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Business briefing: Same store, two prices… it’s baffling, say shoppers

SAINSBURY’S has been accused of confusing customers after it emerged that some products can be found for up to £40 less in the same store.

Nearly 300 of the supermarket’s outlets have housed an Argos counter since the grocery giant bought the catalogue retailer for £1.4billion in 2016.

Dozens of items are sold by both, but shoppers were angry after learning they can make big savings only yards away.

Catherine Davis, 69, from Northampton, bought a Henry vacuum cleaner for £149.99 in Sainsbury’s and returned to the store when her daughter decided she wanted one too.

She said she was ‘incensed’ to find the Argos counter was selling the same product for more than £40 less.

‘It’s all very well telling me that they are two different shops but I am not an economist and as far as I am concerned I only see one shop,’ she told the Times.

A portable Bluetooth speaker costing £99 at a Sainsbury’s in south London was on sale for £69 at Argos in the same shop, and at Ely, Cambridgeshire, a children’s Chad Valley sand and water table cost £16.50 in Argos but £25 in Sainsbury’s.

James Daley of consumer group Fairer Finance urged both retailers to align their pricing. ‘Customers are going to feel like they were tricked,’ he said.

Sainsbury’s said: ‘We sell hundreds of products which are available at both Sainsbury’s and Argos and aim to offer the best possible value. We are investigating a tiny number of examples where pricing has not been consistent, including two isolated to two specific stores.’

Ticket buyers are conned out of £1.7m by fraudsters

SPORTS fans and festival-goers are being warned to beware of fake tickets after scam victims were cheated out of £1.7million.

Buyers lost an average of £365 from each of 4,755 bogus sales reported between April 1, 2018, and April 30 this year to Action Fraud.

The number of reported scams was down almost a third from 6,486 in the previous year.

But there was a spike in August 2018, with 539 reports as fans who had paid for festival tickets realised they had been conned.

Action Fraud, the national fraud and cyber-crime reporting centre, warned that tricksters ‘all over the globe are trying to make money out of innocent victims’. Its director Pauline Smith said: ‘To avoid disappointment, always buy tickets from an official event organiser or website. And if you are tempted to buy from a secondary ticket source, always research the company or the person online before making the purchase.’

Tricksters often pose as legitimate sources of tickets, said Action Fraud and the Society of Ticket Agents and Retailers. They set up fake web pages that often have URLs similar to a genuine site — and after the transaction goes through the tickets turn out to be fake or never arrive at all.

Buyers are advised to check that web addresses start with ‘https’ and display a locked padlock icon.

Three set to launch its own 5G network

MOBILE network Three will launch its 5G network in August, before reaching 25 UK towns and cities this year. The company said its network — starting with a broadband service in London — will be the fastest in the UK, with peak speeds potentially more than twice its rivals. It is investing £2billion in its infrastructure. Rival EE has already launched its own 5G network, with Vodafone set to follow in July. David Dyson, chief executive of Three UK, said: ‘It’s clear that consumers and businesses want more and more data. 5G is a game-changer for Three.’

BUSINESS BITES

■ FOOTFALL at shopping hubs fell by 3.5 per cent year-on-year last month. The decline was steepest on the high street — 4.8 per cent — compared with 0.8 per cent at retail parks, shows the BRC-Springboard monitor.

■ PLUMBERS and electricians spend up to 70 per cent of their day fixing botched DIY. Which? said 85 per cent of electricians were called to fix light fittings, and three in four plumbers to mend a leak after DIY fixes failed.

■ OPTIMISM is ‘tumbling’ among small firms hit with increased costs in tax and employment, a study finds. Manufacturing, construction and retail are being hit hard, the Federation of Small Businesses says.

■ RENEWABLE power and replacing outdated equipment are helping firms cut costs — and those enjoying the best results involve employees in decisions, a report by manufacturing organisation Make UK has found.

■ CONFIDENCE among manufacturing firms has slumped to a six-year low, according to a survey of 4,000 British companies. But optimism in the services sector grew last month, says a report by business adviser BDO LLP.