Cosmetics company Clarins is threatening legal action against Asda for
selling products from its skin-care range at knockdown prices in the
run-up to Christmas.
Clarins does not officially supply Asda but the supermarket buys the
products on the grey market. It is currently offering eight products
with 25% off the recommended retail price.
Robin Vincent, managing director of Clarins UK, said he was very unhappy
with the promotion because it damaged Clarins’ reputation. The company
prides itself on developing customer service along with its brand, with
consumers advised by in-store consultants on which products are most
suitable for them.
He said Clarins had carried out test purchases in Asda stores and had
been dissatisfied with the advice given.
‘They are acquiring product on the grey market, they get intermittent
supplies and the staff have not been trained,’ he said. ‘There are 85
products in the Clarins range. We make recommendations to individual
customers but Asda cannot give that service and there is the possibility
that customers will be given wrong advice.’
He said under European legislation there was little he could do about
the promotion, but said: ‘We’re certainly looking at options open to us
and employing some lawyers. I think in due course there may be some
legal action we can take.’
The promotion coincides with the launch of Asda’s own unisex fragrance,
George 1. A company spokesman said it had no plans to extend the range
into skin-care, although it would watch how sales of George 1 went.
The supermarket retailer has angered brand owners over the past two
years with a series of own-label and cut-price promotions.
Its most recent move was to pitch its own sub-branded spirits against
International Distillers and Vintners’ brands.
See story, page 4