Image: Brian Robert Marshall Image: Brian Robert Marshall

Asda has said it will change the way its makes offers and promotions on its products after receiving a slap on the wrist from the competition regulator.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has been investigating supermarket promotions since consumer group Which? lodged a 'super complaint'.

Singled out for criticism by the CMA, Asda was found to mislead customers over 'was/now' promotions, where the 'now' price was in place longer than the 'was' price. The regulator also found that multi-buy promotions did not always represent better value for money than buying single products before the offer was in place, and it said Asda often introduced multi-buy offers immediately after 'was/now' promotions, meaning consumers could not tell whether or not something was a good offer.

Asda said it takes price promotions very seriously and has committed to addressing each of these areas. The CMA has requested the changes be implemented by August, and will assess progress six months later.

Michael Grenfell, executive director of the CMA, said: "The CMA's examination of the market, following the super-complaint, found that supermarkets generally take compliance seriously, but there were some promotional practices that could mislead shoppers."

He added that it had "particular engagement with Asda in relation to specific areas of concern".

Richard Lloyd, Which? executive director, said: "We are pleased to see the CMA investigation has resulted in Asda taking action to stop misleading special offers.

"Asda has been found breaking the rules and now must immediately clean up their act. "

A spokesperson for Asda said, "All supermarkets were asked to review their pricing practices and make any necessary changes. The CMA has asked for a commitment from Asda on our promotional pricing rules and we were happy to provide this.

"It's important that customers know that the CMA did not make any findings against Asda, and it hasn't questioned our commitment to every day low prices."