Shoppers are fed up with retailers’ price scams, such as shrinkflation, bogus loyalty card savings and variable prices, research shows.
Most believe supermarkets, manufacturers, pubs and other firms use underhand tactics to thwart their efforts to save money and make ends meet.
Two in three shoppers say shrinkflation – when an item’s weight falls but the price doesn’t – has become so common that stores should put warning labels on products that become smaller but not cheaper.
Two in three shoppers say shrinkflation has become so common that stores should put warning labels on products that become smaller but not cheaper (File Photo)
Crackdowns have occurred in other countries. French ministers have described the tactic as a ‘swindle’, and some French supermarkets use orange labels to identify such products.
Millions have turned to supermarket loyalty cards in the belief that they will help them put food on the table more affordably.
But the research by Barclaycard found that 67 per cent believed supermarkets inflated regular prices to make loyalty card savings look a better deal.
Recent research by the consumer group Which? found that Tesco and Sainsbury’s appeared to be increasing the price of household essentials before offering what look like big reductions for loyalty cards.
Its allegations covered a wide range of products from brands such as Nescafe, Heinz, Andrex, Persil, Cadbury, Quaker and Peroni.
Meanwhile, 47 per cent of shoppers said they had noticed more ‘surge pricing’, in which companies raise the prices of products and services during busy periods.
Of those, 32 per cent said they had seen an increase in the price of food and drink in pubs and bars at peak times such as evenings, weekends and major sports events.
Research by Barclaycard found that 67 per cent believed supermarkets inflated regular prices to make loyalty card savings look a better deal (File Photo)
Britain’s biggest pub firm, the Stonegate Group, which owns the Slug & Lettuce and Yates’s chains, has raised prices at 800 venues during peak times, raising the price of a pint by 20p in the busiest periods in what it calls ‘dynamic pricing’.
Barclaycard found that only 8 per cent were willing to pay more to eat and drink out at popular times – however, the card company said some shoppers were seeking escape from austerity with a few treats.
Health and beauty store sales rose by 6.9 per cent in the past month, possibly due to the ‘lipstick effect’, in which ‘consumers prioritise small indulgences, such as cosmetics and self-care products, over big-ticket items during periods of economic uncertainty’.
Barclays director Esme Harwood said: ‘Eagle-eyed shoppers have spotted more examples of surge pricing and shrinkflation, and are becoming sceptical about the value of supermarket loyalty schemes.’
The research comes as it emerged that retail sales growth slowed last month as consumers limited their spending. It was the 26th month of continuous online sales decline.
UK retail sales limped to a 2.7 per cent increase in September despite lower inflation – well below the 12-month average of 4.2 per cent, the British Retail Consortium-KPMG Retail Sales Monitor found.
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