Waitrose Head Accuses Rivals’ Of Deceiving Shoppers

The managing director of upmarket grocery chain Waitrose has hit out at rival supermarkets for “duping” customers with their price-slashing campaigns.
Speaking to The Times, Mark Price said that both Tesco and Asda were guilty of deceiving customers by recovering the money lost on price cuts through pushing up prices on other products.
He commented: “I’ll make two new year predictions. The first is that all our larger rivals will announce massive price cuts in January.”
“The second is that their gross margins will still be higher at the end of the year than at the beginning. Some prices do go down but others go up by more at the same time. Customers are being duped.”
Price, who took over as head of Waitrose in April, expressed concern that the emphasis placed on grabbing headlines with multimillion-pound price-cutting schemes were ruining the concept of real value for money .
The director’s comments follow on from last week’s confessions of price fixing by some of the UK’s biggest supermarket chains. Both Sainsbury’s and Asda received fines for contriving to hike up the price of milk, cheese and butter in a £270m price fixing scheme .
The Office of Fair Trading is still investigating Tesco and Wm Morrison, while Waitrose was not implicated in the inquiry.
Price said the inflation in food prices were affecting all grocery retailers, despite Tesco dismissing it as “hype” last week. He said that the only way of keeping prices the same was to use cheaper ingredients, cut down on the profit margin or pay suppliers less.
Last week, Tesco was singled out as a prime exponent of “price establishing” after it was accused of inflating the cost of fruit and vegetables in order to offer “cut-price” promotion deals to shoppers.

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