CMA launches review of supermarket loyalty pricing

supermarkets.newThe Competition & Markets Authority has officially launched its probe into supermarket loyalty pricing – first flagged up in November last year – as part of a wider programme to help tackle cost of living pressures in the groceries sector.

The review has been triggered by concerns that the growth in member-only deals, which began with Tesco Clubcard Prices as far back as 2019 but has since been followed by Sainsbury’s, Morrisons, and the Co-op – puts non-members at a disadvantage.

It will cover a range of topics, including whether any aspects of loyalty pricing could mislead shoppers, for example whether the price is a genuine promotion or as good a deal as presented, to whether loyalty pricing is impacting consumer behaviour, and whether this has an impact on how supermarkets compete with each other.

The review is being led by senior responsible officer George Lusty but is at an early stage and the CMA is keen to stress it has not yet formed any views on the issues.

The regulator says it will publish an update on its work in July 2024, and expects to complete its review by the end of the year.

Sainsbury’s chief executive Simon Roberts recently waded into the row by defending the grocery chain’s loyalty scheme following accusations from MPs and some consumer groups.

Roberts said: “We have very clear rules about what a price is, what it is before it comes down to being a Nectar Price, and we’re very consistent about how we do that.”

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