Cash-strapped shoppers shun bulk-buy deals

Gareth Fuller/PA

After supermarket bulk-buy offers were attacked by the Office of Fair Trading for misleading customers, a new Bank of England report has found that cash-strapped shoppers are turning away from such offers in a bid to cut costs.

The Bank's report; Agents' Summary of Business Conditions, said retailers were increasingly finding multi-buy deals such as 'buy-one-get-one-free' less effective.

Shoppers have become increasingly suspicious of supermarket deals, placing emphasis instead on cost cutting and reducing food waste.
The Bank of England's findings come after such offers were criticised for repeatedly misleading shoppers by offering 'bogus' bargains, luring customers into buying more than they need and not always saving them money.

The report said families remain 'focused on value for money', with discount shops and cheap online options enjoying a booming trade. It said: 'Some retailers suggest that multi-buy promotions were becoming less effective. [This is] perhaps because consumers had become more focused on containing spending, or reducing waste.'
One of the scams involves supermarkets regularly abusing the fact that people believe buying in bulk saves money, which is not always correct.

For instance, a 'bigger value' three-tin pack of Princes tuna for £5.68 was found to be nearly £1 more expensive than buying three individual tins. So those consumers who don't spend time working out the cheapest options often find themselves penalised.
Back in April multi-buy deals were also cited by the Local Government Association as partly responsible for a £13.7billion-a-year mountain of wasted fresh produce. The Association complained that bulk-buy deals on products with a short shelf life result in too much food being thrown away.

The Bank's report also highlighted a number of other ways that families are trying to cut back; including shorter holidays 'spent closer to home'. It said higher prices for essentials had 'squeezed the amount of income left for more discretionary services, causing a decline in spending on a range of leisure activities'.
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