Asda Says Covert Op Exposes Price Gouging

Dec 16, 2003
George Anderson

By George Anderson

Asda, Wal-Mart’s division in the UK, is accusing competitors, Boots and Jessops, of taking advantage of consumers by charging up to 10 times its own rate to develop digital prints.

These same competitors, claims Asda, are charging consumers more to develop digital prints than standard 35mm film, even though the cost to the retailer is actually less.

Asda sent out undercover photographers as part of its ‘Operation Candid Camera’ to document prices being charged consumers to have digital prints developed.

Mark Grayson, general manager for photo centres, Asda, said in an official company statement: “We don’t like to be negative at this time of year, but our snapshot survey has
exposed the shocking prices high street retailers are prepared to charge their customers. Consumers should be left in no doubt, digital prints are cheaper to develop than standard
films, and therefore you should not pay more for the privilege – in fact you should pay less.”

The retailer estimates that it does one-fourth of its processing business in digital prints.

Moderator’s Comment: What do you think about Asda’s ‘Operation Candid Camera”? How do you react to this press release if you are a competitor named by
Asda for overcharging consumers?

We didn’t find anything out of the ordinary in Asda/Wal-Mart shopping the competition.

It struck us as unusual, however, that Asda would send out this release with details on how it captured the information when its parent company is known
for being so incredibly tight-lipped.

We can remember a few years back being asked by security to leave a Wal-Mart parking lot because we were taking shots of a store’s exterior for a print
media article.

Another thought we had was that it is good for Mark Grayson that he isn’t a little boy made out of wood. If he were, he’d have watched his nose grow longer,
when he said: “We don’t like to be negative at this time of year…”
Anderson – Moderator

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