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Tesco 'put up prices before cutting them'

TESCO put up the cost of about 8,000 products before launching a price promotion, a magazine has claimed.

The supermarket giant hiked the prices in the first two months of the year in advance of the campaign, according to a report in Checkout.

The cost of a range of goods, including Tropicana, Flahavan's porridge and Bonne Maman Strawberry Conserve, were increased after the Christmas period, it was reported.

Tesco Ireland launched its promotion campaign on Monday, advertising that the prices of 1,000 items were reduced.

The controversy is similar to a row in 2009 when Tesco increased the cost of hundreds of products just over a month after reducing them as part of a campaign. On that occasion, it increased prices on about 200 lines in its 'change for good' stores, which stock large numbers of products directly imported from the UK rather than sourced from Irish suppliers.

In the latest dispute, the retailer rejected claims it hiked prices in the first two months of the year in order to boost its figures ahead of the end of its financial year on February 28.



CYCLES

At the end of December, a range of Tropicana orange juice was selling for €2.28. Its price went up to €2.59 at the end of January before being marked down to €2.49 as part of the new price campaign, according to reports. This made it 21c dearer than it was 12 weeks earlier.

Flahavan's Progress Oatlets cost €1.95 at the end of last year. The price increased to €2.05 in the middle of January before falling to €1.99 in the promotion, the reports stated.

It now costs 4c more than it did at the beginning of the year.

Bonne Maman Strawberry Conserve, was being advertised in Tesco outlets as having a reduced price of €2.79, down from €2.95, the reports added. However, at the beginning of the year, it cost €2.79.

Tesco said the 1,000 price reductions were "real and meaningful". It added that there had been "some price increases in recent months due to inflationary pressures from world commodity markets which have been well documented".

"These changes have impacted on all retailers and consumers worldwide, not just Tesco. The post-Christmas period has also seen the ending of a number of promotional cycles with consequent increase in all retailers," Tesco said.

comurphy@herald.ie