Supermarkets: Prices

Business, Innovation and Skills written question – answered on 12th September 2013.

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Photo of Jim Cunningham Jim Cunningham Labour, Coventry South

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills if he will make an assessment of the extent to which supermarkets offering discounts on bulk purchases benefits consumers on low budgets.

Photo of Jo Swinson Jo Swinson The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Women and Equalities, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills

The Office of Fair Trading has in the last year been looking at supermarket pricing promotions to ensure they are fair and meaningful and last year eight supermarkets agreed to a set of principles covering these:

In its market investigation into the supply of groceries in the UK completed in 2008, the Competition Commission looked at the competition implications of below-cost selling and promotions. It concluded that these did not adversely affect competition or mislead consumers and could benefit shoppers—although without examining the effect on any specific category of customer. The CC noted that temporary promotions on some products to attract consumers and increase total sales (commonly referred to as loss leading) may constitute efficient pricing for grocery retailers and that such competition between grocery retailers may benefit consumers by reducing the average price for a basket of products.

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