Report: Discount wine in Britain called promotional fraud

Nov. 2, 2013 at 11:52 AM
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LONDON, Nov. 2 (UPI) -- A British newspaper says several supermarkets jack up the price of wine, then put it on sale at prices higher than original non-discount prices.

The Daily Telegraph reported Saturday that nine out of 10 bottles of wine sold in Britain are purchased at supermarkets and that prices for 60 percent of the bottles sold are labeled discount prices. However, an investigation at the Guardian found many bottles labeled half price were being sold at higher prices than the original non-discount price from a previous month.

BBC wine critic Oz Clarke said half-price was still too much to pay for some wine sold at supermarkets.

The practice is "downright cheating," said Ted Sandbach, founder of the Oxford Wine Company, an independent distributor.

The Daily Telegraph said Tesco, Sainsbury's and Asda rigged prices to create fraudulent discounts.

"As Britain's lowest price supermarket our simple aim is always to offer the lowest prices for the longest," said a representative for Asda, who said the company would never willfully cheat a customer.

"We take our responsibility to our customers very seriously," said Tesco in a statement.

A former director of wine sales at Sainsbury, Allan Cheeseman, said some of the prices at stores were "blatantly manufactured."

"The problem is that as a nation we have become promotion junkies," said Cheeseman, who works as an industry consultant.

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