Buckingham cafe owner reports Waitrose to OFT

Garry Sutherland Garry Sutherland said he is losing £200 in sales a week

Related Stories

A coffee shop owner has reported Waitrose to the Office of Fair Trading (OFT), claiming the supermarket's free drinks offer is damaging his business.

Garry Sutherland runs the Gelateria Gazzeria in Meadow Lane, Buckingham, 20 yards (18m) from the supermarket.

He said his coffee sales had fallen by 40% since Waitrose started giving free hot drinks to loyalty card-holders, and says the offer is "unfair trading".

Waitrose said the promotion allowed it to compete against larger supermarkets.

The supermarket's UK customers receive a free hot takeaway drink if they present a myWaitrose Card.

Mr Sutherland, who charges £2.05 for a regular and £2.45 for a large white coffee, said he had lost £200 of sales a week since the offer started, six weeks ago.

'Positive contribution'

"I don't mind competition with anyone on a level playing field, but free coffee is not a level playing field," he said.

Using free coffee as a loss leader "amounts to aggressive marketing and unfair trading", he added.

Mr Sutherland said he had not yet received a reply to his complaint to Waitrose's chief executive so had referred the matter to the OFT under Article 102 of the Competition Act.

A Waitrose spokesman said its card was designed to help it compete against the major supermarket chains that are "very much bigger".

"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," he said.

He added that the store made a "positive contribution to the Buckingham community".

"We give £1,000 per month to good causes through our Community Matters green tokens scheme," he said.

An OFT spokesman confirmed the organisation had received Mr Sutherland's complaint.

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

BBC Beds, Herts & Bucks

Weather

Luton

Min. Night 7 °C

Features & Analysis

  • Martin Gardner as a young manThink hard

    Was this man the world's greatest puzzle master?


  • Carved pumpkinTrick or treat

    What did a riot at a pumpkin festival show about race in US?


  • A woman puts on a surgical mask during hospital Ebola training in Alabama.'Dark continent'

    Is prejudice fuelling Ebola outbreak hysteria in the US?


  • Oscar de la Renta and Oprah WinfreyIn pictures

    The life and work of Oscar de la Renta


Elsewhere on the BBC

  • FutureThe future is now

    Get the latest updates and biggest ideas from BBC Future’s World-Changing Ideas Summit

Programmes

  • Smart glassesClick Watch

    Smart spectacles go into battle – the prototypes looking to take on Google Glass

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.