“Supermarkets on notice to clean up their pricing practices” – Which? response to the CMA’s super-complaint report

Which? executive director, Richard Lloyd, said:

“The CMA’s report confirms what our research over many years has repeatedly highlighted: there are hundreds of misleading offers on the shelves every day that do not comply with the rules. This puts supermarkets on notice to clean up their pricing practices or face legal action.

“Given the findings, we now expect to see urgent enforcement action from the CMA. The Government must also quickly strengthen the rules so that retailers have no more excuses.

“As a result of our super-complaint, if all the changes are implemented widely, this will be good for consumers, competition and, ultimately, the economy.”


The CMA has found evidence of promotional practices that mislead and confuse consumers, including:

  • Supermarkets running “was/now” pricing promotions, where the discount price is advertised for longer than the higher price. For example we’ve found Pepsi Max (2 litres) advertised at £1.98 for 28 days but then went on a £1 ‘was £1.98’ offer for 63 days, which breaks government guidelines. We also found McVitie’s Digestive Biscuits (500g) and McVitie’s Ginger Nuts which were both sold at £1.09 for 29 days, then 98p (‘was £1.09’) for 81 days.
  • Unit pricing needs to be made more legible on products so consumers can use it effectively to make a price comparison between similar products. Which? have found recent examples of inconsistent unit pricing, with some sauces in supermarkets priced per 100 ml and on others per 100g making it impossible to make a price comparison. We also found cakes being priced per item or per 100g.
  • More than 120,000 people have supported our super-complaint to the regulator. Sign up and pledge your support www.which.co.uk/misleadingpricing

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