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Store put prices up during 'massive sale'

By David Gordon

A “MASSIVE” sale in which some prices were actually raised has led to a fashion store chain being fined £1,000 at a Co Antrim court.

The Officers Club Ltd, which trades as Petroleum, was prosecuted for misleading customers at outlets in the province at the beginning of 2006.

The case, made public by the Belfast Telegraph in July, was taken by the Government’s Trading Standards Service in relation to a “Massive January Clearance” promotion.

Officials visited Petroleum outlets in Ballymena, Newry, and Belfast and noted promotional sale signs throughout the stores declaring “Prices Slashed” and “Huge Reductions”.

Many items of clothing were also labelled with “Massive Clearance” tickets. Trading Standards Service determined that many items had not been reduced in price as implied, and some had actually increased during the promotion.

Fines totalling £1,000 were imposed at Ballymena Court yesterday on four sample charges. The company was also ordered to pay £681 costs.

No-one from the retail chain was available for comment.

A spokesperson from Trading Standards Service, which is part of the Department of Enterprise, said: “Traders must always ensure that the information given to customers during sales is accurate and does not mislead in anyway.”

Consumers who suspect they have been misled by a trader’s claim of a price reduction are encouraged to report it to Consumerline on 0845 600 6262 or 028 9025 3900, or log on to

Meanwhile, a Belfast retailer has been fined £250 for selling cigarettes to persons under the legal age.

Belfast City Council brought the prosecution against McAuley Botanic Ltd, trading as Centra. This followed a test purchasing exercise at the Botanic Avenue store on February 15, 2008, when two 14-year-old girls were sold cigarettes.

Centra was fined £250 at Belfast Magistrates Court yesterday and also ordered to pay £69 in court costs.

Since the exercise was carried out, the age restriction on the sale of cigarette and tobacco products has increased to 18. This became law at the beginning of this month.

Officers from Belfast City Council have been visiting retailers across the city and providing information on the changes in legislation, in a bid to raise awareness about legal obligations.

A council spokesman said: “The council will continue to carry out its enforcement duties to ensure, insofar as it can, that young people are protected from the dangers to health that arise from smoking.”

Belfast Telegraph


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