Asda changes its promotions after competition watchdog reviews supermarket practices

Asda's promotions have been singled out in a drive by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to make supermarket price promotions clearer for shoppers.

Asda has agreed to change some of its promotional mechanisms. Photo by EDDIE
Asda has agreed to change some of its promotional mechanisms. Photo by EDDIE

The retailer agreed to work with the CMA to implement changes over the way it ran certain deals, after a ‘super complaint’ made a year ago by consumer campaign Which? The CMA did not make any findings against Asda, however.

Specifically, Asda has said that:

  • When prices are reduced, the lower ‘now’ price will not be advertised for longer than the higher ‘was’ price applied

  • Multi-buy offers will represent better value than a single product before the offer

  • Multi-buy offers will not be immediately followed by ‘was/now’ promotions

Asda has begun to make these changes, and said they would be fully implemented by August.

The CMA said it had met with a number of supermarkets about the same issues - all of which had "engaged constructively" with the watchdog.

"The CMA’s examination of the market, following the super-complaint, found that supermarkets generally take compliance seriously, but there were some promotional practices that could mislead shoppers," said CMA executive director for enforcement, Michael Grenfell.

"We welcome the commitment we have received from Asda as well as the engagement from other supermarkets, and expect them all to ensure that their practices are not misleading and that shoppers are better informed and able to choose the products that most suit their needs."

A spokesperson for Asda said: "All supermarkets were asked to review their pricing practices and make any necessary changes. The CMA has asked for a commitment from Asda on our promotional pricing rules and we were happy to provide this.

"It's important that customers know that the CMA did not make any findings against Asda, and it hasn't questioned our commitment to every day low prices."