Supermarkets often release promotions which do not offer good value for money. Just by adding up you sometimes see two items priced higher together than if bought individually. A report on wine by the BBC read that of all the wine sold in supermarkets in the UK, over 60% is bought on special offer.
For many years I have bought and learnt about wine at Waitrose. They are one of the best stocked supermarkets for wine, they have some of the best wine selections in the market.
As a wine lover (and accountant), I have the habit of monitoring wine prices over time. I often take pictures of any interesting wines for educational purposes: buy some, sample, compare and write wine notes.
I remember the day I felt out of love with Waitrose vividly. It was a Saturday morning and the shop was fairly empty. Was busy comparing grapes and wines when I watched the wine attendants put promotional prices in the wine section. I got excited, the reward for being at the shop just after opening first thing in the morning I thought.
25% discount it read, yet it had the same price that in the picture I had just taken a few minutes earlier "before discount". Have been working in pricing for many years, this is fairly dishonest (illegal?).
Shock horror, this cannot be happening. I checked a few wines on offer and they also had the undiscounted price under the "offer" price. Surprisingly discounted and undiscounted prices are the same. They are not alone doing this, other supermarkets do the same.
From a pricing strategy perspective, I believe this mishap contaminates Waitrose's image of high quality. Of all the price skimming strategies that Waitrose could use, this is not the most appropriate. Let's hope that they will correct it and lift their standards up.
That day something changed, I stopped being a regular customer at Waitrose. Not only because I believe their behaviour to be dishonest, more importantly because in my opinion some of their wine is overpriced.
You pay for the good selection of wines they have, yet any value for money is foregone at selection. It is easier and more fun to achieve good value for money buying wine in other supermarkets. This is a good example of one of the factors why discounters like Lidl and Aldi are quickly growing market share at the expense of traditional UK supermarkets.
Luis Garcia studied Business Administration at Toledo University and Management Accountancy (CIMA) in London where he lives and works.