Manningtree: Tesco slapped on wrist over "misleading" claims

A SUPERMARKET giant has been banned from reproducing a leaflet after it was found to be misleading by a standards authority.

Tesco delivered the leaflet to residents of Manningtree, Mistley and Lawford in 2008 to inform them about propositions to build a store in the town.

But the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) received a complaint about the leaflet and said that some of the claims it made were “misleading and incorrect”.

In the advert, Tesco claimed that there was a need and demand for a new food store in Manningtree.

When asked by the ASA, the supermarket said that the information had partially been based on a telephone survey in 2006 of which 8.6 per cent of those taking part said they believed Manningtree needed a new food store.

They also said that a letter from a local person supporting the store and a report by a town committee, based partly on the telephone survey, supported the claims.

The end of the report concluded that the “results of this extensive, comprehensive telephone survey indicate strongly that there is a clear need and demand for a new food store in Manningtree town centre ...".

But the ASA said the company had failed to substantiate the claim and upheld the complaint.

In the report, the ASA said: “We considered that readers were likely to infer from the claim that local residents had been surveyed and the majority had indicated that they wanted and needed a new food store.

“We noted only 8.6% of respondents to the telephone survey believed a new supermarket would be useful.

“We considered Tesco had failed to substantiate that there was a need and demand for a new food store to serve the Manningtree/Lawford and Mistley area and concluded that the claim was misleading.”

The supermarket also said that the store would save 1.6million tonnes of CO2 from being dumped into the environment because people would be shopping nearer to where they live.

But the real number was 1,600 tonnes. Tesco said the error had been made by mistake.

Stour Community First member Michael Checkitts, who made the complaint, said: “I thought it was very misleading.

“Manningtree doesn’t need a Tesco and many people have said this. We are well served by the shops already here. It will be too big.

“I am very impressed by the Advertising Standards Authority for upholding the complaint.”

The leaflet can no longer be circulated by Tesco, who were disappointed by the ruling.

David Nieberg, spokesperson for the supermarket, said: "We are disappointed at this ruling.

“We are committed to ensuring that customers and communities are well informed about our development proposals, and that any advert or promotional material is not misleading in any way.

“In this case, the "need" referred to has a specific meaning in planning terms, so we disagree with the ASA's findings. We are continuing to discuss this with the ASA."

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