Warning over shops' special offers
More than half the goods in UK shops are sold as some kind of promotional offer, research has found.
The frequent use of deals could harm supermarkets and major retailers in the long run as shoppers no longer view them as special offers and come to expect them.
The warning was issued by market researcher IRI, which found that 55% of goods sold to UK shoppers were on promotions such as multi-buys and two-for-one offers.
This is four times the level seen in German stores and more than twice that of Spain and France.
"If the UK's particular reliance on promotional activity continues, it will signify a worrisome pattern of behaviour has emerged," IRI warned.
"Manufacturers could find it hard to recover, since such high levels of promotional activity will become further ingrained into the psyche of shoppers.
"They will need to work exceedingly hard to re-educate consumers about having a more sustainable balance between promotion and standard prices." Richard Lloyd, executive director at consumer group Which?, urged retailers to only advertise specials when they genuinely offered a big saving to consumers.
"Shopping for your weekly groceries can feel like tackling an obstacle course, and more than 210,000 consumers have told us how frustrating they find misleading pricing practices," he said.
He added: "It is now time for retailers to play fair and make sure that their special offers really are special."