Retail news round-up November 18, 2013: M&S unveils its Christmas food ad, Chancellor George Osborne under pressure to tackle business rates and Which? finds supermarkets have been misleading shoppers with promotions.

M&S unveils Christmas food ad

Marks and Spencer has revealed its Christmas food ad, urging the public to ‘make Christmas delicious’, The Drum reported. The retailer’s first of four Christmas food ads features products like its Ultimate Enchanted Forest Cake, continuing the Alice in Wonderland theme of the main Christmas ad.

Meanwhile, the Christmas TV ad battle is being won by Marks & Spencer across Twitter and Facebook, according to Kindred research. M&S’ Christmas ad reached 160,000 interactions on Facebook, with 58.8 million mentions on Twitter. The research found that John Lewis is also performing strongly with 45.9 million mentions on Twitter, a 16.5% rise over 2012. On Twitter, Tesco also generated wide conversation online, with 49.2 million mentions.

On Facebook, Asda stood at second place with 87,000 interactions, followed by John Lewis with 71,000. Waitrose had 1,000, while Tesco had 2,000 interactions.

Chancellor George Osborne under pressure for two-year business rates freeze

Chiefs of UK’s largest business lobby groups have demanded Chancellor George Osborne use his Autumn Statement in December to freeze business rates for the next two years after footfall recorded its worst performance of the year in October, The Express reported.

Business bosses have also called for moves to cut companies’ energy costs, which they claim are increasing faster than those of international competitors and choking an investment-led recovery. Confederation of British Industry director-general John Cridland said the job on deficit reduction was only half done and a business rate overhaul will boost stores and manufacturers.

Consumer group Which? says supermarket’s ‘special offers’ misleading shoppers

Some of UK’s largest supermarkets have been accused of running so-called special offers that often see shoppers ‘paying over the odds’, Sky News reported. Consumer group Which? analysed over 70,000 grocery prices and found examples of what they call misleading multibuys and dodgy discounts. Which? wants the government to come up with simpler, clearer and stricter rules for special offers.

The consumer group says if the amendments are not made swiftly, it will look at using its formal legal powers to make sure the practice is tackled. In the meanwhile, customers should carefully look at the special offers, it said.