The problem with ‘half-price’ sun cream offers

Retailers are inflating the price tag of sun cream then offering ‘discounts’ on the products to give the illusion they are offering buyers a bargain, an investigation suggests

  Photo: ALAMY

Holidaymakers picking up a bottle of “half price” sun cream from their nearby Boots could think they are obtaining a great deal, but new investigation suggests that consumers are being mislead on sun cream promotional delivers.

Retailers like Boots and Tesco are accused of fluctuating the value of their sun lotions more than the past 12 months – raising prices to artificially higher levels, then cutting them with “half cost” reductions – to give shoppers the impression they are getting a bargain.

This ‘zig-zag’ pricing pattern, which is also typical between supermarkets and bottles of wine , was located with 5 key retailers and their sun lotions.

Boots, 1 of the largest sellers of sun cream in the Uk, is marketing a bottle of Soltan Children Hypoallergenic Suncare Spray (SPF 50+ 200ml) for “half price tag” at £5.25. Nonetheless, the value has only ever been £10.50 when it was component of a “buy 1 get one particular free of charge” promotion in March. In the 4 months given that then, it has remained at £5.25, an investigation by the Guardian claimed.

The value of the bottle was £5.49 last summertime with no promotional provide, ahead of becoming increased to £10.99 in October, when few folks are getting sun cream.

“We found only a few weeks in November 2013 and January 2014 when this bottle was offered without having a promotional deal, generating it in effect £5.25 – £5.49 for the entire yr,” the report said.

When asking Boots if its sun cream offer you was a real discount, and why it “establishes” the price tag at a time when few households get the solution (in November or January, for instance), then cuts the cost, the pharmaceutical chain stated: “At Boots Uk we are committed to giving our buyers fantastic worth on sun safety when they want it most. We continually evaluation our prices to ensure that the complete selection of brand names we sell are priced competitively.”

How sun cream costs have fluctuated


Soltan Children Hypoallergenic Suncare Spray SPF 50+ 200ml

Nivea Sun Moisturising Sun Lotion SPF 30 200ml

Sainsbury’s Sun Shield Spray 5* UVA Protection SPF 15 200ml

Garnier Ambre Solaire Moisturising Sun Spray SPF 15 200ml

Nivea Sun Moisturising Sun Spray SPF 15 200ml

July 2013 – £5.49
July 2013 – £5
Jan 2014 – £3
July 2013 – £5
July 2013 – £5
October 2013 – £10.99
September 2013 – £10
March 2014 – £4 ‘buy any two for £8’
October 2013 – £10
December 2013 – £11.99
March 2014 – £10.50 ‘buy one particular get a single free’
March 2014 – £5
May possibly 2014 – £4 ‘buy any two for £7.50’
July 2014 – £5
July 2014 – £5 ‘better than half price’
July 2014 – £5.25 ‘half price’
June 2014 – £7.50 ‘two for £12’

Supply: The Guardian

It is a comparable story at Tesco. The supermarket is marketing virtually all of its Nivea sun creams for £7.50 each, or on a promotional “two for £12” deal. But the £7.50 basic price tag doesn’t include up.

This time final year, Tesco was promoting Nivea Sun Moisturising Sun Lotion (SPF thirty 200ml) for £5. The cost then went up to £10 in September, in which it stayed, just before getting lowered to £5 in March 2014.

In June, it was increased to £7.50, but instantaneously went on a promotional “two for £12” supply. As a result, shoppers getting the bottle these days would be paying 50pc much more than in Could.

Sainsbury’s, Asda and Morrisons are equivalent in their pricing. Sainsbury’s is currently offering its personal-brand sun lotion for £4, or “two for £7.50”. In January, it was promoting the lotiion for £3, so an individual nowadays getting two bottles to get advantage of the deal is paying 25pc a lot more than earlier in the yr.

Buyers at Morrisons can get a bottle of Nivea Sun Moisturising Sun Spray (SPF 15 200ml) for “better than half price” at £5. In December it cost £11.99, but it was only at that value in between November 2013 and the finish of March – arguably at a time when number of are purchasing – and was £5 just before and after.

Asda, which “to its credit score” is not offering any misleading promotional deals, did enhance the cost of its Garnier Ambre Solaire Moisturising Sun Spray (SPF 15 200ml) from £5 in July 2013 to £10 in October, and then back to £5 in July 2014.

Richard Lloyd, executive director at Which? explained “We want unique gives to be unique. We’ve found dodgy offers across the aisles, with prices yo-yoing between multi-buys and discount rates, so that it is almost unattainable to know the actual price. We’re campaigning for easier, clearer and fairer pricing guidelines and tougher enforcement action.”

– Far more: Beware supermarket wine ‘bargains’

– More: Alerts of price tag glitches are included in our weekly electronic mail