Tesco cuts prices soon after raising them


TESCO INCREASED the prices of some well-known products significantly just weeks into the new year before reducing them as part of a 1,000-product price promotion launched yesterday.

Some of the products which the retail giant has highlighted in its new price-cutting campaign are now more expensive than they were at the beginning of the year.

At the end of December, a range of Tropicana orange juice was selling for €2.28. Its price went up to €2.59 at the end of January before being marked down to €2.49 as part of the new price campaign, making it 21 cent dearer now than it was 12 weeks ago.

Flahavan’s Progress Oatlets cost €1.95 at the end of last year. The price increased to €2.05 in the middle of January and then fell to €1.99 as part of the promotion. The product now costs 6 cent more than it did the beginning of the year.

At the launch of the campaign at the weekend, a Tesco spokesman said the price reductions would “deliver very tangible savings and customers will see the benefit in their pockets”. He said the price cuts would be clearly highlighted in all Tesco stores along with the thousands of other products that are cheaper than our competitors. “We are determined to offer the very best value for consumers and we will not be beaten on price.”

Bonne Maman Strawberry Conserve was being advertised in Tesco outlets this week as having a reduced price of €2.79, down from €2.95, but at the beginning of this year it cost €2.79.

In store today, 500g boxes of chunky cod from Donegal Catch cost €5.99, which, Tesco says, is down from €6.59. However at the beginning of this year, the product cost €5.99. It increased in price in the middle of February.

An 18-wash packet of Ariel Excel Febreze is selling for €6.15, down from €6.19. It was selling for €5.99 in early December before increasing in price to €6.19 in February.

Tesco is now selling Brennan’s Sliced Batch, claiming it has been reduced from €2.06 to €1.97. However, the bread was selling for €1.98 at the end of last year, before going up in the middle of February.

Jacob’s Creek Semillon Chardonnay costs €8.85, which Tesco says is marked down from €9.79; it cost €8.85 at the beginning of the year. A 100ml tube of Colgate Regular toothpaste, which Tesco says is down from €1.39 to €1.19, cost €1.19 in November before climbing in the new year.

A Tesco statement said the 1,000 price reductions were “real and meaningful”.

It said there had “invariably been some price increases in recent months due to inflationary pressures from world commodity markets which have been well documented. These changes have impacted on all retailers and consumers worldwide, not just Tesco. The post-Christmas period has also seen the ending of a number of promotional cycles with consequent increase in all retailers.”

Tesco’s UK parent launched a similar price promotion at the beginning of the month. According to the influential industry magazine the Grocer, more than a third of prices highlighted by the retailer in its promotional material had increased in price shortly before coming down.

Consumers Association of Ireland chief executive Dermott Jewell said he was not surprised by the price fluctuations. The big supermarket chains used “so much smoke and mirrors to confuse consumers”, he added.

“They are not clear with people about how they manage their prices and it is all but impossible for people to track what is going up and down but a lot of the time, the pricing is done in a calculated way to create an illusion of better bargains.”