Coffee shop owner reports Waitrose to OFT for ‘unfair trading'

23 September 2013 by
Coffee shop owner reports Waitrose to OFT for ‘unfair trading'

The owner of a Buckingham coffee shop has reported Waitrose to the Office of Fair Trading (OFT), after the supermarket introduced free drinks to its customers.

Garry Sutherland, who runs the Gelateria Gazzeria close to the store, said the supermarket's offer of free hot drinks to the holders of its myWaitrose loyalty card is damaging to his business and amounts to "unfair trading".

He claims that the sale of coffee at his shop has dropped by 40%, resulting in a loss of £200 worth of business per week, since the start of the promotion six weeks ago.

Sutherland told BBC News: "I don't mind competition with anyone on a level playing field, but free coffee is not a level playing field."

A spokesman said that the loyalty card was introduced to allow it to compete against the major supermarket chains. "Instead of the standard loyalty card that typically gives 1% discount, we've chosen to give our loyal customers coffee, newspapers and other offers that are immediate, relevant and appreciated."

The OFT is yet to respond to Sutherland's complaint.

Branded chains lead growth in UK coffee shop market >>

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