Press Centre

Judge rules you can get "spec savings at Asda"

In a bid for transparent pricing, Asda stands up for millions of UK glasses wearers and Specsavers lose court case

Today (30th July), a High Court hearing ruled that Asda had won its battle with optical giants, Specsavers to inform the millions of glasses wearers in the UK about the real spec savings they can make at Asda Opticians. The win for Asda sent out a message to all high street opticians that they have a duty to offer shoppers greater transparency and fair and clear pricing.

After an advertising campaign launched last year by Asda to promote the supermarket’s transparent, flat rate pricing strategy on all its eyewear, Specsavers had accused Asda of trying to mislead customers and create confusion in the optical market by claiming Asda were imitating their brand. Asda, however, claimed victory and won on every allegation made by Specsavers except for one.

Judge Mr Justice Mann said in court that “I accept that there was no intention to copy. Asda itself is a well known name and I do not readily understand how its name expressly spelled out, in prominent letters could leave a reasonably circumspect consumer thinking that the mark is, or even might be, Specsavers."

The judge also held that Specsavers had gained a commercial advantage by unlawfully using Asda’s confidential information to influence their own advertising campaign by launching an identical offer. Throughout the trial, Specsavers had accused Asda of ‘behaving badly’, however the judge ruled that Specsavers’ conduct meant they could not take any moral highground in the case.

Nik Langrish-Dixon, Asda Optical Buying Manager comments: “The verdict today is a win for all specs wearers in the UK. At Asda, we believe in simple, fair and transparent pricing on eye care, which means that unlike many high street opticians, the price for all of our glasses includes frames, lenses and coatings. With no hidden extras or nasty surprises, it means that customers know, right from the start, exactly how much they are going to pay. This is what our marketing campaign sought to show.

“Specsavers alleged that we set out deliberately to mislead customers by imitating them, but this was never our intention. We pride ourselves on offering all shoppers spec savings at Asda. “

Andy Clarke, President and CEO of Asda commented on the victory: “We will always champion common sense, transparent pricing. We are 100% committed to exposing consumer rip-offs to help save people money.”

Specsavers accused Asda of misleading customers, causing detriment to the Specsavers brand, trade mark infringement and taking advantage of the Specsavers reputation. The only impact the judgment has on Asda is that the supermarket can no longer use the redundant strapline ‘Be a real Spec Saver at Asda’ in any advertising, but can continue to use “Spec Savings at Asda.”

Posted in Press Centre on 02 August 2010