Price researchers get cold shoulder from Woolies

An independent website that monitors prices in retail stores was denied access to Woolworths, and two of their researchers were chased out of a shop, Beeld reported on Monday.

Viccy Baker, from Red Gekko Design and Branding Solutions in Johannesburg, runs the website Retail Price Watch which lists prices of around 10 000 products.

Their researchers check prices at specific shops and consumers can compare prices online.

Baker sought advice before starting the website and found that there was no legal reason that she could not do it, especially since companies put prices on their own websites.

She still decided to seek permission to do so from Woolworths, which was refused.

Two researchers were asked to leave the Fourways shopping centre on January 13.

Zyda Rylands, Woolworths’s managing director of food, said although the store would accommodate critically important pricing projects such as those carried out by statutory bodies, they preferred to allow their branches to focus on trade.

“We subscribe to a service that compares prices in the small business industry and Gekko can choose to subscribe to that if they want to,” she said.

She said Woolworths products were not directly comparable with those of other chain stores.

“We are, for example, the only group that sells only free range eggs. This is slightly more expensive. It is therefore not possible to compare Woolworths’s eggs with those in the rest of the market,” she said.—Sapa

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