Listings on the website www.wickes.co.uk for cabinets and drawers belonging to the Tulsa kitchen range, seen on 31 December 2017, included a price for each item and accompanying text that stated the discount that had been applied (either 10% or 20%). Some listings also included a scored-through higher price next to the sale price. The listing for the "Wickes Tulsa Corner Base Unit" was priced at £86.40, with a saving of 20% and a scored-through price of £108.00.
The complainant challenged whether the various savings claims were misleading.
Wickes Building Supplies Ltd t/a Wickes said that they had looked at the product line featured in the ad and the pricing and agreed that the customer saw the item for sale at £72.36 in November 2017, but they believed that the price was genuine based on the fact that it had been full price for 139 days, after which they took 60% of their sales.
Wickes provided data from their promotion tracking system which showed that the product was sold at full price of £108.00 from 19 July to 3 October 2017, for a total of 77 days, and was then on offer at £72.36 from 4 October to 21 November, for 49 days. The product went back up to full price on 22 November until 18 December for 27 days and then on offer at £86.40 from 19 December 2017 to 16 January 2018 for 29 days.
Wickes provided data for sales figures and for the volume of the product sold at full price and for each time it was on offer. The data showed that during 19 July 2017 to 13 March 2018, the product sold a volume of 372 at full price for 139 days and was on an offer for 99 days and sold a volume of 247.
The ASA considered that consumers were likely to understand the “20% off” claim to represent a genuine saving against the usual selling price for the product at the time the ad appeared.
We noted that in the first round of promotions, the product had been on sale at the scored-through higher price for 77 days and at the lower promotional price for 49 days. The product had therefore been sold at the higher price for longer than the subsequent promotional price. The second round of the promotion lasted from 19 December 2017 to 16 January 2018 and the complainant saw the ad approximately half-way through this period. Therefore at the time the complainant saw the ad in December, the product had been on sale at the full price for 27 days which was longer than it had been available at the promotional price in that second round.
We noted that the complainant had seen the product on sale for £72.36 in November 2017 and that in December 2017 it was priced at £86.40. The product had therefore appeared to them to be more expensive when it was on a promotional offer. However, we considered that the earlier lower price was based on a different promotional offer, which resulted in a smaller saving to consumers than in the later December promotion, but which nonetheless still provided a genuine saving against the higher price of £108.00.
We considered that the sales data provided to us demonstrated that there were significant sales at the higher selling price outside of the promotional period, which we considered was relevant for establishing that the higher price was a genuine and realistic selling price. Overall for the period for which sales data was provided, it showed that the product was sold for longer at the higher price than at the promotional price, and we considered that, at the time the ad was seen, £108.00 was the product’s usual selling price.
We therefore concluded that the savings claims represented a genuine saving against the usual selling price of the product and that the ad was not misleading.
We investigated the ad under CAP Code (Edition 12) rules
Marketing communications must not materially mislead or be likely to do so.
Before distributing or submitting a marketing communication for publication, marketers must hold documentary evidence to prove claims that consumers are likely to regard as objective and that are capable of objective substantiation. The ASA may regard claims as misleading in the absence of adequate substantiation.
Price statements must not mislead by omission, undue emphasis or distortion. They must relate to the product featured in the marketing communication.
Marketing communications that include a price comparison must make the basis of the comparison clear.
CAP has published a Help Note on Retailers' Price Comparisons and a Help Note on Lowest Price Claims and Price Promises. (Price comparisons), but did not find it in breach.
No further action necessary.