Ban on pricing spies
The owner of New World Porirua has begun issuing trespass orders after what he calls the theft of his intellectual property – his prices.
Tony McNeil says Porirua has the most competitive supermarket environment in the country. While he acknowledges pricechecking is common among the stores, he says it has become ridiculous due to his own aggressive pricing.
‘‘We’ve been kicking people out of the store regularly in the past two weeks. They are coming in with huge lists and spending up to two hours checking prices. One lady told me she was checking on things for her son’s 21st party, but there was dog food on her list.
‘‘Another was in our health and beauty aisle for over an hour [last] week.’’
Mr McNeil is adamant it is not Pak ‘n Save but Progressive Enterprises – who own Countdown – who are employing people to price-check. He trespassed two people last week and is confident of banning at least six more soon.
He says he has extensive video footage of the actions of the price-checkers, who use long lists, as well as cellphones to record prices. ‘‘We don’t mind people comparing prices, we accept that, but not to this level. It’s happening every day and they are blatant. This is my intellectual property, it’s industrial espionage.’’
Countdown’s assistant store manager Lowell Robinson says none of their employees regularly check out the competitors’ prices.
‘‘We don’t have enough hours in the day to be doing that.’’
He says it is ‘‘doubtful’’ that Progressive’s head office would sanction such actions either.
Progressive’s head office in Auckland did not provide a comment before our deadline.