• Sainsbury’s to scrap multi-buy promotions by August
  • Grocer will instead focus on lower, regular prices
  • Strategy is already in place across categories including dairy, meat and poultry
  • Comes as CMA prepares to take action against grocery retailers’ “misleading” offers

Sainsbury’s will axe “the vast majority” of its multi-buy promotions by the summer in favour of investing in regular low prices.

Sainsbury’s said the promotions will be phased out by August, following research that suggested multi-buys were “out-of-step” with modern shopper habits.

Bargain-hungry grocery consumers have flocked to discounters Aldi and Lidl in their droves, having been wooed from the big four by the promise of regular rock-bottom prices.

Sainsbury’s has been on a drive to cut down on its multi-buy promotional activity for a number of months as a core part of its strategy.

Since last March, the retailer has removed more than half of the multi-buy promotions within its core grocery business in favour of lower regular prices. The offers have already been scrapped across its dairy, canned and packaged goods, meat, fish and poultry categories.

The latest commitment to remove virtually all multi-buy offers will apply to promotions across its full range of own-label and branded soft drinks, confectionery, biscuits and crisps. Sainsbury’s added that the move furthers its drive to make healthier eating “simpler and easier” for its customers.

The supermarket giant claims it is the first UK retailer to “make changes of this scale”.

Misleading offers

It comes following an investigation from the Competition and Markets Authority into supermarket chains, who were alleged to have misled customers with confusing pricing and promotions.

The watchdog launched an investigation last year following a ‘super-complaint’ by consumer group Which?

The CMA investigation found that Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Asda, Morrisons and Ocado were all guilty of offering misleading deals to its customers.

Sainsbury’s food commercial director Paul Mills-Hicks said: “Customer shopping habits have changed significantly in recent years, with people shopping more frequently – often seeking to buy what they need at that moment in time.

“By replacing multi-buy promotions with lower regular prices, we are making it easier for customers to buy the products they need, in the quantities they need, without having to buy multiple items to enjoy great value.

“Since we started simplifying our pricing approach we’ve seen a much greater variety of products in our customers’ baskets, signalling that they like the flexibility to make their own choices.”

Health-conscious customers

Sainsbury’s added that “more health-conscious living” has driven shoppers away from multi-buy purchasing towards single item purchasing.

Jane Ellison, minister for public health, said: “We need to make the healthy choice the easy choice, and it is good to see a leading supermarket like Sainsbury’s responding as customers become more health conscious.

“As part of our Childhood Obesity Strategy we will be looking at more ways in which we can support people to live healthier lives.”