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Asda to change 'bamboozling' price promotion tactics following regulator probe

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By John Glenday, Reporter

April 27, 2016 | 2 min read

Asda has pledged to amend the way it presents in-store price promotions to consumers after being singled out for criticism by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) in relation to ‘specific areas of concern’.

The regulator’s intervention followed allegations that supermarkets were bamboozling shoppers with complex special offers rather than simply cutting the base price of goods.

Presenting its findings CMA executive director Michael Grenfell said: "The CMA's examination of the market, following the super-complaint, found that supermarkets generally take compliance seriously, but there were some promotional practices that could mislead shoppers."

In response Asda has promised to ensure that ‘now’ prices aren’t displayed for longer than ‘was’ prices and that multi-buy offers will be tweaked to guarantee better value than a single product before the offer.

Further, the Walmart-owned chain has agreed that multi-buy offers will not be immediately followed by ‘was/now’ promotions to allow more meaningful comparisons to be made.

An Asda spokesperson added: "All supermarkets were asked to review their pricing practices and make any necessary changes. The CMA has asked for a commitment from Asda on our promotional pricing rules and we were happy to provide this.”

Asda will enforce the new rules by August with the CMA checking up on the success of their implementation six months later.

The benefits of making offers clearer, or scrapping tactics like BOGOF (buy one get one free) altogether, were laid out by Sainsbury's earlier this year. The Asda-rival recently claimed that ending the use of multi-buy promotions is helping it attract more customers.

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