda: the only major supermarket brand that has not signed up to OFT's initiative
Asda: the only major supermarket brand that has not signed up to OFT's initiative

Asda is the only major supermarket brand that has not signed up to an Office of Fair Trading (OFT) initiative seeking to stamp out inconsistent promotional offers.

The OFT principles will attempt to make promotional claims "fair and meaningful" and reduce misleading practices involved in discounting, including inflating the price of a product to make a subsequent "discount" look more attractive.

Aldi, The Co-op, Lidl, Marks & Spencer, Morrisons, Sainsbury's, Tesco and Waitrose have agreed to adopt the principles after "constructive engagement" with the OFT.

The news comes after a 'Panorama' report at the end of last year set out to prove that the "bargains" in supermarkets were dubious and could lead to prosecutions for breach of consumer-protection regulations.

The principles being adopted by the supermarkets cover "internal reference pricing" such as "was £3, now £2", or "half price".

Discounts will now only be able to be promoted if the new price is maintained for the same or less time as the previous higher price, while the practice of artificially inflating prices prior to a discount will also be stopped.

Pre-printed value claims on packs such as "bigger pack, better value" must now be true and when such claims are made, there should not be a cheaper way of buying the same volume of the product elsewhere in the same store. 

Asda claims it was in discussions with the OFT and was in favour of the majority of the proposals but has not signed up to the initiative because it took issue to the proposal regarding one to one promotions. 

A spokeswomand said: "Essentially, it says that you can only run a promotion for as long as you have established the price before.

"Whilst this is meant to discourage high/low pricing promotions – our concern is that it could actually encourage it. If so, we're not sure that best helps customers in these challenging times so we are taking the time to consider its proposals in detail."

The 'Panorama' investigation that aired last December found that at Asda, a 1kg tub of Clover spread was £3.20, which was 20p more than buying two 500g tubs of the same product.

The OFT claims that its investigation into confusion over the way prices are displayed, advertised and promoted did not uncover any breaches of the law, or that supermarkets deliberately engaged in misleading promotional practices.

Instead, it claimed there was inconsistency in the way the law was being interpreted and applied. 

Clive Maxwell, chief executive at the OFT, said: "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.

"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."

Discussion

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus
Brand Republic Jobs

subscribe now

Latest

Oasis #springasmile digital campaign gets people doing good deeds
Coca-Cola: 'Don't approach bloggers with a fait accompli'
Tesco CMO Matt Atkinson: 'It is so important not to stereotype mothers'
McDonald's gives Ronald a new look ahead of global 'Fun times' social media push
In pictures: BrewDog opens first craft beer shop BottleDog for 'beer aficionados'
Facebook ad revenue leaps $1bn as it invests in targeting
Malteser or Maltesers? Mars takes Hershey trademark dispute to court
Apple Q2 profits top $10bn as iPhone sales soar
Lynx tells men not to leave love to fate
HBO captures awkwardness of watching sex scenes with parents
Primark to open first US stores with Boston chosen as flagship location
Marketing spend on the up but a reality check is needed before celebrating
Top 10 ads of the week: Jackpotjoy and BT Broadband fend off Kevin Bacon
Lidl beats Tesco to 10m Facebook fans
Center Parcs ad banned for encouraging parents to take kids out of school
Coca-Cola, Cadbury and Amazon named top brands for targeting youth market
Leaked document shows Nokia to be rebranded as Microsoft Mobile
Nike lays-off hardware staff in move that casts doubt on future of FuelBand
Greenpeace says save the bees or humans will die
What brands need to know about changes to VAT and online downloads in 2015
Jimmy Savile victims urged to claim compensation in new ad campaign
UKIP launches biggest  ad campaign and stirs up 'racist' accusations
Apple boss Tim Cook provides voiceover on ad touting firm's renewed green commitments
John Lewis walks consumers through its history to celebrate 150 years of business
Waitrose boosts content strategy with 'Weekend Kitchen with Waitrose' C4 tie-up
Hottest virals: Cute puppies star in Pedigree ad, plus Idris Elba and Fruyo
Amnesty International burns candles to illuminate new hope
Tom of Finland's 'homoerotic' drawings made into stamps
Toyota achieves the impossible by calming angry Roman drivers
YouTube reveals user habits to appeal to 'older' marketers