Checkout at 40: Below Cost Advertising Must Be Stopped (Sep 1978)
This year, Checkout commemorates its 40th anniversary under its current ownership, and with this in mind, every week, Retail Intelligence is going to ‘reel in the years’ and publish a story from our extensive archives. This article from September 1978 looks at the backlash against below cost selling at Quinnsworth.
On the Monday morning following the big Quinnsworth full page announcement in the Sunday Press, announcing its Christmas specials, Jim Hoblyn of Irish Biscuit’s phone was red hot [over] Quinnsworth’s nationally advertised price for Afternoon Tea of £1.75 (a price at which no wholesaler in Ireland could buy it, even buying it best terms, and taking full advantages of all early Autumn stocking bonuses).
Terence Mangan and Kevin Cronin of Punch were heard threatening to send back every Jacob’s half tin in the warehouses, as indeed were many others.
We sympathise with the problem of Irish Biscuits. It would be a masochistic manufacturer indeed who wants to see his products prostituted by below cost selling activities of the multiples.
Something has got to be done about below cost advertising. The Jacob’s half-tin business is a classic case. A very large slice of their total trade has been thrown into utter turmoil. One can only sympathise with the other traders who have paid reasonable prices and expect to make a reasonable profit.
The selfish ends of any multiple chain should not take precedence over the good of the industry as a whole. Let the manufacturers get together and take action to stamp out this pernicious and extremely unhealthy multiple practice. RGDATA’s move on below cost advertising is to be welcomed. The manufacturers can now act in their own interest as well as in the interest of the trade in general.
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