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Supermarket pricing complaint is ‘B******s’, says Iceland Chief

The Chief Executive of Iceland has hit out at the super-complaint aimed at so-called ‘misleading’ supermarket promotions brought by consumer watchdog Which?

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) announced the findings from its investigation last week which discovered some supermarket prices and promotions are potentially confusing or misleading consumers and could be in breach of consumer law. However, it stopped short of launching a full investigation after finding that abuse was not widespread and only recommended action to improve compliance with current rules.

Speaking to trade magazine Retail Week, Malcolm Walker said the CMA’s conclusion proved supermarkets were not guilty of wrongdoing and he insisted customers were getting an “amazing deal”.

“[The super-complaint] is bollocks,” he said. “You look at the number of investigations into food retailers – and why? It’s political, we are a cheap target. They never find anything.”

He added: “Customers have always had an amazing deal because even though our margins have been high in the past, the standards in British supermarkets have been phenomenal. You go into a Sainsbury’s or Waitrose and they are just beautiful stores with high standards compared to countries abroad.”

Most of the leading supermarket chains have yet to respond the CMA’s investigation, although Morrisons defended its position last week saying it always aims to offer “clear pricing and promotions” and that it has done a lot of work to make unit pricing clearer. A spokesperson said: “We are pleased to see that the Competition and Markets Authority has said that retailers take compliance seriously and we will continue to listen to customers in order to improve their shopping trip.”

Meanwhile, Tom Ironside, the BRC’s Director of Business and Regulation, said: “It is very clear that the allegations contained in the super complaint were blown out of all proportion and that the CMA recognises supermarkets take compliance seriously. Our members will continue to work closely on the Pricing Practices Guide to ensure transparency and fair treatment for our customers."

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