Iceland boss Malcolm Walker – the supermarket sector's answer to Michael O'Leary – has blasted the Which? supercomplaint over misleading deals as “bollocks”.
The consumer group took a petition signed by more than 100,000 to the Competition and Markets Authority earlier this year, claiming it had found examples of “dodgy special offers” that led to consumers being ripped off.
Earlier this week the CMA ruled that most supermarkets were acting responsibly, although it did acknowledge some could be “confusing”.
In an interview with trade journal Retail Week, Walker said it proved that supermarkets were not guilty of wrongdoing and insisted customers were getting an “amazing deal.”
The frozen food boss added: “It’s bollocks. You look at the number of investigations into food retailers – and why? It’s political, we are a cheap target. They never find anything.”
“It is intensely competitive, the customers are getting an amazing deal – we are selling things often at cost or sometimes below cost.
“Customers have always had an amazing deal because even though our margins have been high in the past, the standards in British supermarkets have been phenomenal.”
Walker said higher-end supermarkets such as Sainsbury's and Waitrose were “just beautiful stores with high standards compared to countries abroad.”
However Which? isn't giving up that easily.
But Which? executive director Richard Lloyd said: “The CMA’s report confirms what our research over many years has repeatedly highlighted: there are hundreds of misleading offers on the shelves every day that do not comply with the rules.
“This puts supermarkets on notice to clean up their pricing practices or face legal action.”