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Michael Browne

Furniture and carpet retailers change pricing practices after OFT investigation

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Five furniture and carpet retailers have changed their pricing practices following an OFT investigation.

 

A Share & Sons Limited (trading as 'SCS'), Carpetright Plc, Dreams Limited, Furniture Village Limited and Homestyle Operations Limited's trading brands 'Harveys' and 'Bensons for Beds' have each confirmed their commitment to using genuine reference prices and, without any admission of liability, have made changes to their reference pricing practices. The OFT has therefore closed its investigation.

 

Reference prices are used by retailers across their sector to advertise a bargain to shoppers, for example by comparing a lower current price against a higher past price such as 'Sale, Was £800, Now Half Price £400'.

 

The OFT believes that consumers should be able to trust that such price comparisons are fair and meaningful and that the advertised savings (or 'price advantage') are genuine. Improper use of reference prices can mislead consumers, for example in circumstances where the 'discounted' price is in fact the normal retail price of a product.

 

 

http://www.oft.gov.uk/news-and-updates/press/2014/19-14#.Uyxn-KyQYrs

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As a small independent retailer I hope this will be enforced against all multinationals and independents irrespective of the products being sold.

My wee shop has to work extremely hard to compete and what I make at Christmas helps us stay trading during the following "leaner" months.

I am furious and frustrated when I see local multi national shops claiming 50% off and the same product and it's still a lot more than I sell it for. An example is a string of battery lights that @ 50% off was £6.99 whilst the same thing in my shop (with a reasonable profit margin) was £4.99. I heard that this particular chain has an outlet in the middle of nowhere and has it's Christmas display out very early with inflated prices then one month later all the remaining outlets put out the same products showing 50% off the prices covering themselves as they had been for sale at the inflated price for 28 days+ at the one outlet.

I also see the same thing happening at a local garden centres, items go on display in October with over inflated prices come November these are reduced by 50% or more.

I could adopt the attitude of "if you cant beat them join them" but we have traded for over 42 years from the same site and our business ethos has always been one of honesty and I will not change that just to compete.

I am also aware of a very large Supermarket that had a can of drink on sale in September @ 50p, in October it went up to £1.20 and then in November, in time for Christmas, it was on sale at half price @60p.

It's all wrong and needs to be stopped, the public are being conned day in and day out with such misleading claims-rant over...

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