Mothercare: Prohibited online promotion of SMA infant formula

This report has been updated as Mothercare removed the promotion after being contacted, claiming it was due to a "system error".  

Although the product was promoted as having an 18% discount (as shown in the screenshots below), Mothercare states in its response "at no time was the product sold at a promotional price."

A response is awaited from Trading Standards. The original report is given below:

The high street shop Mothercare is promoting a discount on SMA first infant milk in its online store. This is flagged up in the infant feeding section of the site and on the specific product page. The screenshots below were taken on 2 February 2012.

This is a violation of the Infant Formula and Follow-on Formula Regulations (full text available in The Law section). Specifically:

Restrictions on promotion of infant formula
 
23.—(1) No person shall at any place where any infant formula is sold by retail—
 
(a) advertise any infant formula;
(b) make any special display of an infant formula designed to promote sales;
 
[...]
 
(d) promote the sale of an infant formula by means of premiums, special sales, loss-leaders or tie-in sales; or
(e) undertake any other promotional activity to induce the sale of an infant formula.
 
(2) No manufacturer or distributor of any infant formula shall provide for promotional purposes any infant formula free or at a reduced or discounted price, or any gift designed to promote the sale of an infant formula, to—
 
(a) the general public;
(b) pregnant women;
(c) mothers; or
(d) members of the families of persons mentioned in sub-paragraphs(b) and (c),
 
either directly, or indirectly through the health care system or health workers.
 
The issue is not so much that Mothercare has reduced the price - the mark-up on formula is amongst the highest of any products and it is overpriced, to the detriment of mothers and their families who use formula.
 
The issue is that Mothercare is presenting its pricing as a discount for promotional purposes. Aside from being promotional, short-term discounts give a distorted impression of the costs of formula feeding.
 
This report is being sent to Mothercare with a call to remove the promotion immediately.
 
Update: Mothercare removed the promotion the same day - full response below.
 
It is also being reported to Trading Standards with a call that steps be taken to apply the sanctions provided for in the legislation.
 
Thank you to members of the public who have reported this violation to the Baby Feeding Law Group monitoring project. Please inform us of any related in-store promotions.
 
Click on the images for larger versions.
 
 
 
Response received from Mothercare at 15:59 on 2 February:
 
---
Dear Mr Brady,
 
I'm emailing you further to my email of this morning.
 
I can advise that the recommended retail price of the SMA First Infant Milk ready to drink 250ml was recently reduced by the manufacturer from 80p to 65p.
 
As a consequence of this change, Mothercare reduced its price for this product to 65p. However, due to a system error, this was shown on its website as being a price reduction rather than a change to the RRP.  This error was corrected as soon as it was reported and the website is now showing the correct selling price of 65p; at no time was the product sold at a promotional price.
 
[Mothercare is fully aware of the WHO guidelines and that there should be no advertising or other form of promotion of breast milk substitutes.]
 
I hope this is helpful and we are sorry for any concern this issue has caused.
 
Kind Regards 
 
Customer Care Advisor