East of England Co-op counts cost after 20% discount accidentally applied to all its stores

Roger Grosvenor, Executive Officer – Retail, of East of England Co-op.

Roger Grosvenor, Executive Officer – Retail, of East of England Co-op. - Credit: Gregg Brown

A regional supermarket chain is counting the cost after it accidentally applied a limited 20% discount across all its stores.

Roger Grosvenor, Executive Officer – Retail, of East of England Co-op.

Roger Grosvenor, Executive Officer – Retail, of East of England Co-op. - Credit: Gregg Brown

The East of England Co-op planned to introduce the offer at one of its shops in Clacton last week.

But a glitch meant Christmas came early for customers across East Anglia after the offer, meant for some sale items at the store in Bull Road which is earmarked for closure, was applied to the checkouts in all of its 140 stores across Essex, Suffolk and Norfolk.

The error, spotted by a customer and then flagged up by staff, was corrected a day later, but not before the company had lost about £43,000 in revenue.

Roger Grosvenor, executive officer for retail at the East of England Co-op, admitted he was 'flabbergasted', but explained that although the business was aware of the problem within an hour or so of it happening, the computer system at its headquarters in Wherstead, Ipswich, 'didn't want to play ball', which meant it took a day and a half to resolve the problem.

However, on the plus side, the retail business did see an uplift in sales.

'Last Tuesday (December 1) we were made aware that a 20% discount that was originally planned for just one of our supermarkets had accidentally been applied to all of our food stores. This was then rectified and all pricing went back to normal,' he said.

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'Customers did receive a total value of £43,000 in discounts but we also saw an increase in sales. It was a technical glitch that brought an unexpected but welcome surprise for our customers in the run up to Christmas.'

No one was in trouble because of it, he said, putting it down to 'an honest mistake'.

The 20% discount will continue at the supermarket on Bull Hill Road in Clacton, where it will run until December 31 when the store closes for good.

The offer applies to cans, bottles and packets, but not to alcohol, tobacco or fresh food.