Office of Fair Trading forces to play fair over 'closing down' promotions agrees to tell the truth about store ‘closures’

Following discussions with the OFT, Retail Ltd (previous name: Sports World International Ltd), Hargreaves (Sports) and Gilesports plc have agreed to provide undertakings not to mislead consumers over any future ‘closing down’ promotions.

The OFT received complaints that certain shops owned by the companies were displaying ‘closing down’ advertisements in their shop windows for several months, however some of the shops in question did not close or they closed temporarily for a very short period of time for refurbishment.

The OFT considered the advertisements to be in breach of the Control of Misleading Advertisements Regulations 1988 (the CMARs). In the opinion of the OFT the advertisements created the incorrect impression that the shop in question was to close permanently and as a result of the imminent closure the consumer only had a short period of time to purchase the goods and that only a limited amount of stock was available.

Mike Haley, OFT Director of Consumer Protection, said:

"Consumers searching for bargains should not be misled by claims about closing down promotions. It is important that advertising accurately reflects traders’ intentions to close business premises."

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