Poundland has been ordered to stop claiming that everything it sells costs £1 - because it's not true.
The company has been running special promotions through which customers that spend more than a certain amount can buy DVDs and CDs for just £2. It's now also selling an Easter Bunny toy and a Nivea Skin Set for £3 to customers who spend £3.
But after three customers complained to the Advertising Standards Authority, the ASA has ruled that this makes its "everything for £1" claim misleading.
The claim's highlighted on signage within the store, and also features on the company website.
"Our Values Everything for £1 was the idea of our founders in 1990 and we're still true to that great vision today," it reads. "We are very proud to offer you a single £1 price, that hasn't changed since we opened our first store."
Poundland argued that the £2 products were only available at the checkout or at a special DVD concession, and only in a small number of current stores. It added that a survey of its customers had revealed that "a significant proportion" were quite happy to buy more expensive items as long as they were clearly marked and located in a special place in the shop.
But while the ASA acknowledged this, it still ruled against the company, saying: "We told Poundland Ltd that their future advertising must not state or suggest that every item they sold cost £1."
The decision will come as something of a blow for a company that has previously based all of its marketing on that very claim.
Indeed, Poundland has been one of the biggest beneficiaries of the UK's new-found love affair with discount stores. Its last six-monthly results showed sales up 15%, and the company says more than half its shoppers are now middle class.
The company floated on the Stock Exchange last year and is now valued at almost £1 billion; it recently announced plans to take over rival 99p Stores, adding 251 new outlets to its existing 534 stores.
But Poundland isn't the only budget retailer to receive a rap on the knuckles from the ASA for a misleading claim over prices. Last October, Poundworld, too, was told to drop its "everything £1" claim after a customer spotted "managers specials" on sale for £3 and £8.99.
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